Hot dogs who want to have sex with buns: this was the original idea behind Sausage Party, the R-rated animated film coming to theaters on Friday. It’s the first R-rated animated film released by a major studio in 17 years, and making it was not without its difficulties.
Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, Sausage Party is set in a grocery store where all the food believes that being bought is akin to going to heaven. However, when honey mustard realizes humans buy food to eat it—i.e., kill the food—it sends a hot dog named Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) on a quest across the supermarket to find out the truth and warn his fellow food, especially his girlfriend Brenda, a hot dog bun voiced by Kristen Wiig.
Talking food sounds very silly, but the film is much more than that. Even before Frank goes on his journey, it’s obvious Sausage Party is a debate about faith. “The religious overtones and the belief system that was put in place from day one,” co-director Conrad Vernon told io9. “We knew we had a really funny concept of hot dogs wanting to have sex with buns, but, we knew we weren’t going to be able to carry a 98-minute movie with just that alone.”
So it’s carried by the religious themes, as well as hard R language, violence, and sexual acts that haven’t been seen in a movie theatre since 1970s Times Square.
“No,” both Vernon and Tiernan say when asked if Sausage Party got an R-rating from the MPAA on first pass. “Very succinct answer, there,” laughs Tiernan. “Which we’re very proud of,” adds Conrad. In fact, the rating board had a lot of objections to Sausage Party, most of which were centred on a graphic food orgy that occurs in the film.
“We had a much longer orgy [scene] that had way filthier stuff than what’s in there right now,” said Tiernan. “We knew for a fact that was going to get cut down. We thought there was no way we’d get away with these so, we filled it out with a bunch of way worse stuff and we’re pretty happy with the result.”
When asked specifically what kind of stuff was cut, Tiernan said “It was just taking out the bodily fluids and shaving the pubic hair off of Lavash’s ball sack. We did that.”
And yes, they plan on lots of that stuff being on the Blu-ray. What won’t be on the Blu-ray is the original placement of the scene. Originally the orgy was between just the four main characters and took place earlier in the film.
“In one cut of the movie, the orgy was actually at the end of act two,” said Vernon. “I think we screened that for the studio and it felt like we had, well, for a lack of a better term, shot our loads. And so we said, ‘That’s the highlight of the film, why aren’t we ending with that?’ So we put it at the end, and that’s just where it naturally fit the best. The climax of the film, so to speak.”
With scenes like that in a movie, Vernon and Tiernan admitted making Sausage Party was one of the oddest things they’d ever done. “Many times, people would just stop and say, ‘I can’t believe I’m sitting in a production meeting and discussing ‘Who cums on who,’ and ‘Who sticks what in somebody else,’” said Tiernan. “There were lots and lots of conversations. But that all added to the fun”
And, of course, many of those conversations were the film’s producers, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. According to the directors, Rogen and Goldberg would come in once a week to go over what work had been done and rarely interfered.
“This is, 100 percent, a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg movie,” said Tiernan. “It would not have even been considered to be made if it wasn’t for those two guys. Conrad and I are proud of the work we did, cause we were the animation jocks behind this, But yeah, this is Seth and Evan’s game for sure.”
If the film is a hit, though, it won’t just be Rogen and Goldberg getting the credit, it’ll be the film’s directors too.
“Seth and Evan are very respectful of the fact we were the directors they chose to make the movie,” added Tiernan. “We worked for them and with them, and they included us in every step of the way. I’m very proud to be mentioned in the same sentence as those to guys as well.”
Sausage Party opens August 12.