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Seth Rogen explains that ‘American Pickle’ shout-out to Barbra Streisand’s ‘Yentl’

  • August 10, 2020
Seth Rogen looks period perfect as Herschel Greenbaum in American Pickle.

Spoiler alert! The following discusses a post-credit scene in “An American Pickle.” If you haven’t seen Seth Rogen’s comedy (streaming on HBO Max) and don’t want to know, stop reading now.

Seth Rogen pays tribute to Barbra Streisand, who played his mother in 2012’s “The Guilt Trip,” during a quirky post-credit scene in “An American Pickle.”

At the end of director Brandon Trost’s “Pickle,” Ben Greenbaum has made peace with his great-grandfather Herschel Greenbaum (both characters played by Rogen), who wakes up in modern-day New York after falling into a preserving vat of pickles 100 years ago.

The two sit on a couch in Ben’s apartment watching Streisand in 1983’s “Yentl,” in which she plays Yentl Mendel, who dresses and lives like a man so she can receive an education in Talmudic law in turn-of-the-century Poland.

Herschel is particularly smitten by Yentl’s dramatic reveal to Mandy Patinkin’s Avigdor, when she tells him she is very much a woman and in love with him.

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Rogen tells USA TODAY he wanted to end the film with the two watching a film that would appeal to Herschel’s time period and origins. Replace Yentl’s Lublin, Poland, with Herschel’s fictional hometown town of Schlopsk and Yentl would have been his neighbor.

“We also shot a version where we were watching ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ together, but the ‘Yentl’ one just turned out much, much funnier,” says Rogen.

As for Herschel’s desirous admiration with lines like, “She’s very pretty” and “I like this film very much, it’s very naughty,” Rogen says it’s impossible not to see his one-time screen mother’s appeal.

“Of course. I defy anyone not to,” he says.

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The filmmakers had to get permission from Streisand, who produced, directed and starred in “Yentl,” to use the clip.

“I heard that she thought it was very funny,” says Rogen of his “Guilt Trip” co-star. “I should actually probably email her about it, now that you bring that up.”

Like all of “Pickle,” the simple scene was complicated, with Rogen shooting it once as one character, then ad-libbing off his portrayal as the other character.

“It’s funny just watching what appears to be myself improvising with myself,” says Rogen, laughing. “It’s a strange, if not terrifyingly borderline self-indulgent thing to have to witness. But I hope people enjoy it.”

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