They tell you to write what you know. But once you hit your mid-thirties and your days are a random melee of friends' kids and feeling grumpy after that run you forced yourself to take, it becomes increasingly hard to find something to write about.
For years, I wished I had had a cruddy childhood, in the misguided belief my cosy, love-filled early days meant I had nothing to say. How to write kitchen sink drama when you're the only family on your street with a dishwasher?
That said, you don't wish you had cancer. Neither do you wish it on your friends, even if it makes for compelling on-screen dramedy as filtered through the worldview of Seth Rogen, whose mate Will Reiser got the disease in his mid-20s.
Reiser's (embellished) tale of his illness, 50/50, is now in cinemas and though low-key and gentle, it's well worth a watch, especially for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's central performance.
If nothing else, it provides an interesting insight into Rogen's off-screen relationships. Talking to him about the history of the movie, he was equals part protective and typically ribald about his previously-sick friend (Reiser has made a full recovery). And there are scenes in the film which suggest a far more sensitive man behind the stoner bluster which has seen Rogen become one of Hollywood's biggest comedy stars. He was loathe to give himself credit for anything other than mild support, but Reiser's script implies otherwise.
I for one would like to see Rogen in more dramatic fare (just like I'd love to see Jack Black attempt Judas Iscariot in a new screen version of Jesus Christ Superstar).
The film industry is quick to pigeonhole and there's a danger he could become one-note. What he really needs is a few more effed-up friends - and if he could bung some my way, I'd happily knock out the script...
50/50 is out now