Exclusive 1:1 Interview with This Is 40 director Judd Apatow
In THIS IS 40, writer/director Judd Apatow tells the story of a family dealing with growing older and facing change. There is a real sense of honesty in this ďsort of sequelĒ to KNOCKED UP. This is certainly due in part to the casting of Mr. Apatowís real life wife, the lovely Leslie Mann, as well as their children Maude and Iris. Yet for me, there is something about his work and this film in particular that absolutely rang true. It is the raw and raucous as well as the heart tugging moments that I personally connected with and made me fall in love with this flick.
Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Apatow about THIS IS 40 and its Blu-ray release. We spoke about his love of music, especially musicians who may not sell a ton of records yet still make great music. We also talked about working with his family and how much of that personal touch he will put on screen. We also touch on the subject of whether or not there is more to this as far as continuing this story. Could we be in for another chapter? Possibly dealing with Maude and Iris continuing their roles?
Iím a fan of Mr. Apatow, both personally and professionally and I thank him for taking the time out to chat. If you are looking for a comedic Ė and often dramatic Ė slice of life, check out THIS IS 40 when it hits home video on Tuesday, March 22nd (which you can order here).
Howís it going, Jimmy?
Iím good. How are you, man? How have you been?
Iím doing very, very well. Iím having a nice day. Iím gonna go visit my grandma, Molly, whoís in the film, now and thatís about it.
I love how you make your movies a family affair.
Yeah, you know, whenever I see other people do that in their work, I want to do it a little straighter. Thatís why I love Lena Dunhamís film, TINY FURNITURE. Her mom and her sister star in it.
Yeah, exactly. I havenít seen you in a while and I havenít seen you since you made this film, but I have to tell you thank you, thank you, thank you. This may be my favorite film of yours.
Oh, I appreciate that. Itís been a real interesting experience putting it out there. When people connected to it, it seemed to have a big impact on them. Itís very specific and a lot of people relate to it. The biggest compliment I get is when people tell me that the movie makes them feel ďless crazy.Ē
Yeah! It does. I mean, the scene that really gets me, and itís a hundred percent true, is the scene with Melissa McCarthy and theyíre dealing with her. Theyíre really a team in that scene and itís just amazing and thatís happened to me several times.
I think that scene shows that, as a couple, even when youíre mad at each other, youíre still a team against the world.
Yeah, cause the world sucks!
Exactly. What I wanted the movie to be about is even when people love each other, thereís still a lot of stuff they have to work out. Thatís what Ben Affleck was talking about during his Oscar speech! (Laughing)
Well, this is so personal. Do you ever feel like youíre opening a can of worms that really shouldnít be opened?
You know, the art and music and films that I like best is the most personal work. It doesnít have to be true, but the person behind it has to actually mean it. You listen to a certain song a you think, ďGosh! This person actually means it!Ē Thatís what I love about, like, Nirvana. When you hear a song like, Dumb, you know heís really sharing something. I always think thatís a good thing. Itís definitely treacherous waters and everyone has to be on board, but itís not like weíre getting an accurate representation of what our house looks like, itís actually very different than that. Itís more like the scene with Melissa McCarthy; itís what we struggle with. So, in a way, what you think is personal, isnít really the personal stuff. Itís whatís underneath it.
What makes this film less accessible to a mainstream audience, per say, than the other films, is what makes this film so incredibly accessible to others. It seems as though thereís so much that people can get from this movie whether it is from the parent or the children's perspective.
You know, people come to the movies for a lot of different reasons. I tried presenting serious ideas that are as funny as I can make them. Some people go to the movies for an escape or a laugh or a thrill. Some go to see lives that are different than their own and whenever we see a movie, we decide how we want to feel in that moment. With this movie, itís unpredictable. Hopefully, people think itís really funny and entertaining, but what I want most for them to get out of it, is a deep representation of relationships and what people do to make them work. Itís definitely not something everyone can watch every night. (Laughs)
I love the music in that you used in this film! Even in the studio scenes, you have pictures of Maria McKee all over the place. And you feature Ryan Adams Ė as well as Graham Parker of course.
Part of the movie is about our love of performers and people who share their lives through their work. There are times in your life where youíre really connected with the culture and there are times when youíre not, but that is not a reflection on whether or not youíre doing great work. I continue to follow artists who havenít sold a record in a long time. A lot of the time, the stuff you listen to is even better than what is out there. I wanted to show all these people a character who thinks this band deserves to be heard and thatís how Iíve always felt.
Well, next time, you have to get Maria McKee in there. I havenít seen her in ages. Now, does Leslie (Mann) really listen to Lady Gaga or is that just made up?
She looks to music to be fun. Sometimes, she likes to listen to music where people are miserable. I really enjoy watching other people accept the pain in music and she just likes to listen to people pour their hearts out.
So, with this continuation, youíve continued with going into your forties, but both of your daughters are wonderful. How about in five years, you tell their stories as young adults?
I canít resist that kind of idea. Iím fascinated to explore what that feels like. I find it funny and obviously theyíre the ones who matter most, so weíll see if that actually happens. I have no idea what Iíll do in the future, or if they even decide to pursue acting. I kind of feel bad because I just wanted them to be in this movie so much because I knew theyíd do a great job. Weíll see what happens, if their careers do, indeed, launch. Maude has shown some interest, which fascinated and terrifies us. But, thatís what being a parent is all about. Weíre just hoping for the best and we hope they follow their dreams and make them come true.
|Extra Tidbit:||What is your favorite Judd Apatow movie?|