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 “sort of sequel” to KNOCKED UP. This is certainly due in part to the casting of Mr. Apatow’s 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?

I’m 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 – and often dramatic – slice of life, check out THIS IS 40 when it hits home video on Tuesday, March 22nd (which you can order here).

Hey, Judd!

How’s it going, Jimmy?

I’m good. How are you, man? How have you been?

I’m doing very, very well. I’m having a nice day. I’m gonna go visit my grandma, Molly, who’s in the film, now and that’s 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. That’s why I love Lena Dunham’s film, TINY FURNITURE. Her mom and her sister star in it.

Yeah, exactly. I haven’t seen you in a while and I haven’t 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. It’s been a real interesting experience putting it out there. When people connected to it, it seemed to have a big impact on them. It’s 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 “less crazy.”

Yeah! It does. I mean, the scene that really gets me, and it’s a hundred percent true, is the scene with Melissa McCarthy and they’re dealing with her. They’re really a team in that scene and it’s just amazing and that’s happened to me several times.

I think that scene shows that, as a couple, even when you’re mad at each other, you’re 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, there’s still a lot of stuff they have to work out. That’s what Ben Affleck was talking about during his Oscar speech! (Laughing)

Well, this is so personal. Do you ever feel like you’re opening a can of worms that really shouldn’t be opened?

You know, the art and music and films that I like best is the most personal work. It doesn’t have to be true, but the person behind it has to actually mean it. You listen to a certain song a you think, “Gosh! This person actually means it!” That’s what I love about, like, Nirvana. When you hear a song like, Dumb, you know he’s really sharing something. I always think that’s a good thing. It’s definitely treacherous waters and everyone has to be on board, but it’s not like we’re getting an accurate representation of what our house looks like, it’s actually very different than that. It’s more like the scene with Melissa McCarthy; it’s what we struggle with. So, in a way, what you think is personal, isn’t really the personal stuff. It’s what’s 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 there’s 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, it’s unpredictable. Hopefully, people think it’s 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. It’s 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 – 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 you’re really connected with the culture and there are times when you’re not, but that is not a reflection on whether or not you’re doing great work. I continue to follow artists who haven’t 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 that’s how I’ve always felt.

Well, next time, you have to get Maria McKee in there. I haven’t 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, you’ve 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 can’t resist that kind of idea. I’m fascinated to explore what that feels like. I find it funny and obviously they’re the ones who matter most, so we’ll see if that actually happens. I have no idea what I’ll 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 they’d do a great job. We’ll see what happens, if their careers do, indeed, launch. Maude has shown some interest, which fascinated and terrifies us. But, that’s what being a parent is all about. We’re 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?
Source: JoBlo.com



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