|Exclusive Judd Apatow Webchat Transcript|
The This Is 40 director on dick jokes and Daniel Day-Lewis comedies
The comedy writer / producer / director / mentor / guru that is Judd Apatow visited the Empire office recently, and this webchat transcript is the result. Answering questions about everything from his latest, This Is Forty, to Chris O'Dowd, Breaking Bad and Freaks And Geeks, he shared a few insights and even revealed his favourite ever joke about the male sex organ. So that's nice.
Have you ever thought about making a non-r rated comedy / romance? Maybe a thriller or an action movie?
A thriller? Since all of my movies have to have the number 40 in the title, my next film will be about a serial killer who has killed 39 people and the hobbled detective who is trying to stop him from reaching number 40.
Do you think there should be a Saturday Night Live show in the UK?
Yes! I'm shocked that you don't have it already. Why don't you make it?
Judd, Three questions on Freaks and Geeks... 1) Did you know how successful the cast were going to be in their careers? 2) Do you think it would have been more successful if released now? 3) Did you have much writing input, or was it mostly Paul?
I always thought the cast deserved to have big careers; I didn’t know if it would happen. I remember watching Seth Rogen shoot a scene in the episode The Little Things and thinking, "I'd like to watch this guy in an entire movie." I don't think it would be a big hit today, unless it was on cable. It was a little too dark for the networks. I wrote a lot for the show but the main vision was Paul's.
When are you going to write a lead role for Chris O'Dowd?
The world needs a movie starring Chris O'Dowd and Jason Segel. I'm going to start thinking about that in the shower.
I loved Eric Bana's performance in Funny People. While I know Bana started out as a comedian, are there any other serious actors that you'd like to get on board in one of your comedies?
I'd like to make a movie about the US President Jimmy Carter starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Have you ever thought having a Tarantino-style cameo in one of your films?
I shot a scene for Funny People where I was the director of the hot dog eating competition movie. It is a DVD extra, and when you watch it you will understand why I don't act.
|'The best thing about knowing Paul Rudd? You get to tell people you know Paul Rudd'|
Hi Judd. Everyone in Hollywood seems (quite rightly) to be a major fan of Breaking Bad. Would you count yourself among that number? If so, why do you think it's so freakin' awesome?
I am only on episode 3. I already have a long list of reasons why it's awesome but I will have more reasons in eight days when I am done watching many seasons of it. I think one of the reasons why so many of our dramas are successful is because they are also really darkly funny. That's why I love Mad Men and The Sopranos also.
Can you remember the first movie soundtrack you fell in love with? Do you have a favourite track?
I loved the soundtrack to Fast Times At Ridgemont High, especially Jackson Browne singing Somebody's Baby.
How did you decide to make Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, and would you consider doing something in that vein for the next Anchorman film?
During editing the director, Adam McKay, realised he had enough extra scenes to create a really strange additional full feature film, if he used Bill Curtis' narration to tie it all together. I don't know if we'll ever have that much footage again. Maybe we'll have enough for a 37-minute short film, which we can put up for an Academy Award in the short film competition. For those who haven't seen Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, it’s worth hunting down. There are several scenes which are as funny or funnier than anything in Anchorman.
I liked that you reward yourself with an episode of The Wire if you have written for a good hour. Is there a good advice you can give to me who's struggling with finishing my script?
Reward yourself with an episode of Downton Abbey. The most important thing about writing is getting to the end. Then you can take a beat to see what the hell happened and decide how to fix it.
Hi Judd, what's happening with the Pee Wee Herman movie that you were attached to produce, any updates?
The script is finished and we are talking to the people with the cash.
I read an interview with Tim Heidecker (of Tim And Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job! fame) that you cast him as the groom in Bridesmaids as it was a private joke between the two of you to have the most out-there, cult comedian in America trapped at the centre of mainstream comedy – care to elaborate?
I love James Bond.
Who is the next up-and-coming comedic actor/actress we should be looking out for (other than a certain Maude Apatow, who is hilarious in This Is 40)?
Any plans for a spin off spin off called This Is 40 Year-Old Virgin?
No, but I am working on This Is 10, starring Iris.
Can we expect a return from Dale and Saul with a sequel to Pineapple Express?
I am sure that Seth and Evan's movie This Is The End, which comes out this summer, will satisfy all of your Pineapple Express needs. Check out the trailer; I saw it and it is insanely funny and takes everything even farther than you ever thought it could go.
|Judd on set of This Is 40 with Chris O'Dowd, Paul Rudd and Lena Dunham|
Hello Judd, you've recently done quite a bit of work with Irishman Chris O'Dowd. Would you ever consider working with fellow IT funnyman and Submarine fanatic Richard Ayoade?
Of course! I'm very proud of the fact that I work with a lot of comedians from other countries and do not force them to do American accents.
Many of the actors you've worked with are huge fans of The Room - the worst move ever made: Have you ever seen this masterpiece, and if so - how was / is your reaction to it?
I have not seen it. I am too busy trying NOT to make my version of The Room.
Hey Judd, everyone loves a good dick joke, but have you got any personal favourites?
Steve Carell trying to pee with an erection is my proudest moment.
Funny People is one of my all time favourite comedies, but a lot of my friends seem to disagree with me on this, citing that it's not a 'comedy'. Your films always have a heart beating through them, where would you 'pigeonhole' Funny People?
I don't try to categorise it. It's just a story about a sub-culture I thought people would find interesting. To me, it is a drama about a serious subject, but because it happens to comedians it is hopefully also funny.
Mr. Apatow, as you might have heard they just confirmed a movie based on Entourage. What do you think about this and would you ever want to do this with the shows you worked on?
I am always happy to continue the journey with characters I like and that's why I did this spin-off from Knocked Up and I look forward to seeing how those guys approach making a movie.
Reaching the milestone this year and needing some encouragement... What's the best thing about turning 40? How did you celebrate?
The best part is that you made it! I celebrated by watching Zac Efron and my wife dance erotically while shooting a scene from 17 Again.
What on Earth happened at the end of LOST? Any idea?
It's more complicated than you can ever understand. People think I gave it away, but those people don't realise that I only scratched the surface of the mysterious enigma that is Lost.
Did you really send Steve Martin an angry letter when you were a kid, and did you really get a reply?
I did, there is an article about it in the Vanity Fair issue that I guest-edited. I got to take a photo with him, which was the highlight of my career.
|'Steve Carell trying to pee with an erection is my proudest moment.'|
Funny People felt like a love letter to comedy clubs. Do you still try and visit these places and find new talent?
I don't go to comedy clubs very often, but when I'm between movies sometimes I get up on stage and babble a little bit to try to figure out what's going on in my mind, and sometimes that leads to me thinking of the idea for my next film.
What do you do if you get writer's block?
The key is to just keep writing and don't judge yourself. I try to write my first drafts very quickly without thinking too much, because then ideas come from my unconscious. I try to figure out what they mean later. Keep writing even if it makes no sense.
What is the best thing about knowing Paul Rudd?
You get to tell people you know Paul Rudd!
What's your favourite sandwich? Can you beat Edgar Wright's raspberry jam and Red Leicester for strange?
I don't care for sandwiches.
What did you think of John Francis Daley's first foray into writing with Horrible Bosses? And was he really naked in that Freaks And Geeks scene?
He was not naked, because he was a child. I loved his movie, and I'm thrilled for his success. He is the nicest of the lot, and I hear he is about to direct a new version of National Lampoon's Vacation.
What is your favourite comedy of TV at the moment?
Louie; I don't know where they show it here but it is worth your time to hunt for it. He is raising the bar for everybody.
After the success of Les Miserables, would you ever consider writing/directing/producing a musical, for stage or screen?
I actually think that would be fun, and hope one day to get a great idea, but as of now I'm running on fumes.
Judd, you seem to be quite the Tweeter. Who would you suggest is the best/funniest person to follow (besides your holiness)?
@maudeapatow. I also love @AlbertBrooks and @CanyonJim, which is James L Brooks' twitter.
The day before yesterday I re-watched Buster Keaton's The Navigator. His old time classics are still funny as hell. One of THE questions between cinephiles, I would like to ask you: who do you prefer: Chaplin or Keaton and why?
I prefer Buster Keaton, and we took a lot of inspiration from him when we were working on The 40 Year-Old Virgin. I prefer Keaton because I feel like he would be nice to me at a party and Charlie Chaplin would be mean to me.
Thank you for reading. In this day and age, shouldn't we have done this on Skype? This is so America Online 1989.