Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd
In writer/director Judd Apatow’s new flick Knocked Up, Seth Rogen plays an unworldly oaf whose terrified to discover that he’s about to become a father. Paul Rudd plays his under-the-thumb best friend. CLINT MORRIS caught up with Apatow, Rogen and Rudd in Australia to chat up the film ‘everybody’s talking about’.
Judd, this is a fantastic movie – but it’s also a frickin-terrifying movie! Three weeks out from having my first child, it’s probably not the best thing for me to be watching [Laughs]
Judd: You’re gonna live that money shot!
Seth: [Laughs] Yeah!
Paul: But also the joy that comes with it.
Judd: Yeah, we’re only simulating it.
But that’s the thing; you do movies that are real – even though they’re out-and-out comedies.
Judd: It’s funny, my friend Jake Kasdan just saw the movie for the second time – he saw the three-hour cut when I first started the movie, so he hadn’t seen it since….
Seth: Really? What a dick! [Laughs]
Judd: He was very excited. He loved it. He also thought it was the closest to Freaks and Geeks, in terms of charm, that I’ve done. I tried to be super realistic but also really funny – it’s a challenge. I had to ask myself ‘how could I get laughs as big as the 40-year-old virgin without being too broad? And being even more character-driven’. That’s exciting for me – and I didn’t have to rip anyone’s hair off.
Paul: I think in the next movie you should wax a baby
Seth: Wax a Vagina!
Paul: ‘The 40-Year-old Brazilian’.
Are you going to keep up the poster theme? I mean the posters for The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up look very similar.
Judd: As opposed to Superbad which is just two guys, the poster for Getting Sarah Marshall – which is the film I’m doing now – is very similar to the first two except it’s him [the guy on the poster] crying.
Seth: Really? That’s really funny! [Laughs]
Paul, you seem much more at home in this movie – and The 40-Year-Old Virgin – than you did in say, Clueless or, um, the Halloween movie. Is that right to say?
Seth: Jesus! [Laughs] Halloween.
Sorry man. Shouldn’t have brought that up. [Laughs]
Paul: No, no, no, no – – And you know your films so you’d be well-versed in the Halloween film series. Which one did I do? Was it the Revenge?
No, the ‘Curse’ of Michael Myers
Seth: The Curse [Laughs]
Paul: Ah yes, the Curse. You know I like doing these movies [with Judd] they’re really fun…
Not to say you aren’t good in everything you do Paul. There’s an old film of yours that I really love – and I’m sure a thousand critics will disagree with me here – called Overnight Delivery. The thing you did with Reese Witherspoon.
Paul: Wow! I’m sure there are a thousand critics out there who would disagree!
Funny you should mention that, I was flicking around a few months ago and it was on. I watched about ten minutes of it. Reese was great in it and then there’s me… it was like ‘Wow, look how funny I’m trying to be’.
Judd: Didn’t Kevin Smith re-write that?
Paul: Yeah he did the re-write on it – he did like a page one re-write on it. They never gave him credit.
Judd: This was right after Clerks, if I recall.
Seth: Doesn’t Road Trip have the exact same plot?
Paul: Yep, it’s the same movie. It came out years later. I think someone told me that Todd Phillips [the director of Road Trip] had had lunch with Kevin Smith. Ah, yeah… I remember seeing Road Trip years later and saying ‘this is the exact same movie’.
But you didn’t have Tom Green in yours.
Seth: Exactly. That’s why.
Paul: No, but we had Larry Drake!
Seth: A Tom Green-esque figure [Laughs]
Bottom line man. You smooched Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. You rock.
Seth: Yeah! [Laughs]
Speaking of which, how’s Twink [Caplan]? how’s her dogs? She hasn’t sent me any pictures of them lately
Paul: Oh yes. Is it sir-mix-a-lot? Oh, no, that’s Amy [Heckerling’s] daughter’s dog. She has a white….
You guys just did another movie together, I believe? With Michelle Pfeiffer?
Paul: Yeah, it’s called I could Never Be Your Woman.
How’d that go?
Paul: It was fun, it turned out all right. It’s in a bit of a legal mess now, so I have no idea if it’ll ever come out.
Seth. This is your first lead role in a movie. Any pressure?
Seth: Um, yeah, I guess. If the movie failed I would probably never work again – that was prominent in my mind. I remember telling myself ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, so try not to do much’. I really took it on a scene to scene basis and when you approach it like that it feels no different to anything else – like The 40 Year old Virgin – only you’re the star of the movie not just one of many people in the movie. I don’t really think about it very much.
Judd, was Seth always the lead in your mind?
Judd: Yeah, I try to write for people. I’d write a lot of movies for people and then I’d finish them and those people wouldn’t want to make them.
Seth: You knew that would not happen with me! [Laughs]
Judd: Since Seth was unemployed, and available, I thought it was a very smart decision. I like a collaborative process too – like when you’re watching Seinfeld or something and all the people are really great because they seem to be working in together, it’s so much better working with people you know. I got tired of writing for people that would never do my movies, too. It was like ‘He might do it. He has a slot available in two years’. I got kinda tired of that. I’d seen people I like make great movies with friends, like Bottle Rocket, and I was so impressed with how Wes [Anderson] broke though – then he had the power to cast Jason Schwartzman to play the lead in Rushmore.
And now Seth is the De Niro to your Scorsese!
Seth: [Laughs]. You’re a real Hemingway.
Judd: Woody Allen.
There’s been so much shit this year, thanks for making a good movie though guys.
Judd: It’s gonna be exciting to win an Oscar!
Paul: [Laughs] Yeah.
Judd: Or at least the Spike TV Awards.
Paul: We’re going to be like the three six mafia of next year’s Oscars.
It’s already my wife’s favourite movie. Granted… she likes any movie with someone from ‘Friends’ in it. ‘Mike from Friends is in it? I’m there!’. In all seriousness though, is this character in the film the closest to you, Paul?
Paul: [Laughs] I kinda think it might be, which sucks.
Pussy-whipped? I actually thought you were playing me in the movie…
Judd: Finally someone speaks up for the pussy-whipped!
Paul: There’s elements of the guy that are definitely me. The guys said I wasn’t too far from the guy I played in 40 year old Virgin too – a guy who went out with a girl for a couple of months, several years ago, and still can’t get over it. I still have dreams about the girl I liked in sixth grade. But yeah, there’s certainly elements of this character and his story that are me, though I think I’m in a happier place – I’m happily married with a great son – than he is.
What made Adam [Scott] the best choice for the male nurse in the movie? [Laughs]
Paul: He’s one of my best friends. He’s hanging out with my wife right now.
Seth: We always laugh about… and it’s the subtlest thing…. But when he turns around [in the movie] and does it in a way that he expects the audience to expect it’s someone famous. And then he turns around and you’re like ‘Is that Ben Stiller?’ And then they’re like ‘no, I don’t know who that guy is!’. The way he does it is so deliberately self-important. It makes me laugh every time. He’s got his back to the camera for a really long time and then…. He reveals himself. It kills me. [Laughs]
Judd: Someone said they thought it was Eric Bana.
Seth: That’s great, that would have been so funny if it was Eric Bana playing the male nurse [Laughs].
He’s a link. Judd, you’re wife [Leslie Mann] played Ursula in George of the Jungle 1. My producing partner [Chris Showerman] played George in George of the Jungle 2. How’s that huh? Huh?!
Judd: Ah! Yeah I remember watching George 2 with her and she said ‘I think they hired someone that’s kinda doing an impression of me’.
Julie Benz. Yep. And of course Chris has always wanted to know why Leslie didn’t want to work with him in the direct-to-video sequel? [Laughs]
Judd: They wanted her to come back for a sequel in which nobody from the first one will appear [Laughs]. I remember they were going to try and make it as a feature but they couldn’t get Brendan [Fraser] to do it.
Seth: Did he just not want to work out again? I think that’s what I heard. I remember really associating with that. That makes sense. [Laughs]
(They noticethe 40-year-old Virgin DVD in my file)
Judd: Have you seen that DVD? There’s actually some good stuff on there. The video diary is actually very funny. They shut us down for a bit… and I wanted to see whether they put it on there.
Paul: To see my fluctuating weight?
Seth: Mine too [Laughs]
Paul: They shut us down and said, ‘Can we make Paul look like less of a serial killer and have him lose 27 kilos?’
Judd, in your mind, is this your best film?
Judd: That’s hard to say. I’m glad it came out well. I wanted to do something personal. If people had hated it it would’ve been like they were rejecting my life.
For me, its just having the courage to do it again, I’m already terrified to start writing the next one. Having a success doesn’t make me feel any more confident – its just if you had hated it I would have zero confidence. But I’m really excited and baffled that people like it so much. I never thought people would be interested in anything specific to my own life. The fact that people can relate to it is great!
So it’s based on your life?
Judd: In the same way that I related to the insecurity theme in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I related to the panic theme here. I always feel like I’m on a first date with my wife – so just that idea of always wanting someone to like you. When two people have been together for a long time and know everyone about each other, that’s a very vulnerable place. When Paul says ‘I don’t know if anyone likes me’ that to me is the core of the movie.
Paul: ‘You’ve heard all my stories, and you now know they’re all kinda lame but I still might be able to make them interesting’.
Judd: Sometimes I’ll be out with Lesley and I’ll say something and people will laugh. She’ll say ‘I never realised you thought the things you say around the house are funny?’
KNOCKED UP Delivers this month