“The main argument I’m having with the studio is, ‘How much DVD capacity can you get me?’” the writer/director told MTV News.
The film is set in the world of stand-up comedy, and tells the story of two comics with vastly different careers: George Simmons (Sandler) is a legend, while Ira Wright (Rogen) is a struggling up-and-comer. But they end up working together and becoming friends. The catch is that Simmons is dying because of an inoperable blood disorder.
“Every time we shot stand-up comedy, we shot their entire act,” says Apatow. “We didn’t shoot it on a stage and add laughs later. We brought in real audiences and shot with six cameras and whatever happened happened. There are 5-10 minutes of stand up in the movie, but we shot everybody’s act seven times so we have all of that material to play with [on the DVD].”
Like Sandler, Simmons is a movie star, and Apatow created many scenes from his fictional filmography that he’d also like fans to have a chance to see. “Every time there’s a clip in the movie of one of George Simmons’ films, we shot several scenes from that movie so there’s a lot of material,” he said.
Of course, before the DVD comes the film itself (on July 31st). And, as with Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” expect “Funny People” to run far longer than your typical theatrical comedy. “It’ll probably be a little less than two and half hours,” Apatow said. “The story covers a lot of ground. I’m a fan of movies that are on the longer side. I never sit in a movie I like and think I wish this was over already. I think people will be very involved with these characters and enjoy the ride. There’s plenty of time to get back home and watch ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ and do whatever else you need to do.”
What do you think about a 2.5 hour comedy? How do you think Sandler will fare with the current crop of Apatow disciples like Rogen and Jonah Hill?