In Hollywood these days, few names are as desired on the movie marquee as that of Judd Apatow -- the 800-pound-gorilla of all that is funny. Now he’s ready to unveil his third directorial effort after “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” –- two comedies that caused more pants-peeing than the Big Gulp at 7-11. Apatow's July 31st release, conveniently (and seemingly autobiographically) titled “Funny People,” is looked to with anticipation by the same loyal fans who have been won over by his family-and-fart-jokes formula.
“We all collaborate from the inception,” Apatow explained of his key to comedy success in the Adam Sandler film and beyond. “As soon as I start writing, I call the actors and talk about what I’m doing, and then we rehearse and improvise.”
With all of the ad-libbing going on, many fans probably think that an Apatow script gets tossed out as soon as the cameras begin rolling. However, the director/producer prefers to call his process “collaborating” rather than “improv-ing.”
“By the time we’re on the set, we know what we’re doing and we also remember all these other things that we thought of along the way. And I always assume nothing will work. So if there’s a joke, I always shoot ten jokes -- because I’m a Jew.”
Looking beyond the Sandler flick about a famous comedian struggling with the realities of life, Apatow is hard at work producing his first-ever sequel.
“[We’re] shooting a kind of sideways sequel to ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ called ‘Get Him to the Greek,” Apatow revealed of his next venture. “['Greek'] is about Jonah Hill trying to get an off-the-wagon Russell Brand to a concert… that’s going to be pretty good. It’s written and directed by Nick Stoller, who did ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall.’”
Even after some of his other films became box office superstars, sequels were not made. However, this one was unavoidable. “As soon as I finished ['Sarah Marshall'] we thought, ‘We have to do something with Russell and Jonah,’” Apatow said of the made-in-comedy-heaven pairing. “They just seem like they were a great, strange comedy team. So Nick Stoller sat down and wrote that, and it came out great.”
Which Apatow flick are you more excited to see: “Funny People” or “Get Him to the Greek?”