As arguably the biggest comedy director working in Hollywood today, Judd Apatow is a funny guy and almost as importantly, he’s been a longtime friend to the MTV Movies Blog, acting as one of our first guest contributors way back when “Knocked Up” was coming out. Well, the big guy is back. Apatow’s next project, of course, is “Funny People.” And lucky for us Judd’s re-joining the MTV Movies Blog gang with a series of exclusive columns hitting every single Thursday between now and the film’s release. So without further ado, here’s Judd…
I am on a plane right now on my way to New York to watch Leslie [Mann] do a spot on Late Show with David Letterman. Sitting right behind me is one of the Jonas Brothers. I am not sure which one. To me they are a three headed creature—the Jonas. To my right behind me is the great comedian Kevin Nealon and all the way to my right is the great songwriter (“Rainbow Connection,” “We’ve Only Just Begun”), singer and sometimes actor, Paul Williams (“Smokey and the Bandit”). On the flight the movie is “17 Again,” which Leslie is in, so it is a strange flight indeed. Kevin Nealon keeps coughing when she comes on screen or throwing things at the tiny monitor the movie plays on. Leslie is mad that the Jonas brother is sleeping and not watching the movie. He sleeps cute as well.
I get very nervous before a film comes out. You spend several years working on it, and then the verdict comes in instantaneously. So right now I feel like the verdict is about to come in. My lawyer has told me it looks good. Seems like we may be acquitted, but you never know how a jury is going to react.
“Funny People” is very personal to me. It is really funny, but is also about a lot of life and death issues. People seem to project their view of life onto it. Dark people find it really dark. Happy hopeful people think it is sweet and positive. I have never had an experience like this before. Usually people just laugh and that is it. They ponder it for too long. I read one hilarious super-nasty article about me that said I was a misanthrope (you can look it up too) and then another that said I was conservative and syrupy sweet.
So I guess this will be a movie that will start many long conversations. That was the point when I wrote it but watching those conversations about to begin is scary. I want the movie to stay with people. To make them take a moment to think about some issues they avoid most days, but I also want it to make people happy. It is hard to do that in one movie but so far people seem to really like it. But you never can trust what people say to your face, I guess. I can’t remember ever walking up to a friend after watching a movie they made that I did not think worked and telling them exactly what I thought. “Hey, your movie is terrible. What happened?”
On one level people need real feedback. And I will give it when they ask for help while writing or editing, but if the film is done and nothing can be changed then what is the point of breaking their heart? I prefer to say “Wow! You did it! You really did it! Who is the girl who played the waitress? That was a small part but she really popped! Are you having fun at this premiere? Pretty crazy right. You must feel good? You should. Now you get to rest, huh? What are you gonna do now?”
As of today all of the feedback has been so positive that it is hard to trust it. I hope people are telling me the truth, but don’t feel obligated to go that way. If you like my film tell me in great detail what you liked about it, and if you don’t, please lie and tell me in even more detail what you loved about it so I believe your lie. Please don’t ask me what I am up to next. That’s a dead giveaway. I don’t think I could handle it.