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The Envelope Screening Series

'This Is 40': Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd on real-life inspiration

December 17, 2012|By Oliver Gettell

"Write what you know," goes the old saw, and filmmaker Judd Apatow has done just that with the new marriage comedy "This Is 40." The film, billed as a "sort-of sequel" to 2007's "Knocked Up," stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow's real-life wife), as a couple entering their 40s and going through the trials of marriage, parenthood and middle age.

As Apatow discusses in this clip from the Envelope Screening Series with The Times' Rebecca Keegan, the film grew out of his desire to portray a particular slice of life.

"I wasn't thinking about making a sequel," Apatow says. "I just wanted to do a movie about this age and this time of life, so I started making notes about it. And I was thinking about different actors and actresses who could be in it. And then in the middle of the night I just thought, 'I think I'm writing the sequel to "Knocked Up," and it should be Pete and Debbie, and Maude and Iris.' Suddenly it made sense."

In making the film, Apatow says, he and his stars mined their own marriages for material.

"When I'm writing and when we rehearse, Paul and I will sit with Leslie and [Paul's] wife, Julie, and we'll have the 'What is annoying you about each other?' conversation," Apatow says, "and a lot of that makes its way into the movie. So I see it more as a bizarre Frankenstein monster of my worst traits and Paul's worst traits, and then Leslie has to deal with that."

Rudd then interjects with a bit of a disclaimer: "And also, it is a fictional story at the end of the day too."

"That's true," Apatow replies. "It becomes another thing because we are much better husbands than that."

Check out the full video for more from Apatow and Rudd, plus a cameo from costar Charlene Yi.


The Envelope Screening Series: Complete videos

Judd Apatow shows 'This Is 40' to appreciative LACMA audience

'This Is 40': Judd Apatow and daughter Maude on working together

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