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Judd Apatow Has A New Directing Project In The Works

As one of the biggest names in modern comedy, filmmaker Judd Apatow has his hands in a lot of pies. Producing has been his bag of late, leading one to wonder when he man was planning on writing and/or directing something new. Sure, he’d made a documentary about The Avett Brothers, and it was quite good, along with one about Gary Shandling, but when would another comedic effort be coming our way? Well, yesterday brought news that not only is he planning a new movie, it’s already written and has him teaming up with a really interesting talent. Who, well, none other than actor and comedian Pete Davidson.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, these are the details so far about the project:

“Davidson, currently one of the high-profile players on Saturday Night Live who is coming off the Sundance debut of the comedy Big Time Adolescence, wrote the script with Apatow and Dave Sirus and will star in what is being described as a semi-autobiographical story of Davidson growing up in Staten Island, New York.

When he was 7 years old, Davidson lost his father, a firefighter, in the Twin Towers attack of 9/11, an event that traumatically reverberated for years. He first tried stand-up when he was 16 and became known for his stark, truthful nature on sensitive topics. Losing his father figures into his sets.

Sources say the project sees Apatow doing for Davidson what he did for Schumer with Trainwreck, giving a platform for a rising comedian to play a version of themselves on a stage built with material from their own lives.”

Apatow did a marvelous job showcasing Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, after years of showing off the comedic skills of Seth Rogen, so it’s clear he has a talent for this. Davidson has a uniquely compelling story to tell, so if Apatow, Davidson, and Sirus have written a script that mixes the comedy and tragedy well, we could be in for a treat. At worst, it’ll be very funny. At best, it could be incredibly touching. Davidson may not be the first name you associate with Apatow, but the same could be said about Schumer, and Trainwreck became a Golden Globe nominee and had a brief moment where it looked like it could be an Oscar player. So, for now at least, in Apatow I trust.

For those curious, this is a bit that we’ve written about Apatow and his comedic history in the past:

Apatow has a long history in the business, going back to early stand up days, along with work on less heralded films as he first broke into Hollywood. When Apatow moved from producing and writing (though he continues to produce a number of comedy/dramedy shows on television, like the just finished Girls and Love, as well as shepherding smaller films like Begin Again and just this year The Big Sick) to also directing, he burst on the scene with The 40 Year Old Virgin. Teamed up with now Academy Award nominee Steve Carell, they crafted an uproarious sex comedy that also managed to have a ton of heart. Both Apatow and Carell (who co-wrote with him) were cited with a Writers Guild of America nomination, and I’d go so far as to say that if that had been a mandatory year of ten Best Picture nominees, we might have seen The 40 Year Old Virgin make it in. The same could be said of his follow up, Knocked Up, which again scored Apatow a WGA nod (a solo one this time). He made a star out of Seth Rogen, at the same time he was beginning to also shepherd other big comedies to the screen. He made the hits Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Pineapple Express, establishing himself as one of the most influential and powerful comedy voices in Hollywood, to say the least. That led to a move towards slightly more serious fare, possibly in an effort to finally break through with the Golden Globes and Oscar. Even though I adore Funny People, it was met with modest reviews and was Apatow’s first modern box office disappointment. It showcased some of Adam Sandler’s best work to date, but it was to many a bloated film with far too much going on. It was more or less ignored by all precursors, with the same being said for his sort of sequel to Knocked Up, the relationship dramedy This is 40. Since then, he’s opted to get back to basics a bit, making a comedy in Trainwreck that seemed more like something we would have made during the time when The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were becoming smash hits. It was phenomenal, but definitely more traditional. That’s what makes this musical doc stand out so much. It showcases his versatility.

This flick definitely has my attention. In all likelihood, we’ll see it in the summer or fall of 2020, presumably as one of the biggest comedy releases of the year. Almost anything Apatow touches turns to gold, so bet against this one at your own risk. As Davidson turns heads at Sundance and continues to be a memorable presence on Saturday Night Live, this immediately becomes a hotly anticipated movie. It’ll be a long wait, but almost assuredly worth it. Sit tight for further details on the film in the months to come, but if nothing else, we now know it’s eventually coming…

Stay tuned for more on this project when we have it!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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