Judd Apatow

Lena Dunham‘s new HBO show, Girls, fits right into producer Judd Apatow‘s wheelhouse: it’s funny, awkward, honest, and never afraid to show characters at their ugliest. The lead, Hannah (Dunham), is a young 20-something looking for direction, similar to plenty of Apatow’s characters in TV and film. Hannah and her friends aren’t the nicest or the most admirable of characters, but they’re about as real as a group of friends can get. Hannah is one of those phases that plenty of artists — such as Dunham and Apatow — could relate to: being young and struggling. In usual HBO fashion, Girls is a show that pushes the pain, never letting its characters off easy. That, amongst other topics, were discussed between Apatow, Dunham, and I the day after its terrific premiere at SXSW. Here’s what Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow had to say about the movie-like structure of the show, writing vomit drafts, and personal comedy:

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Drinking Games

Last week, the interwebs exploded with the awesome announcement that Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Steve Carell and Paramount Pictures have come to an agreement on moving forward with a sequel to the 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Sweet Lincoln’s mullet, this is exciting! Even though the movie’s release is at least a year away, you can still pop in your DVD, Blu-ray or HD-DVD (yeah, those are still out there) of Anchorman to refresh yourself in preparation of the sequel. Enjoy some scotchy, scotch, scotch, down into your belly. Or drink from a half-gallon carton of milk on a hot day. Either way, slap on your Sex Panther cologne and take a trip back to the glorious 70s. And don’t forget to stay classy, rejects!

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Last month was eclectic. We got Disney‘s like-it-or-hate-it box-office bomb, a sweet and violent comedy following the goons of hockey, one ass-kicking and nonstop action picture, an 80s TV show adaptation that was better than it originally had any right to be, and a Tarsem kids’ film that defied most expectations based on that horror story of a trailer. A pretty strong March, and that’s not even counting The Hunger Games. Before we head into the unpredictable summer movie season, we got 30 days filled with a plenty of excellent and probably not-so-excellent releases coming out. Here are 8 1/2 movies worth seeing this month.

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Let’s get it out of the way right now – I liked Tiny Furniture. I was not wild about it, and I didn’t hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. I’m in the minority on this one – the middle. Should it have won Best Narrative Feature at SXSW 2010? Perhaps not. Should it already have its own Criterion Collection release? Maybe. But I find Lena Dunham interesting, and there were moments of brilliance in Tiny Furniture, moments that absolutely spoke to twentysomething ladies looking for whatever “real life” happens to be (ladies like, well, me). And perhaps Dunham’s humor and insight and experience is better-suited to the series treatment, a structure that would condense her more twee affectations into shorter bits, and one that would benefit from a larger cast. And so there is Girls – Dunham’s new HBO series, produced by none other than Judd Apatow. Like Tiny Furniture, Girls chronicles the lives of twentysomething ladies trying to find their way in big, bad New York City. Dunham is joined by Jemima Kirke and Allison Williams, and the series centers on the gals and their lives (often funny, sometimes kind of heartbreaking). The series will premiere at this year’s SXSW, with a three-episode screening on March 12 at the Paramount. Check out the full trailer for the series after the break.

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Last year’s lady-centric comedy Bridesmaids cost Universal $32 million to produce and ended up banking over $288m at the box office. Plus it made viable, hit anchoring stars out of both Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. So, would you imagine that the studio wants to make a sequel? The answer is yes, yes they do, very much, but unfortunately they have a huge stumbling block in front of them. According to a report from THR, the original film’s co-writer and star, Kristen Wiig ,isn’t interested in doing another one. When asked about the potential sequel, that should definitely be once again written by Wiig and her collaborator Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, Wiig replied, “We aren’t working on that. Annie and I aren’t planning a sequel. We are writing something else.” Oh. Ouch. That sucks for Universal. THR’s speculation over why Wiig refuses to play ball centers on the minuscule $100 thousand bonuses the cast got on the first one, after it became a runaway financial success, but Wiig refused to comment on whether her reluctance to work on another Bridesmaids is financially motivated or not. She also might not want to start doing comedy sequels because she’s trying to move her career in a more dramatic direction. She’s got upcoming dramatic roles opposite people like Annette Bening in Imogene and Robert De Niro in The Comedian. That sounds like a potential springboard into Oscar territory to me. Doing something as lame as a “getting the band back […]

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Prominent producer/writer/director Judd Apatow was recorded while speaking at some sort of L.A. Times sponsored press event recently, and he had some interesting comments about The Academy and how he thinks comedies are treated unfairly at the Oscars. You can head over to 24 Frames to watch the whole thing, or just read below and I’ll give you the gist of what was said. Apatow is of the opinion that there should be a new Oscar category created for “Best Comedy,” much like an Oscar for “Best Animated Film” was created in 2001. His reasoning: “Why not?” Okay, that isn’t his entire reasoning. He goes on to say that because “a comedy has only won Best Picture 5 times in a zillion years” he doesn’t think it would be “screwing up Schindler’s List for Hangover to have its own category.” And he goes even further to say that once a new Comedy category was created the Academy could “get rid of the Key Grip category,” a comment that elicits some boos from a tech-appreciative crowd gathered around the interview area. In response to the booing Apatow explains, “I love the key grips, they do a fantastic job, but in hour four I would rather see Zach Galifianakis show up rather than my friend Curtis.”

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It’s time to crank up the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, imbibe in your favorite – LEGAL – activity, and start the baby making. In this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re hitting up one of the best comedies of the past 10 years, Knocked Up. Aside from being one of the dozen films that have made Judd Apatow a vigintillionaire, apart from being the film that landed Seth Rogen on the A-list, the movie is just damned funny. Heart-warming, of course. What would an Apatow movie be without heart? Well, it would probably be You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, but we’re not even going to mention that abomination here. Just ignore that previous utterance of the title. Anyway, back to Knocked Up, Apatow has amassed a solid line-up for his commentary track. Rogen and co-star Bill Hader are on board to deliver their own stories and insight into the making of the film. Something tells me the commenting under the influence didn’t stop with last week’s movie. That Rogen sure likes to partake. He’s always stoned. And funny. Mostly funny. But one might have a hand in the other. So here’s what we learned from the commentary track to Knocked Up. Cue the ODB!

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Ever since Melissa McCarthy stole our hearts and upset our stomachs with a breakthrough, gross out performance in Bridesmaids, we’ve been tracking the skyrocketing of her career very closely. In rapid succession it was announced that Bridesmaids director Paul Feig was developing a project specifically for her, that she landed a role in Judd Apatow’s next directorial effort This is Forty, and also that she scored a big part in the upcoming Jason Bateman-gets-pushed-around-again comedy ID Theft. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things that McCarthy has been up to since Bridesmaids was released, however. The Hollywood Reporter has a cover story on the actress that talks about her winning an Emmy for her role on Mike & Molly, getting the opportunity to host Saturday Night Live, starting her own production company, and even starting up her own design label. She’s like the Jay Z of comedic actresses. The part of the article that interested me the most though, was the announcement of a couple more film projects she has in development. They did not give too many details about the first one, but apparently it’s a dark comedy that McCarthy is co-writing with The Help writer/director Tate Taylor. They know each other from their days of being in The Groundlings together and the script is currently half-finished. The other project, that we get a couple of plot details about, is called Tammy. It’s the project that McCarthy says she is most excited about, […]

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Drinking Games

It was one of the uproarious, raunchiest and most beloved comedies of the summer. No, we’re not talking about The Hangover: Part II. We’re talking about the ultimate women’s lib movie, Bridesmaids, which showed that beautiful ladies can burp, fart and poop on screen just like the men can. The DVD and Blu-ray of Bridesmaids drops today, complete with an unrated version of the film, so now you can invite your mom, grandmother and aunt over for a maid of honor toast with your favorite beverage and enjoy the movie again.

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There’s not a single mean-spirited bone in Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids. This is a rare comedy, in the sense of how sweet and clearly in love the director and cast are with its characters. This is a film about genuinely good people who make terrible, but understandable, mistakes. Whenever the tone skirts towards taking a mean turn, Feig reverts back to honesty and realism. The writer-director is no stranger to that type of grounded comedy; just look at his cult classic show Freaks and Geeks. The only character that many will find despicable is one: Ted (played by Jon Hamm). Ted is that moronic jock who thinks he can take and have whatever he wants. Nearly every other line he says reeks of an idiot, and yet he’s still oddly likable. Someone so narcissistic should never be this charming. Here’s what the friendly and talkative Paul Feig had to say about mean-spirited comedy, shooting comedic sex, and having characters talk like real people:

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Judd Apatow’s fourth feature film is set to be a sort-of sequel to his 2007 effort Knocked Up. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with the main protagonists that Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen played in that film, but instead it’s supposed to focus on the married couple that was brought to life by Apatow’s real life wife Leslie Mann and that delightful Paul Rudd. Once he got his story down and his principle couple locked in, Apatow then needed to dig into his deep bag of comedic actors to fill out the supporting roles. We’ve already reported that he’s signed on Bridesmaids breakout Melissa McCarthy to join the cast, and apparently he picked up Megan Fox somewhere along the way as well because today comes some Fox related news that I’m super stoked about. When it comes to my current man crushes, Paul Rudd is up there pretty high at the top of the list, but even closer to the tippy top is Jason Segel; and according to a picture that Fox uploaded to her Facebook account, it’s looking like Segel is on set to reprise his so-into-Leslie-Mann-it’s-ridiculous role from the first film. This is good news to me, as Segel pretty much automatically becomes the best part of any movie that casts him without exception. Dude was even lovable in Bad Teacher. While I wouldn’t really want to see another story that focused heavily on Rogen’s slacker buddies from the first film, especially in a movie that’s […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collector of film and television news and links that is currently working for the weekend. It certainly wants a little romance. You won’t catch it goin’ off the deep end. Da nanana na na… We begin tonight with more photos from The Amazing Spider-Man. Sony is hoping that its Comic-Con presence next week helps the webbed wonder get back into the public eye, as they’re counting on this franchise reboot to be a big earner. In the mean time, we get a few looks at a slick new costume, practical web-shooters and an intimate moment between our bloodied hero and his blond dame. All this and more in the gallery found over at /Film.

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Fresh off of her head turning performance in this year’s breakout comedy hit Bridesmaids Melissa McCarthy is riding her momentum right into the next Judd Apatow movie. The new film is a revisiting of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s married couple from Knocked Up that was once and may still be titled This is Forty. McCarthy is said to be playing the mother of a child that attends the same school Rudd and Mann’s children do, and her kid is going to be played by Super 8’s Ryan Lee. There aren’t any more details than that, but I’m guessing that her character will also be loud and mouthy. Gotta dance with the one who brought you. Despite the fact that she was the big revelation of Bridesmaids, and she’s got a bunch of film offers coming her way, McCarthy is still one of the stars of the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. Probably she’s going to need to get out of that deal, because while I haven’t actually seen it, I hear that show is pretty atrocious. We can’t be having a big network anchor tied around our neck when that Apatow money starts rolling in, know what I mean? I say we start a free Melissa McCarthy petition. [THR]

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Proving that not even a public masturbation scandal can keep a good character down, Paul Reubens has once again been turning heads with his portrayal of pop culture icon Pee-Wee Herman. Recently, he’s been back on the stage portraying the character in a Broadway show. HBO even filmed a version of it, entitled The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway, which is now looking to scoop up some Emmys. With all of this new excitement surrounding the Pee-Wee Herman character, one must begin to ask oneself, “What ever happened to that new Pee-Wee movie that Judd Apatow was supposed to be producing?” Luckily, when they recently caught up with Reubens, The Hollywood Reporter asked him just that. In response, Reubens had the exciting update that, “Paul Rust and I just turned in a draft to Judd last week.” Reubens, for his part, seemed to be confident in the work they had done. He finished off the interview by sending a shout out to his producer saying, “Judd, if you’re reading this, I think it’s ready to green light!”

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Between Martin Scorsese with Boardwalk Empire, Michael Mann with his upcoming series Luck, Tony and Ridley Scott with The Good Wife, David Fincher with his upcoming House of Cards, Steven Spielberg with too many upcoming projects to name, and an ungodly amount of smaller names that have directed various pilots, many filmmakers have been trying their hand at a smaller screen. While that’s great, it isn’t enough. So it’s time to discuss what other filmmakers would be suited well for the idiot box. Here are seven filmmakers that should try their hand at television.

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There’s a new romantic comedy in the works, and the cast that it’s assembled so far is an awesome mix of people I love from Judd Apatow shows, people I love from Party Down, and girls that I have crushes on (with some Mad Men connections thrown in for good measure). Save the Date is based on characters from the graphic novels of Jeffrey Brown. Brown’s comic work is smaller, more autobiographical than the super hero stuff that typically gets adapted from the world of sequential art. This story is about two sisters, one who is relatively unconcerned about the future and is therefore dating a musician, and another who is obsessed with planning her upcoming wedding down to every detail. Michael Mohan will be co-writing with Brown and directing. But that’s not really the exciting part of this news for me. The exciting part is the cast.

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As we all already know, Judd Apatow is taking the characters created by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in Knocked Up and giving them their own story. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that negotiations are happening for Megan Fox to join the cast in some capacity. What exactly that capacity is, is still a production secret, but the typecasting options aren’t really numerous. She could play a sexy temptress for Paul Rudd to get sexily tempted by, she could play a slutty babysitter for Paul Rudd to be tempted by, or she could play a rocket scientist teaching philosophy at the local college who acts as a stirring mentor figure who dispenses wisdom just at the right moment. In all honesty, and without sarcasm, the big question is whether Megan Fox can do character-based comedy. She made fun of herself in a Funny or Die video a while back, but that doesn’t exactly translate to playing a role with some of the best comedic improvisers in the business. The apathetic smugness of her line delivery in every other flick she’s in doesn’t seem like it works for comedy. Unless she takes it over the top. That’s it. She can play a ridiculously apathetic rocket scientist.

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It’s been a while since Bill Hader was gabbing about the slasher film that he is collaborating with Judd Apatow on. Way back in the when he said the movie was called House of Joel, and he described it by saying, “It’s partially Straw Dogs meets Halloween meets Home Alone meets The Monster Squad.” If I didn’t know better, I would say he looked into my mind and stole that quote directly from my deepest fantasies. Recently Hader spilled some more details about the project and where they’re at with its development when talking to The Playlist. Firstly, Hader says that there has probably been a name change, “Well, I’m not sure it’s called House of Joel anymore. I don’t know what’s happening with it exactly. Judd, me, and Jason Woliner are gonna meet in L.A. soon to figure out what the next steps are. It’s a funny, funny script and it’s Judd’s take on a slasher movie. It’s been a long gestating project, but I think it’s worth it because it just keeps getting better.” Better sounds good, but Apatow hasn’t done anything yet other than comedies with a little added heart. What would an Apatow-made horror film look like?

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Nicholas Stoller knocked it out of the park with Jason Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He then seemed to save the best bits for P. Diddy in Get Him to the Greek. That second attempt was a mixed bag, but that scientifically proves that Segal is the key to success. Thus, the forthcoming Five-Year Engagement will be comedy gold. The movie shows the highs and lows of a couple, played by Emily Blunt and Segal, and according to Variety, Community‘s Alison Brie is joining the cast as Blunt’s younger sister. She’ll, of course, have to rock a British accent. No word yet on whether she’ll call in Geoffrey Rush to help with it. It’s undoubtedly a great addition to a project that already sounds fantastic. With any luck, it’ll have the right blend of drama and comedy that made Sarah Marshall work and will leave out any awkward threesomes that made Get Him to the Greek fail. Speaking of awkward Eiffel Towers, this marks the second time Stoller will work with a leading lady from Mad Men as Elizabeth Moss was in Greek. If that trend continues, we’ll be hearing about January Jones and Christina Hendricks joining his next. If that’s the case, there’s a ton of internet fanfic to choose from for the adaptation.

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Wacky crew of individuals who would never be friends in real life? Check. Sequence of main actor taking a drug and being crazy? Check. Stock wedding plot set up? Double and triple check. Bridesmaids has got it all. While the presence of Judd Apatow as producer and Paul Feig (the creator of Freaks and Geeks) as director might inspire some confidence, this trailer doesn’t. It’s a strong cast, sure, but everything here looks about as middle of the road as possible. Check it out for yourself:

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