Judd Apatow and the Number 40 – What’s the Fascination?

Judd Apatow Talks This is 40
Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow (Photo © 2012 – Universal Pictures)
Judd Apatow returns to the director’s chair with This is 40, another relationship comedy with 40 in its title. However, his other ’40’ film – The 40 Year Old Virgin – has nothing to do with Apatow’s new movie other than the fact they both center on main characters who have reached the age of 40 and who are facing major relationship issues.

This is 40, a spin-off/sequel-ish comedy that turns the spotlight on supporting characters from Knocked Up, stars Apatow’s real-life wife and their two daughters along with frequent Apatow collaborator Paul Rudd. And in support of the film’s December 21st release, Apatow talked to me about the film and the fascination with 40:

40 has been pretty good for you, hasn’t it?
“It has, yeah. I have no complaints. Everything is going well. I have a beautiful family and getting to tell some stories I want to tell. My hair is falling out at a slower rate than I thought it was going to fall out. It’s going but not too quickly. Going gray, but that’s okay. I seem to look all right gray.”

How did you decide how to handle the relationship issues?
“So much of the relationship can be people projecting old problems onto the other person. If you had a boyfriend cheat on you, you might be a little more paranoid with the next boyfriend. I think that’s what most people have to contend with and it’s painful to try to be healthier.”

Is it true your daughter Maude’s character is obsessed with Lost because Maude had a short-term obsession with the show?
“And we didn’t really know what to do. Nothing like this had ever happened before, seeing her truly get addicted to something which I know is really intense and personal, it’s about life and death issues and existential issues, so we just had to at some point let her go through it.”

Why did you decide to shoot it digitally?
“Well, the new movie was shot digitally on the Alexa. He just did such a good job you can’t tell. That’s why we like it and I had a lot of fun. I think the difference between digital and film is very small and people try to convince you that you can’t tell at all, but I think that you can. Just a little bit but you still can.”

– By Fred Topel