Judd and Maude Apatow on ‘The King of Staten Island’
There are scenes in this movie that have a different feel for you, Judd, a sort of loose, John Cassavetes thing. How conscious was that?
Judd: I’m always thinking a lot about John Cassavetes. There are some amazing interviews with him that have been very inspirational. In one interview, he talks about how he doesn’t care if people like an entire movie. He just needs a few scenes to stick with them for the rest of their lives [laughs]. For him, everything was about it being memorable. You might not even think you liked the movie. But if it stuck in your craw, and nine years later there was that one moment that you think about every once in a while, then then that was of great value.
And it’s hard for me to not want things to be crazy-funny wall-to-wall. It takes a lot of discipline for me to say, Let’s make the scene authentic and strong, and it’s going to be as funny as it winds up being. All these actors and actresses are so interesting and funny, but it doesn’t have to be a riot all along the path. So that is a challenge, because I take some security in the comedic success of the scene. And, you know, one of the things I did is I allowed our cinematographer, Robert Elswit, to move the camera to follow the action and use his eye. Usually, virtually everyone’s locked down so we never miss the joke, right? The camera is always on someone’s face, and it never budges. But the entire shooting style is different with with Bob, and it’s much more alive. And when I got in post, I wondered, “What jokes did I miss because Bob was on the wrong person?” And I swear to God, he didn’t miss once the entire movie. And that changed things a great deal also. So I just tried to value the drama and the story more than the comedy. I hope there’s enough comedy in there, but that’s not really why we’re here.
Judd, you’ve had a lot to say about Donald Trump on Twitter. Do those moments of political outrage spill over into the house at all?
Judd: I don’t bother everybody in the house too much about it. . . .
Maude: If we bring it up, you’ll definitely start talking about it! [Laughs.] Every day is horrible, but on an especially bad Trump day, it’ll definitely affect the mood in the house. I mean, it hurts, these days.
Judd: [Trump’s behavior] is too shocking on a daily basis and on an hourly basis. It’s worse than my worst nightmares I’ve had, and I feel like I’ve been ranting about it for years. I think it’s everything that I had a sense might happen, just a combination of corruption and ineptitude. And heartlessness. But I think we’re all just looking for ways to be positive and put something good out into the world in spite of it.
And what’s the latest on Iris’ acting career?
She’s finishing up eleventh grade now, and studying film and acting. We worked together on the TV show Love [she played Aria, the sulky young star of a fictional TV show about witches in Kansas called Witchita], and she was phenomenal in that, so funny. And really enjoyed doing it. So she’s literally right at the moment where she’s going to start berating me for not being allowed to pursue it. So I’m sure we’ll be hearing from her very, very soon.