Advertised as a “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up, This Is 40 brings back the scene stealing married couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who have reached a certain milestone that no one is quick to celebrate, turning 40.
In the film, Pete now has his own record label but is running into serious financial troubles, and Debbie fears that one of the employees at her clothing store (played by Megan Fox) may be stealing money from her. Although Pete and Debbie love each other very much, they are constantly rubbing each other the wrong ways as their neurosis over getting older keeps getting worse and worse.
Recently, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, a press day was held for This Is 40. Attending it was the film’s writer/director Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Albert Brooks and Megan Fox. They discussed their experience making the movie as well as how they deal with turning 40 themselves.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: What was the toughest thing about turning 40 and how did you overcome it?
Judd Apatow: I overcame it by making two movies with 40 in the title (the other being The 40-Year Old Virgin). I claim that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown from turning 40 and that it was more 30, but the evidence of the two movies seems to prove I’m full of it.
Leslie Mann: I think he’s lying! (laughs) I think every day is different. Some days I feel fine and other days I feel like crying all day. I have lunches with my girlfriends who just turned 40, and some of those lunches were crying and screaming about our husbands saying we want to leave them and run away. Other lunches were fine, love our husbands and are happy with our lives so I’m not sure. I don’t have any of the answers.
Judd Apatow: I’m not gonna let you go to lunch anymore (laughs).
Albert Brooks: I have a different secret: When I was very young I started to make friends with much, much older people. So when I was 20 my friends were 50 and I never really went through 40 because I would watch them die and I’d always feel younger. So you make friends with older people and you’ll always feel young no matter what. On my 40th birthday I was in hospice with a 92-year old buddy… That’s a lie! (laughs)
Paul Rudd: I remember as a kid my dad always told me “you know getting older beats the alternative” although now my father actually is the alternative so I don’t know what he would say.
Albert Brooks: The alternative being?
Paul Rudd: Oh he’s dead (laughs).
Megan Fox: Well I haven’t reached that age yet, but I look at it in the sense that my husband is 13 years older so I’ll always be a trophy wife for him (laughs).
We Got This Covered: Judd, how much did you know about a woman’s perspective turning 40, and Leslie, is that where you came in? Did you bounce ideas off each other?
Judd Apatow: We talked about the movie for years together, and that’s where a lot of the scene ideas come from. It’s a little bit of a coded conversation where we’re really debating our own problems with each other. So Leslie can complain about Pete but not about me. I’ll say “don’t you think we should have a scene where we really point out how controlling Debbie is?” And then she’ll say “yeah but maybe there should be a moment where Pete admits he knows he’s a dick.” We go back and forth like that, subtly talking to each other for a long time, and in the end it mutates into this other thing which is a weird combo of me and Paul’s worst traits into one monster husband that Debbie has to deal with.
Leslie Mann: I agree, that’s how it works. It’s like what I would fantasize about saying to Judd. Debbie can say these things to Pete, but Leslie really can’t say these things to Judd. Also yelling at the mother (played by Melissa McCarthy), I wouldn’t ever do that but that’s what I fantasize about. I would love to do that so it’s nice to have this character to live through.
We Got This Covered: Megan, you fit into this Apatow family so well here. Were you nervous about that or did it just come really naturally for you when you were on set?
Megan Fox: Was I nervous about coming to set with like a close knit group of people? No because from the first audition that I went in for, it was Judd, Leslie and Paul. I went in with my sides and we did that once I think, and then Judd was like “okay so Paul you come into the store and you guys have an awkward conversation.” And so then we had to do all of this improv which I am not familiar with at all so I was so scared shitless then. I got over it after that point except there was that one day on set where we did that scene in the car after the club, and that was one of those days where I memorized the wrong scene. So I didn’t know my dialogue and I was so scared that I didn’t know it that I started doing all these crazy things in the scene which I think maybe worked. I was so scared that day.
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