Continuing his tradition of unexpected casting choices (Megan Fox in This Is 40, RZA in Funny People), Judd Apatow has made a number of surprising additions to the cast of his next directorial effort, Trainwreck. The film, which is scheduled for release next summer, is intended as a starring vehicle for rising comedienne Amy Schumer.
Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, WWE superstar/rapper John Cena, comedian Mike Birbiglia, SNL star Vanessa Bayer, The Perks of Being A Wallflower star Ezra Miller and Girls ensemble member Jon Glaser have all been added to the cast of Trainwreck, which previously boasted Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn and Brie Larson.
It will be interesting to see how Abdi and Cena are used in this film, as neither have a comedic background. Abdi’s only credit to date is Captain Phillips, while Cena’s acting experience has been limited to by-the-numbers action flicks such as The Marine. Apatow was able to deploy Megan Fox, not known for her comic timing, to great effect in This Is 40, so I have high hopes he will be able to achieve similar success with Abdi and Cena.
I also have to wonder whether the director will be able to cut down his notoriously excessive running times to achieve the unqualified success that has eluded him since Knocked Up. The absence of his wife, Leslie Mann, and the lack of opportunity to shoehorn his children into the story should help matters, as Funny People and This Is 40 were both sabotaged by Apatow’s insistence on showcasing his family’s talents through protracted storylines.
Luckily, Schumer’s presence is already cause enough for optimism. Her first two stand up showcases, Cutting and Mostly Sex Stuff, were among the finest comedy specials I’ve seen in recent years. If Apatow allows her unsentimental sensibilities to shine through, I believe this film could succeed as the next classic in his oeuvre.
Trainwreck is scheduled for release on June 24th, 2015.