Judd Apatow will spend a good portion of his near future with familiar characters. He signed on to produce the new Pee-wee Herman movie, the culmination of Paul Reubens’ revival tour of the 1980s character. More to my interest, Apatow is writing and directing a new feature based on the characters played by Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd in Knocked Up, scheduled for release June 1, 2012.
The Venice Family Clinic honored Apatow with a humanitarian award last night, where he discussed what makes these characters worth revisiting, and how to address the continuity issues that might arise in each property. Read what he had to say after the jump.
Screen Junkies asked Apatow if the new Pee-wee Herman film touches on what the character has been up to over the last 25 years. Apatow responded:
“No, it exists in its own world but it’s very imaginative. I think that’s one of the best characters of all time for me. It’s like W.C. Fields… It’s more like The Simpsons where in every episode he grew up in a different decade.”
I was never the right age for the Pee-wee fandom, but it’s been a pleasure to watch the response to this revival as it unfolds. I respect the adoration for the Pee-wee brand of humor, and you get the sense Apatow does as well. Factor in his sharp producerial eye, and there’s no better man to have speaking on behalf of the Pee-wee Herman movie from the perspective of a fan.
To contrast, I’m exactly the right age for Knocked Up. There was an immediate connection with a handful of characters from that movie, something Apatow is keenly aware of:
“People were really taken by those characters. I think people really emotionally connected to the challenges of their marriage and I thought, you know, they were only a small portion of the movie. I’m a television writer so I always want another episode. I always want another 80 episodes. That’s why after Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we said, “What else can we do with this character Russell Brand has created here?” I felt that way about Pete and Debbie from Knocked Up.”
This reminds me: I wonder if we’ll ever get another patented Apatow TV series, or if he’s lost to features forever. Maybe this HBO collaboration with Lena Dunham will fill that void?
There’s still a lot to be worked out, but Apatow does promise that Pete and Debbie will be joined by at least a couple of their Knocked Up pals:
“I’m trying to figure out how to [work in cameos]. A lot of it just depends on people’s availabilities and the story I’m trying to tell, who fits into that story. There definitely will be other people from Knocked Up in the movie.”