During one of the hottest days of June in 2014, Collider ventured to the Big Apple for a set visit on director/producer Judd Apatow’s next film, Trainwreck. It was hot. So hot in fact, that the hottest comedian on the planet, Amy Schumer, just happened to be starring in the film. The big twist on this comedy is that Apatow, for the first time, is only directing the star of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. Trainwreck is Schumer’s screenplay.
This wasn’t your typical set visit. We didn’t have to worry about taking pictures that would leak characters, nor come up with creative superlatives to beat around obvious questions. In fact, we were welcomed right into this comedy family and got a chat with the star herself and the film’s director. As we learned on that hot day in New York, this comedic duo wasn’t packing a utility belt of clever gadgets in hopes of taking down a threat from another world. No, their weapons are comedians and actors who can bring laughter in a huge way.
What Is Trainwreck About?
Amy plays Amy, a writer for a men’s magazine, who is assigned to write a story on a new doctor (Bill Hader) and his technique on healing sports injuries. Amy doesn’t want the assignment, but her boss (Tilda Swinton) thinks her disgust of sports would ensure it won’t be a fluff piece. Amy and the doctor hit it off, but Amy runs because for the first time in her life, the connection makes sense. Amy’s home life has taught her to keep a husband, kids, and family in general at arm’s length. The domestic way of life is easily accepted by her sister Kim (Brie Larson), as she and her husband are having their first baby shower. Despite knowing that path is not for her, is Amy outgrowing her comedic defense mechanism? Can she get over her biggest obstacle, herself?
Why the lead character’s familiar name? “Pure laziness”, according to the star and screenwriter. She also admits that it feels like the audience gets thrown off when comedians use different names. Subsequently, her real life sister’s name is Kim and her father’s real life name is Gordon (played in the film by comedian Colin Quinn).
The idea of Trainwreck was discussed for over two years with Judd Apatow. The original draft of the script was written over a month and half. Schumer confessed to us that she wrote the script with Apatow in mind to direct. So in her writing of the screenplay, she wrote in things that would attract him to the project.
Because Schumer wrote the script and was so close to Apatow on the story, she wrote parts for her fellow comedians that would showcase what they could do, instead of trying to fit them into certain roles.
Apatow Only Directing?
This will be the first time Judd Apatow will have not written a film he is directing. He was thrilled to reveal that they shot Trainwreck on 35MM film.
Trainwreck also marks Apatow’s first New York movie, an experience his four time producer, Barry Mendel (Funny People), calls invigorating. The whole crew is different including Director of Cinematography Jody Lee Lipes (Tiny Furniture, Girls), and the Production Designer Kevin Thompson (The Bourne Legacy).
Apatow is taking full advantage of the New York backdrop allowing multiple real world locations with very few constructed sets. The film’s finale takes place at Madison Square Garden.
A Cast of Comedians and Cameos
This will be Bill Hader’s first role as the leading man.
One of the characters in the script is named LeBron James and will be played by none other than LeBron James himself. Schumer wrote his scenes down to the exact type of Tom Ford suits he would be wearing in hopes that James would accept the role.
Schumer’s original screenplay called for a “Tilda Swinton Type” to play her boss at the men’s magazine. Apatow called up Swinton and offered her the part. Apparently Swinton is fan of Apatow and was looking to join his comedy universe.
WWE star John Cena plays Amy’s boyfriend at the beginning of the film. Cena plays a professional wrestler, which is another instance of life imitating art as Schumer previously dated WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler. According to both Schumer and Apatow, Cena has been the biggest surprise of the entire shoot. He also produced the biggest table read laughs. No small feat when you’re in a room full of comedians.
Swinton’s co-star from We Need to Talk About Kevin soon to be DC Comics’ cinematic Flash, Ezra Miller, also has a role. No, he not playing Swinton’s son again.
The film boasts a huge allotment of standup comedians. These were the comedians listed to us personally by Amy Schumer that are in the film: Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Kurt Metzger, Robert Kelly, Pete Davidson, Rachel Feinstein, Method Man, John Glaser, Vanessa Bayer, and Kyle Dunnigan. Whether or not they end up in the final cut remains to be seen. The one nice bit about Apatow comedies is that there is always an extended cut.
Apatow mentioned that Hollywood Screen legend Norman Llyod is in the film. This makes him the oldest cast member and the only one to have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock (he is currently not credited with being in Trainwreck).
This Is Not Another Bridesmaids
One fact that producer Barry Mendel was trying to stress was this is not another Bridesmaids. This is a romantic comedy and not a wedding comedy. It’s only similar to Bridesmaids with its message that the answers to life’s problems do not come from settling down or getting married. Those answers come from within.
Schumer’s character is battling the societal push to become one of the “Stepford Wives”. She actually behaves badly throughout the film, which was hysterically on full display in the scene Collider was allowed to witness.
Trainwreck arrives in theaters on July 17th.