Pete Davidson and Judd Apatow on Making ‘The King of Staten Island’ Personal

     June 12, 2020

Judd Apatow is known for many things as a filmmaker, like how he naturally blends comedy and drama, how he’s helped quite a few very familiar faces deliver breakout performances, and of course, the lengthy runtime of his films. Now with The King of Staten Island, he ticks all of those boxes all over again, and it’s for the best.

The movie features a spot-on performance from Pete Davidson as Scott, a guy in his 20s who’s still living at home with his mom on Staten Island. Having lost his father at a young age, Scott’s had a tough time getting it together and pursuing his dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Instead, he spends most of his time just hanging around with his friends while his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) does what she can to nudge him in the right direction. It isn’t until Ray (Bill Burr) steps into the picture and starts dating his mom that Scott feels compelled to reflect on what he’s been through and forge a better path forward for himself.


Image via Universal Pictures

The King of Staten Island is a robust coming-of-age story with a two hour and 17-minute running time and, in my opinion, it’s better off for it. The story is loosely inspired by Davidson’s own experiences, and you can truly feel the deep connection to the material through his performance. Apatow’s preference of letting moments and relationships build and breathe comes in handy big time here too, ensuring Scott’s journey feels especially full and also quite inspiring for anyone who’s ever felt stuck in life. With the film being made available on VOD platforms today, I got the chance to have a brief chat with Apatow and Davidson on their experience making the movie. We discussed the evolution of the script and how much of it is true to Davidson’s life, if Davidson has any directing aspirations, Apatow’s long running times, and more! You can check it all out in the video interview at the top of this article. And, if you’re looking for even more King of Staten Island talk, click here for my conversation with Marisa Tomei. 

Judd Apatow & Pete Davidson:

  • For Trainwreck, Apatow pushed Amy Schumer to be more personal with the script. Was it a similar situation for The King of Staten Island where there’s permutations of the script that are closer to Pete’s real life and others that are further away?
  • Davidson discusses the evolution of the script.
  • Apatow addresses his tendency to make films with a long runtime.
  • Does Davidson have any interest in directing now?
  • Has Apatow ever thought about directing a narrative scripted film on Garry Shandling’s life?
  • Is Apatow going to let Davidson give him a tattoo anytime soon?

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