Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor.
The first scene in Judd Apatow’s dramatic comedy about marriage, This Is 40, is the only love scene. Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are having birthday sex in the shower, but what Debbie doesn’t know is that Pete has popped a Viagra. Thrusting is soon followed by tumult.
First seen in Knocked Up, Pete and Debbie functioned in that film as “the ghosts of Christmas future” for the two main characters, played by Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. But This Is 40 doesn’t pick up where Knocked Up left off, it starts afresh.
Let us assume the Viagra shower episode hasn’t happened in the real-life marriage of Apatow and Mann. But both the writer/director, edging into more mature terrain, and his actress wife, truly starring in a major Hollywood film for the first time, are aware that they’ve made something that feels, anyway, like an autobiographical film. In the time before making This Is 40, Apatow went back and watched, among others, Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From A Marriage, “which had more humor in it than one would expect,” he says.
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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in talks with Jason Bateman, Zac Efron, Goldie Hawn, and Leslie Mann to headline the ensemble of This Is Where I Leave You, the Adam Shankman-directed adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper comic novel about four siblings who come home to sit ‘shiva’ for their deceased father. They are trapped in the house for seven days, and all the skeletons are bared. Tropper, who memorably adapted Harvey into a script that once had Steven Spielberg committed to direct, adapted his own novel. It is a script that is drawing interest from a lot of talent, with other stars expected to step up for other roles in the ensemble. Spring Creek’s Paula Weinstein and Jeff Levine are producing with Shankman’s Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot. Hawn, who last starred in 2002′s The Banger Sisters, is in talks to play the clan’s mother. Bateman, Efron (whom Shankman directed in Hairspray) and Mann will play siblings. The intention is to begin production in early September. Shankman just directed the musical Rock of Ages, with Tom Cruise starring.
Little Birds, the Elgin James-directed drama about two restless teenage girls who leave their dying Salton Sea hometown to take a dangerous road trip to Los Angeles with three street kids, has been acquired for North American distribution by Millennium Entertainment. The film stars Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann. James is the reformed former gang member who in March was sentenced to spend a year in jail by a federal judge in Chicago. James had to answer for an incident from his past, the charge involving a 2005 attempt to extort $5000 from a man. I met James at Sundance, and found him to be very honest about himself, his rough upbringing, and in how he had turned his life around with a decision to embrace non-violence. Seeing his movie get a chance to reach audiences has to be a spot of good news in an EKG year in which he debuted the film at Sundance to acclaim, started getting hired to write studio films, and then drew the jail sentence. The plan is to release the film in the fall, and timing will be key here, because James is eligible to be freed 10 months into a sentence rendered in early March. Will he be released before his film is? Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Albert Brooks is negotiating to join the untitled comedy that Judd Apatow wrote and will direct for Universal Pictures. The film will star Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, who are reprising the roles they played in Knocked Up. I’m told that Brooks is in talks to play Rudd’s father in a film that will also feature Megan Fox. It’s an interesting pairing, Brooks and Apatow, because they are both writer/directors whose comedies have a very auteurish voice. Brooks most recently played a mobster you don’t want to cross in Drive, the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed adaptation of the James Sallis novel that stars Ryan Gosling.
Brooks also has a May publication date on 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America, a novel that will be published by St. Martin’s Press. That book takes a serious look at what might happen in 20 years, when cancer has been eradicated and life expectancies have been pushed up to 110, rendering 70 the new middle age. Brooks is repped by WME and managed by Herb Nanas.
Leslie Mann has signed on to play the lead female role in Universal’s The Change-Up opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman.