Judd Apatow: ‘It’s Been Amazing To Find Talented Writers Like Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham’
The Debrief: We talk to the director about his new film with Amy Schumer Trainwreck
It’s been a fine old week for film. Not only do we have the new John Green book-turned-film Paper Towns (starring Cara Delevigne, no less) out on Monday, there’s the new Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig film Mistress America and THEN there’s ALSO the much-anticipated Trainwreck written and starred in by comedian of the moment Amy Schumer.
Trainwreck is about a character called erm, Amy who, much like many of us, lives in a city, enjoys going out and getting rowdy with friends, she works in the media industry and shock horror, likes to have sex. She’s also terrified of commitment. When she meets Aaron (played by ex-Saturday Night Live-r Bill Hader) and he turns out to be (another shock horror coming up) an actual good guy, she finds it hard to let him into her Independent Womanning lifestyle.
‘Amy has a fear of intimacy but she deals with it not by running away from people in relationships, but by being in relationships with no meaning,’ explains director Judd Apatow when I tell him how much I enjoyed seeing a female character deal with commitment issues act in exactly the same haphazard way that I would, rather than remaining chaste like Julia Roberts' character in Runaway Bride.
In fact, the film likes to shine light and poke fun at many stereotypical rom com tropes. When Aaron calls Amy the day after what Amy takes to be a one night stand, she and her workmate Nikki freak. the. hell. out, ‘What the hell is wrong with him??’ They scream.
Vanessa Bayer, who plays Nikki laughs when I ask her if rom com stereotypes have messed with our expecations of dating IRL. ‘Ha, yeah, dating has become this thing where if people do the right thing then it freaks the other person out because everyone’s gotten so used to being shady or playing games. If someone’s polite and doing the right thing, you’re like, “What’s wrong with this person?”’she laughs.
For many critics, Amy being the loud and brash one in the film’s central relationship while the more timid Aaron sits back has also signalled a subversion of gender roles. ‘Yeah I didn’t know that’s what we were doing until we started doing interviews!’ said Bill Hader, who plays Aaron. ‘Like apparently, I’m the woman? I didn’t see it that way at all. I just saw it as these two people. I’ve been in relationships with people like Amy’s character and I have friends who are guys and friends who are girls like Amy’s character, so for me it was just two personality types.’
Perhaps this point of view signals that we’re just not that used to seeing well-rounded women on screen. This is something that especially interests Judd Apatow who from working on Girls and Bridesmaids has a keen interest in lauching female-led projects. ‘It’s been great to find really fun, talented writers like Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Kirsten Wiig and Amy Mumolo. They have a lot to say and it’s been fun to help them make good use of the opportunity.
‘In the past there have been talented people but I don’t think they got that opportunity. A lot of the time I’ll wish there was a dozen Gilda Radner (ex-SNL comedian from the ’80s) movies or some of those women that I looked up to when I was a little kid. I think it’s changing now and hopefully, we’ll get a lot more stuff.’
Fingers crossed. So can the trio offer any advice to girls looking to follow in Amy’s footsteps? Both being on SNL, Vanessa and Bill have a lot to say on this. ‘It’s important to be writing,’ says Vanessa. ‘Whether it’s stand-up, sketch comedy or TV shows, whatever you do make sure you always have material.’
‘There’s so many avenues with YouTube to make your own thing,’ adds Bill. ‘The best thing to do is just make stuff. And you will suck at it, and then you will suck a little bit less and a little less and a little less the more your do it. Just be honest with yourself.’
Trainwreck is out 14 August.
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