First Look at the Story in Judd Apatow's Funny People
Judd Apatow's next directorial gig, titled Funny People, is one of those projects that no one really knew much about for a while. We knew that it was about stand-up comedians, which Apatow once was in real life, but that's about it. However, SlashFilm has come to the rescue with a comprehensive article looking at the plot and details of the film. Peter got his hands on the script recently and was able to go through it and give us a thorough rundown on the characters and the actors playing them. Will it live up to the last two films that Apatow directed, 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, or being something entirely different? We won't know that for sure until next summer, but this story sounds somewhat tame so far.
The film is about a comedian named George Simmons, played by Adam Sandler. He's been successful, "the women want him and the guys want to be his friend," but he's "a very miserable and self-involved person." The story starts when he learns that he has an untreatable blood disorder and has less than a year to live. In steps Ira, played by Seth Rogen, a deli counter worker and aspiring comedian. He performs for free at a small stand-up club but hasn't figured out his persona and, as Peter describes, is "what Seth Rogen would sound like if he were a stand-up comedian." After Simmons' shows up one night at his club and screws up his performance, he decides to hire Ira because he "sees something in the young comedian."
Simmons pays $6000 a month for his company and friendship and gives him the opportunity to open for him at shows. In essence, this is what the story is about: "a story of two people connecting with each other - an aspiring young comedian and a dying middle aged comedian." Additional characters that are a part of the film include Ira's two roommates, another aspiring comedian named Leo, played by Jonah Hill, and a sitcom star named Mark, played by Jason Schwartzman. There is also Laura, played by Leslie Mann, who is Simmons' love of his life but re-married after they broke up ten years earlier. And lastly, a "young alternative comic" named Daisy, played by Aubrey Plaza, who Ira has a romantic interest in.
Back in June when this news about the film was first revealed, Apatow explained that Funny People was, "a comedy, but it has more drama in it. A hilarious drama is what I'm going for." Peter confirms this by adding that it's "very different tonally" than anything Apatow has done previously. He references a scene where Ira and George end up in tears at the end of a conversation. It sounds like this is a change of pace for Apatow, which is exactly what he has been trying to achieve. "Every movie, I'm trying to find a way to go deeper, to tell stories about subjects that are important and make them less and less broad while making them equally as funny. [This film is] another step in that progression."
I'm not going to go into anymore of the story, because I think it's best to go into Apatow's films fresh. That's a solid rundown of what we can expect and I'm already quite excited to see where it goes next. Those looking for more details are more than welcome to read the full feature on SlashFilm. To me, Apatow is as good of a director as he is a producer, and Funny People sounds like potentially the next progression in Apatow comedies. I'm not completely sold on this story so far, but I think it could turn out great in the end. Something about this idea just doesn't seem like another Apatow masterpiece in the making, but I guess I need to see this played out. Maybe seeing actual comedians like Sandler and Rogen in these roles will make all the difference.