While his production machine has continued to churn out comedies at a steady rate, it's been three years since Judd Apatow himself has been behind the camera with a feature film. 2009 saw the release of his dramedy "Funny People" which was, for the most part, warmly received but it's probably his sophomore feature "Knocked Up" which he is most renowned for. This year will see Apatow return with "This Is Forty," a thus far somewhat mystery spin-off from his 2007 film with the focus shifted towards the characters portrayed by Paul Rudd and Apatow's wife Leslie Mann.
The film began lensing last year with Apatow's two daughters Ira and Maude as well as Jason Segel (in a brief cameo) and Charlyne Yi joining Rudd and Mann in reprising their roles. But, with the addition of numerous actors such as Megan Fox, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, John Lithgow, Lena Durham, Annie Mumolo as well as Albert Brooks joining as Rudd's father, it was quickly evident that the project would be a fairly different beast to the film it's derived from.
Courtesy of feature piece with the L.A. Times this weekend, we now have our first look at the leading couple and their daughters with the story also noting that the film "picks up with the family a few years after 'Knocked Up' where Pete's music label is struggling and Debbie's vanity business, a dress shop staffed by the comely Desi (Fox) and the awkward Jodi (Yi), needs to help cover the household budget."
"It's the kind of stuff about marriage that you don't get to see in movies," Mann reveals. "It's about getting older. What the hell happened? Am I making all the right choices? Is this where I'm supposed to be? Is this it? All of those dreams that you had when you were young, all of the possibilities, when you lock into marriage and kids, do the possibilities dwindle or go away?"
Not exactly a subject we've never seen tackled but coupled with the improvisational comedy stylings of Apatow? We're sold. And, for all those who have worn out the line-o-ramas on their Apatow DVDs, the story has a preview of one line improvised on-set where Mann is coached by Apatow into riffing with Yi about Fox's assets as a salesperson. "She's hotter than me," she reportedly repeats after Apatow with an arched eyebrow. "It's like having Babe Ruth working at your store."
Mann also touched on the personal significance of the film, noting that it's partly based her and Apatow's own 14-year marriage. "The good moments are me and Judd," the actress joked. And the bads moments? "Oh, those are all Paul Rudd and his wife."
"This Is Forty" will see the light of day on December 21st.