Doing the rounds of press for the recent Blu-ray release of the 1996 dark satire "The Cable Guy" (thanks for including us guys), triple threat writer/producer/director Judd Apatow naturally fielded questions about the currently untitled "Knocked Up" spin-off that isn't a spin-off, but well, actually kinda sort of is (sorry Universal protesting). As you've heard, the film focuses on the other (and married) couple from "Knocked Up," Pete and Debbie, otherwise known as Apatow's wife Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, and it will catch up with their relationship four or five years since the events of the preceding film.
Up until know it's been unknown if Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, the principal couple in "Knocked Up" would return for this film. Frankly, that feels a little odd unless a) Pete and Debbie move out of nearby L.A. and/or Rogen and Heigl have split up (which we think is a definite possibility). And when Screen Junkies asked if they would appear, Apatow told them, "Well, I’m not writing it to be a story about Seth and Katherine’s characters. It’s really about where Pete and Debbie are five years later."
When pressed about Heigl -- who had talked shit about the Apatow crew afterward and their supposed sexist man humor -- Apatow said, "Uh, I don’t know. It’s too early to know."
Of course, there was a rich array of talent to be found in "Knocked Up" in the ensemble that included Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, Jay Baruchel, Ken Jeong and more, and we might want to keep our eyes out because there's a chance they might pop up. "A lot of it just depends on people’s availabilities and the story I’m trying to tell, who fits into that story. There definitely will be other people from 'Knocked Up' in the movie," Apatow said.
But perhaps the biggest question surrounding the film is "Why?" Many have wondered why the writer/director decided to revisit this film and these characters in particular, and it may have something to do with Apatow's past on the small screen. "People were really taken by those characters. I think people really emotionally connected to the challenges of their marriage and I thought, you know, they were only a small portion of the movie. I’m a television writer so I always want another episode. I always want another 80 episodes," he said. "That’s why after 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall,' we said, 'What else can we do with this character Russell Brand has created here?' I felt that way about Pete and Debbie from 'Knocked Up.'"
Speaking with the LA Times, Apatow adds, "This movie has its own world, and so part of it is recognizable, but it just goes much deeper into one aspect of 'Knocked Up.'"
Of course, as everyone knows by know, Apatow has a very free, collaborative and improv-heavy set on this films so when asked if he's going to be turning in a script soon he reveals, there may barely be a semblance of one to begin with. "I know at some point I’ll get [the script] done. I’m going to shoot in July, and then it’ll come out next summer. I’m trying to get it in the head to direct again," Apatow said adding, "I just show [the studio] pages from the beginning. I show them the worst possible vomit pass from Day One. My whole process is wide open. I show them a really bad draft and then I keep saying for months, 'It’s going to get better.' The script never really locks. I always assume the actors will come up with something better than what I’ve been polishing, so I have to leave space for that."
Sounds like a pretty loose working method, but Apatow always knows the general direction of the story he wants to take and knows well enough to hamstring the incredible talent he'll be working with, but forcing them to stick to whatever script he pulls together.
But his upcoming film isn't the only thing Apatow has been questioned about, as he also fielded questions about the Pee-Wee Herman movie he's producing and earlier this winter, was hinted by Paul Reubens to be considering directing.
Asked for details about the film, Apatow told Screen Junkies it won't be a direct sequel to the previous two films and will instead stand on its own but that for now, the shape of the story is still coming together. "It’s a little early in the process to know. He only made two movies so there’s a lot of open ground for Pee-Wee. It is many years later so there are different stories to tell.....It’s more like 'The Simpsons' where in every episode he grew up in a different decade." Apatow adds, "....it exists in its own world but it’s very imaginative. I think that’s one of the best characters of all time for me. It’s like W.C. Fields."
For now, it seems that Apatow's focus is strictly on his next film which starts lensing this summer and is already slotted for a prime June 1, 2012 release date, with more casting news expected to arrive soon.