THR’s Writers Roundtable or That Time I Learned To Take Judd Apatow Seriously



It wasn’t exactly a shocker that Ben Affleck would included in THR’s Directors Roundtable (ARGO was superb), but I definitely rubbed my eyes in disbelief at seeing Judd “40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN” Apatow sitting alongside award-winning scribes Mark Boal (ZERO DARK THIRTY) and Michael Haneke (AMOUR). I’ll watch KNOCKED UP when it’s on TV, but after FUNNY PEOPLE. I kinda felt “meh” about the guy himself. Apatow held his own, though. As the only comedy writer on the couch, I was expecting him to interject on every question ala Tarantino, but that wasn’t the case. Another reason why I love watching these interviews every year. Forget the frat-boy Apatow persona you think you know and meet Judd, a man brave enough to cast a movie with his wife and daughters in story pretty much taken directly from his own life.

My favorite moments from the roundtable:

David Magee (LIFE OF PI) on looking to other work for inspiration: “…always looking for analogies to the story you’re trying to tell…a vague template for where to begin…”

John Krasinski (PROMISED LAND) on writing his first script: “Writers talk about getting in “headspace”…felt more of getting in “heartspace” where you’re feeling like how is this exactly going to impact your audience?

Judd Apatow (THIS IS FORTY) on finding inspiration when writing: “I watch things that give me the courage to not follow conventional structure.”

Michael Haneke (AMOUR) on tackling hard subjects: “But what’s the alternative. Not to speak about it? I don’t think so.”

Haneke on writing process: “I try and see as little as possible about it (the script) because that would distract me from myself.”

And most poignant exchange of the entire interview:

Moderator: “Is it okay for entertainment to make people feel terrible?” Haneke: “I think truth is always okay.”

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