Monday night in New York City, The New York Times assembled comedic collaborators Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd for an onstage conversation at the Times Center to discuss their new film, “This Is 40.” Though the Times has had an impressive selection of interview subjects throughout 2012 including Marion Cotillard, Gus Van Sant & Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, they promised they had saved the best for last. For comedy nerds in the audience, this was definitely true. While each member of this creative family (or in Apatow and Mann’s case, actual family) have done work outside the group, they’re all probably best known for their work together: Apatow and Rudd (“Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy”), Apatow and Mann (“Funny People”) and the full trio (“The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”) have all made at least a pair of classics together, no matter which configuration you choose.
But the conversation, moderated by Times columnist (and documentary star) David Carr, didn’t dig too deep into career highlights, instead concentrating mostly on their new film, a “sort-of sequel” to “Knocked Up.” “This Is 40” focuses on Rudd and Mann’s characters a few years down the road, dealing with aging, keeping their marriage together and raising their children (played once again by real-life children Maude and Iris Apatow). The semi-autobiographical script by Apatow drew inspiration from both his own marriage and that of Rudd and his wife Julie, and it was these connections that interested Carr who steered much of the conversation into more personal waters.
At times the candid Q&A had the feeling of a marriage counseling session that just happened to have an audience of several hundred people (and of course, the entire internet). Highlights from the chat included Apatow revealing his favorite “Freaks & Geeks” character (Bill), the origins of “fat Rudd,” and how having difficult childhoods might have made them more creative people. You can watch the entire thing below. Read our review of the film here.