Of all the relationships that Judd Apatow has forged in his career, one of the most enduring personally and professionally has been with Ben Stiller. He was a writer on “The Ben Stiller Show,” and as both their stars began to rise, they found space to work together time and again, with Stiller memorably popping up in everything from “Freaks & Geeks” to “Anchorman,” while Apatow produced “The Cable Guy,” which starred and was directed by the comic actor. But perhaps their most interesting time together was on something that never came to pass.
Currently doing the rounds for “This Is 40,” Apatow stopped by for a chat with Pitchfork where he revealed that he and Stiller wrote a movie for one of the biggest bands on the planet nearly a decade ago. That’s right, we’re talking about The Rolling Stones, and it seems it would’ve been a hybrid of narrative and live footage. “Many years ago, Ben Stiller and I wrote a movie for the Rolling Stones — this was back in 1993 or so. They wanted to do a concert film where there was a storyline going on in between the songs, so Ben and I wrote a script,” Apatow explained. “We had to pitch the movie to all of the Rolling Stones, so they could decide whether they wanted to do it or not. Can you imagine something more terrifying than looking Keith Richards in the eye and pitching a movie that goofed on his band? [laughs].”
One can only imagine that getting four guys who can barely agree on most things to approve an idea for movie would be a Herculean task, yet Apatow says he and Stiller managed to do just that, only to have their plans scuttled anyway. “But they approved the idea. [The film was eventually shelved by Universal Pictures],” he says.
But for a brief moment, the pair were at least allowed a surreal moment into the world of the Stones. “At the time, they were rehearsing for their Voodoo Lounge tour in a high school gym in Toronto, and they told us we could watch. So Ben and I got to watch them rehearse for several hours,” Apatow shared. “We were the only people there, and we were literally eight feet from them. The best moment of my life as a rock fan was when Mick Jagger walked over to Ben and I and said, ‘You guys OK? Can I get you a glass of water?’ I turned around and said, ‘Never forget this moment — this will never happen again.’ ” Awesome.
“This Is 40” opens on December 21st, and the Apatow-edited issue of Vanity Fair is on shelves now.