Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reunite after first hooking up in Knocked-Up for a “sort of” sequel to that 2007 hit. In that film, which starred Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, Rudd and Mann played a couple with two kids (played by Mann and husband-director Judd Apatow’s real children) trying to navigate the waters of marriage.
In This Is 40, the pair return in the writer-director’s latest that is sure to please his ever-growing legion of fans. Although the film is not autobiographical in terms of how things are at the Apatow household, there were fantasy moments that Mann, for one, got to live out. Apatow further dishes the true life inspiration in a This Is 40 red band featurette.
“It’s what I would fantasize about saying to Judd. Debbie can say these things to Pete, but Leslie can’t really say these things to Judd,” Mann told Movie Fanatic and laughed. “It’s fun to have this character to live through.”
As seen in the This Is 40 trailer, the couple are dealing with the challenges of his fledgling record company, her boutique store bringing in a profit, raising two girls -- one of whom is a teenager -- and oh yeah, they're both turning forty!
When it comes to turning that magical (or is it cursed?) age, both stars have experienced it and have very different views. For Mann, it depends on what she is doing.
“I think every day is different. Some days, I feel fine, and other days I feel like crying all day. I have lunches with my girlfriends, who just turned 40, and some of those lunches, we’re crying and screaming about our husbands, saying we want to leave them and run away,” Mann said.
“And then, other lunches, we’re fine and love our husbands and are happy with our lives. So, I’m not sure. I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. I keep asking women who are a little bit older, ‘When is this going to pass?’ And they’re like, ‘It doesn’t pass. It just gets worse.’”
When Rudd thinks about age, he reverts back to something his father said. "I remember, as a kid, my dad always told me, ‘Getting older beats the alternative.’ Although, now my father actually is the alternative, so I don’t know what he would say,” Rudd said. “He’s completely dead.”
When it came time to name the most difficult scene in the notoriously improv happy set of an Apatow movie, it came from a veteran of one of the filmmaker’s producing efforts, Bridesmaids. “Melissa McCarthy was the hardest one to get through. That was impossible,” Mann said.
“Maybe one time, I’ll crack up, and then I can hold it together, from then on. But with her, it was hours. We could not keep a straight face. Finally, we just gave up. Judd was using more than one camera, so we could just laugh. And the crew was all laughing. It was ridiculous. She’s just the funniest person, ever.”
Rudd agreed. “I’ve seen people on tears before, but that was something otherworldly. People were leaving the room. Crew had to leave. It was impossible,” he said. Clearly, the man is a fan of the Mike and Molly star. “She just kept her composure through all of it!”
The actor, his wife, Apatow and Mann are friends and he reported that many dinners have passed between his last film with its killer Knocked Up quotes and This Is 40 that wound up in the script for the filmmaker’s latest. “We’ve spent years talking about all of this stuff,” Rudd said. “So there are aspects of the character that are very much a part of me.”
Mann, obviously, didn’t have any issues appearing with her own daughters… except for one scene.
“The only thing that made me feel uncomfortable in this movie is that scene where I’m laying in bed with Iris because it felt a little invasive. I don’t know why,” Mann said.
The actress admitted that everything else onscreen she does, she simply lets it fly. But that scene hit too close to home. “For some reason, it felt a little like it was crossing some boundary, just because everyone was sitting there watching me with my little girl, doing what I do with my little girl. I didn’t like that. But, anything else goes. I’m fine with anything else.”