‘Borat 2’ Co-Star in New Netflix Comedy From Judd Apatow

These are heady days for Maria Bakalova, the Bulgarian actress who jumped from anonymity to a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy playing Sasha Baron Cohen’s underage daughter in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. The 24-year-old Bakalova is now set to co-star in Judd Apatow’s upcoming movie The Bubble for Netflix.

The comedy is about a group of actors and actresses stuck inside a pandemic bubble at a hotel attempting to complete a film. The ensemble cast includes Karen Gillan, Iris Apatow, Fred Armisen, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key,  Leslie Mann, Pedro Pascal and Peter Serafinowicz.

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Judd Apatow

Apatow, whose credits include Emmy-winning The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, movies The King of Staten Island, TrainwreckFunny People, This Is 40Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, will serve as director, co-writer and producer via his Apatow Productions.

Barry Mendel, Donald Sabourin and Pam Brady will serve as Executive Producer. Together, Apatow’s and Mendel’s producing credits include the Academy Award nominated films The Big Sick and Bridesmaids.

 

The King of Staten Island

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Comedy;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language and drug use throughout, sexual content and some violence/bloody images.
Stars Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi.

Even at an overlong two hours and 17 minutes, The King of Staten Island is a watchable enough comedy despite director Judd Apatow’s tendencies to overindulge in sentimentality. There are times the film seems almost like a character study, chronicling the story of a family continuing to cope with a tremendous loss a decade earlier, and turning into a personal and heartfelt tribute to firefighters.

The film is loosely based on the life of “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson, who also stars in the film as Scott, a listless 20-something struggling to make something of his life. Davidson’s father was a firefighter killed during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 (his character of Scott is named for his father). In the film, Scott’s father is a firefighter who died in the line of duty years earlier when he and his sister were kids. Now, Scott’s sister is heading to college, while Scott has become a pothead who dreams of being a tattoo artist.

Eventually, Scott’s mother (Marisa Tomei) begins dating Ray (Bill Burr), who also is a firefighter, which upsets Scott, who thinks it’s disrespectful to the memory of his father.But working through his issues with Ray turns out to be cathartic for Scott (just as the making of the film would be somewhat cathartic for Davidson, he relates in the extras).

The film also drifts a bit from reality in the form of a romantic subplot involving Scott’s relationship with Kelsey (Bel Powley) a girl he grew up with, whereas in real life Davidson has plastered the tabloids plowing through several hotties of Hollywood.

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The Blu-ray includes a commentary with Davidson and Apatow, recorded in quarantine, in which they tell a lot of stories about the making of the film, and comparing it to the inspirations from Davidson’s own life.

It’s also interesting to note that even as the film runs long for a comedy, it could have been a lot longer. The Blu-ray and digital extras include more than 15 minutes of deleted scenes, plus a couple of alternate endings, a five-minute montage of alternate takes, and a six-minute gag reel.

More behind-the-scenes material is offered through several short featurettes, including a tribute to Davidson’s father.

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The extras also include a trove of marketing materials, such as the trailer, and several video calls of Apatow and Davidson discussing how to release the film during the pandemic, including telling Burr there’s no premiere party, and promoting the movie on “The Tonight Show.”

‘King of Staten Island’ Available to Own Digitally Aug. 11, on Disc Aug. 25

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release The King of Staten Island through digital retailers Aug. 11, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 25.

Directed by Judd Apatow, the film is inspired by the life of comedian Pete Davidson, who also stars.

Scott (Davidson) has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was seven. He’s now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister (Maude Apatow) heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother (Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking weed, hanging with his buddies and secretly hooking up with his childhood friend Kelsey (Bel Powley). When his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter (Bill Burr), it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life.

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Originally slated for theatrical release, the film was instead released through video on demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The disc and digital sellthrough versions include more than two hours of bonus materials, including alternate endings, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a “Line-o-Rama” compilation, the film’s trailer, “Video Calls,” feature commentary with Apatow and Davidson, and several featurettes:

  • “The Kid From Staten Island” —Davidson and Apatow sit down for a discussion about the movie, their experiences working together, and what it meant to film a movie inspired by Davidson’s life.
  • “Judd Apatow’s Production Diaries” — Apatow speaks to camera, giving the daily “scoop” on set and discussing the scenes at hand.
  • “You’re Not My Dad: Working With Bill Burr” — Apatow discusses how Burr was perfect for the role of Ray Bishop, while Burr discusses his favorite moments acting alongside Davidson and the meaningful relationship that their characters form.
  • “Margie Knows Best: Working With Marisa Tomei” — Apatow describes the honor he had of working with Tomei, who plays Davidson’s fictional mom. Davidson, his real mother, and other cast and crew also describe their reactions to Tomei.
  • “Friends With Benefits: Working With Bel Powley” — Powley describes her friendship with Davidson, getting the role of Kelsey in the film, and what it was like navigating her character’s push and pull relationship with Scott.
  • “Sibling Rivalry: Working With Maude Apatow” — Maude Apatow discusses what it was like playing Claire, a character based on Davidson’s real sister. Also, Pete and Judd discuss the real elements of the brother/sister relationship that are reflected in the movie.
  • “Best Friends: Working With Ricky, Moises, & Lou” — Ricky Velez, Moises Arias and Lou Wilson discuss their characters, the chemistry of Scott’s best friend group, and what it was like working with each other on set.
  • “Papa: Working With Steve Buscemi” — Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, and filmmakers reveal why Steve Buscemi was the perfect man for the part of Papa, and discuss the integral role his character plays in the film.
  • “Friends of Firefighters Stand-Up Benefit” — Watch the benefit comedy show, featuring Bill Burr, Ricky Velez and Lynne Koplitz, that Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson hosted while making the movie. All proceeds went to the Friends of Firefighters organization.
  • “Scott Davidson Tribute” — Pete’s father, Scott, was a member of the FDNY and was tragically lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson and his family, plus former friends and co-workers of Scott, share stories in honor of the man they knew.
  • “Who Is Pete Davidson?” — Pete Davidson’s family, friends, and the filmmakers discuss their hopes of what will come from the release of The King of Staten Island, while Pete and Judd share why it was so important to Pete to make this film.
  • “The Firehouse” — Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson discuss what it was like shooting scenes in a real firehouse and the responsibility they felt to capture the environment authentically.
  • “Pete’s Casting Recs” — Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson discuss how Pete’s decision to cast a large group of his friends was beneficial to achieving the goal of the movie. Plus, Pete’s friends discuss their relationships with Pete and their experiences working on the film.
  • “Pete’s ‘Poppy’ (Grandpa)” — Judd Apatow shares his experiences directing Pete Davidson’s grandfather in his acting debut.

 

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Universal’s ‘The King of Staten Island’ Bowing on PVOD

Universal Pictures is sending another planned theatrical release straight to retail due to the ongoing coronavirus shutdown.

The King of Staten Island, a semi-autobiographical fictional movie about/starring “Saturday Night Live” cast member Peter Davidson from director Judd Apatow, is going to premium video-on-demand on June 12 — a week before the movie’s original theatrical release date.

Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr and Maude Apatow (the director’s oldest daughter and co-star with her mom, Leslie Mann, in TV commercials) co-star in the film.

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Davidson and Apatow joked about the release April 27 on social media.

“Dude, what is going on with our movie?” Davidson asked Apatow. “Am I still going to get an Oscar?”

Davidson, who has had his share of off-camera notoriety, lost his father — a firefighter — during the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

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“He really is a sweetheart guy,” Apatow said about the 26-year-old comic in a media interview. “He’s so creative and smart. He’s been through things that no one on earth should ever have to go through.”

The movie marks Universal’s second PVOD release following Trolls World Tour on April 10, which the studio claims set digital retail records.

Shout! Factory to Give ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’ the Steelbook Treatment

Shout! Factory has set a Nov. 12 home release date for a special steelbook Blu-ray disc edition of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,  a mockumentary from The Lonely Island about a pop phenomenon named Conner4Real (portrayed by Andy Samberg) who suddenly finds his popularity plummet.

The film was released theatrically in June 2016 by Universal Pictures but only generated about $9 million in domestic box office revenues, against a budget of $20 billion.

Fans who order the limited-edition steelbook of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping directly from thelonelyisland.com or shoutfactory.com will received a limited-edition lithograph, available while supplies last. The steelbook edition carries a suggested list price of $29.97.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment initially released the DVD and Blu-ray Disc in September 2016. On Aug. 27, UPHE is dropping the price of the regular Blu-ray to $9.99.

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The cast in the Judd Apatow-produced film also includes Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader and Joan Cusack.

After a two-year, sold-out, worldwide tour, Conner4Real is the biggest name in music. Then, his second album flops, and Conner faces a crisis of popularity, leaving fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when Conner4Real is no longer the dopest star of all.

The comedy from blockbuster producer  is loaded with cameos from the biggest names in comedy and music, including Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, DJ Khaleed, Nas, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ringo Starr, Simon Cowell, Questlove, Mariah Carey, and others.

HBO to Issue Judd Apatow’s ‘Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling’ on DVD, Digital Oct. 30

HBO Home Entertainment on Oct. 30 will release for home viewing Judd Apatow’s Emmy Award-winning documentary on the late comedy icon Garry Shandling.

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling will become available on both DVD and digital download.  Both formats will include multiple bonus features including extended interviews with Jim Carrey and spiritual leader Ram Dass, exclusive archival stand-up performances, a previously un-aired conversation with Jeff Goldblum, never-before-seen and extended conversations with Shandling and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as a tribute performance of “Dear Mind” by Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and Apatow, live from the Bonnaroo festival in 2016.

“I am so excited for this release because we found so much amazing footage and we finally have the opportunity with these DVD extras to show the world even more comedic treasures from Garry’s life and career,” said Apatow in a statement.

Shandling, a stand-up comedian, actor, director, writer, and producer, died in March 2016 at the age of 66. He was best known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Shandling began his career as a writer for such sitcoms as “Sanford and Son” and “Welcome Back, Kotter.” After a successful standup performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” he became a frequent guest host – and when Carson retired, Shandling was considered a leading contender to replace him.

In 1986, Shandling created “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” for Showtime, which ran on the network for four years. Next came “The Larry Sanders Show,” which began airing on HBO in 1992 and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 1998.

Apatow’s documentary has been hailed by critics. It spans the decades from Shandling’s early childhood in the 1950s in Arizona up to his death two years ago, through a collage of personal testimonials, archival footage and Shandling’s own handwritten words on life, loss, love, meditation and more, captured in an extensive library of personal notebooks.