It’s ba-aack: Girls, the HBO dramedy created by Lena Dunham—and starring at least one angry guy—returns on Sunday, and kicked off its third season with a swanky premiere co-hosted by the Cinema Society at Lincoln Center. Screening the first two episodes (and the seventh!) of the new season for the likes of Bill Hader, Judd Apatow, Questlove, and Amy Schumer, as well as the cast. Spoiler alert: the show’s still funny.
Is the reigning king of comedy jumping from the silver screen to…Broadway? Amy Wallace sits down with Judd Apatow and hears all about his (surprisingly mature) plans for the future.
Now, as the cameras roll, Fox and Mann chitchat with the hockey studs while Apatow calls out funny lines for them to say, many of which are being scribbled on Post-it notes by a circle of women who sit around him in director’s chairs: Annie Mumolo, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, Paula Pell of Saturday Night Live, and Jenni Konner, who co-produces Girls. When it is discovered that one of the players has fake front teeth (and can remove them), Apatow yells out, “Do you miss your teeth?”—and Fox spits the line right back.
Though Rudd and Mann are reprising the roles, Pete and Debbie, that they played in Knocked Up, This Is 40 isn’t a sequel exactly. It’s more like a spin-off—”like Rhoda off of Mary Tyler Moore,” Apatow says—in that it drops back in on the lives of two characters who played supporting roles in the first film. Ask Apatow why he has returned to familiar territory, and he says, “I want to do the sequel of all of the movies I’ve made. Why wouldn’t you do ten Superbads? Forget another one. I’d follow those guys every year for the rest of their lives.”
GQ: I read that you and Lena first talked after you sent her an email about Tiny Furniture, the 2010 movie she wrote, directed and starred in. Do you remember what you wrote to her?
Judd Apatow: That’s a very good question. I don’t remember what I said. [To Lena, who is in the room with him.] Lena, what did I say in my e-mail?
Lena Dunham: The title of the e-mail was “From Judd Apatow.” I thought it was my friend Isabel pranking me. He said, “I saw your movie. I cried, which is not rare for me. But I laughed out loud, which is rare.” Then he said a few things he liked that were really nice. Then he said, “If you ever want someone to give you a lot of money and screw everything up, we should talk.”
GQ: That’s awesome. I love that you have it committed to memory.
Lena Dunham: Oh my God. I have an e-mail called Very Important Work E-mails. All that’s in there is Judd’s and another email where somebody wrote something really mean to me. Okay, I’m gonna give you back to Judd.
Judd Apatow: I don’t remember being so witty.