Judd Apatow with wife Leslie Mann at the Berlin premiere of So This is 40, earlier this year.
Producer/director/screenwriter Judd Apatow makes sidesplitting, occasionally raunchy Hollywood movies: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Bridesmaids,
and more. He’ll receive the Visionary Filmmaker award during the San Diego Film Festival (October 2–6). He chats with San Diego Magazine about coming to Comic-Con, his favorite Anchorman one-liners, and which famous friends might show up with him.
How were you persuaded to appear at the San Diego Film Festival? Jeffrey Lyons asked me to do it. I’m a longtime admirer of his movie reviews. We’ll do a Q&A, and talk about my ridiculous work.
How often do you come down here from L.A.? I’ve been down for Comic-Con a few times. I’ve vacationed with the family at the Hotel del Coronado. And I performed at The Improv in San Diego when I started out as a comedian in the late 1980s.
Do you dress up as a superhero when you come for Comic-Con? I haven’t had to dress up. I feel bad for famous people I know who can’t wander around without wearing a mask. We’ve done movie panels at Comic-Con. I’m in heaven at a place like that. I was into the comic-book culture as a kid and didn’t have anybody to share it with.
Will your wife, Leslie Mann, who played the lovely puking drunk lady in The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, come to the festival with you? That’s a good question. It depends what the family is up to. Sometimes they get very interested in what I’m doing and sometimes they don’t care at all.
What do your daughters, Maude and Iris, who were in So This Is 40, Funny People, and Knocked Up, like about San Diego? There is a famous ghost who lives in the Hotel Del. That seems to be their primary focus.
Will you persuade film industry friends (hint: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd) to come to our film festival? It’s like every time Scorcese does a speech for De Niro, you know De Niro has to do a speech for Scorcese. You never know who will show up to these things. We’ll see who’s around.
Why was Anchorman set in San Diego? Will Ferrell and Adam McKay wrote that movie. They wanted a friendly city that wasn’t enormous like New York. An interesting, medium-sized market for Ron Burgundy to work in. And, of course, Simon & Simon was shot in San Diego, which is important.
In Anchorman, Will Ferrell’s title character explains that San Diego means “a whale’s vagina.” Who came up with that line? They do improvise quite a bit, but I think that joke was in Will and Adam’s original script.
What’s your favorite line or scene from Anchorman? I like when Will says, “Milk was a bad choice.” I’m also par- tial to: “I’m in a glass case of emotions.”
The sequel comes out in December. Does San Diego just get the one SeaWorld scene? I can’t give away any secrets.
If there’s an Anchorman 3, can you have Ron Burgundy come home to San Diego? We could make these movies when the characters are 50, 60, 70, or 80 years old. Anchor people hold on for a long time. I’d be surprised if this is the last time for Ron Burgundy and his crew.
Are you expecting a ceremonial key to the city from the mayor when you get here? I would not turn that down. I hope somebody’s fighting for that right now.
I hope you get the key, but we’ve had may- oral issues this summer. Maybe Anthony Weiner will be the mayor of San Diego.