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INTERVIEW: Judd Apatow Breaks Down ‘The Bubble’ And His Brand of Comedy

Karen Gillan screaming with a dinosaur

I’ve been looking forward to The Bubble because not only do I know I’m going to love anything that throws Karen Gillan and Pedro Pascal into a dinosaur movie with David Duchovny, Guz Khan, and Keegan-Michael Key, but I also love the stories that Judd Apatow tells.

The movie, which premiered on Netflix on April 1, takes us on the journey of a film crew and cast joining a “bubble” in order to finish a franchise that has been six movies in the making. The problem is getting a group of actors to live in a bubble for an extended amount of time. It’s filled with chaos, laughter, and some of the most iconic looks into filmmaking and how we functioned in the midst of the pandemic.

So getting to talk to Apatow about his work and the movie as a whole was a great time!

Bringing The Bubble to life

Many of us know that the movie was inspired by the production of Jurassic World: Dominion and so I asked what else influenced Apatow when writing the film.

“Part of it was just that I was trying to think of a really safe movie to shoot,” Apatow said. “So I thought, oh, a lot of actors stuck in a hotel having a nervous breakdown. That’s almost like a Christopher Guest movie. That’s contained. Like if you see Best In Show or something. You know, it’s very contained. And then my first thought was, oh, and then whenever you see the dinosaur movie, they’re on a green screen stage and maybe you never even see the dinosaurs or maybe they look like pencil drawings, it could be cheap. Then slowly I thought, what if it looked exactly like a dinosaur movie and it got a little bit more complicated. And then I heard about a lot of shows where they were dealing with problems with people stuck in the bubble, losing their minds, trying to escape.”

There is a scene in This Is 40 where Maude Apatow’s character Sadie is sobbing over the show Lost that felt like such a specific journey for fans of Lost—as well as a relatable feeling for fans of anything at all—that I had to ask Apatow about it. He spoke about how the specificity of a subject can evoke even a more universal feeling.

“I think that the more specific it is, somehow the more universal it gets,” he said. “So the more truth and deep the work is, if the characters are very specific and three-dimensional, then people will say, oh, I do exactly that.”

You can see our full interview here:

The Bubble is on Netflix now and while it might not be the kind of comedy everyone wants to dive into right now, it was exactly the kind of COVID-inspired work that I’ll gladly watch and I think Apatow and comedy hit it out of the park. You can also get Apatow’s new book Sicker in the Head: More Conversations About Life and Comedy now!

(image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.