"Proud" is a word that the King of Staten Island cast uses a lot when discussing their new film.
In the lead-up to Friday's VOD release, director Judd Apatow moderated a special Zoom edition of EW's Around the Table with his stars, Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bel Powley, Steve Buscemi, and Maude Apatow, who was just down the hall from her father. Throughout the conversation, there was a clear theme in relation to how they all felt about the very personal film, which takes aspects from Davidson's life, including the death of his firefighter father.
“It’s an odd time to do it, but I’m proud of it," Davidson says of Staten Island's non-traditional release. "It’s nice to put something positive into the world, and also it will be another thing that you can watch. I don’t know about you guys but I ran out of stuff, so I’m pretty thrilled.”
Powley, who is a close friend of Davidson and plays his character's girlfriend, said, "I'm very proud of Pete for making this movie," while Buscemi, a former firefighter, also spoke of how "proud" he was of it. "I'm just so honored to be a part of it," shared the veteran actor. "And then to have scenes with Pete where I’m talking to you about your dad and knowing your real story was just so special and meaningful. It was just a privilege.”
Directed by Apatow and co-written by him, Davidson, and Dave Sirus, the film stars the Saturday Night Live breakout as Scott, a burnout still living at home and investing all his time into watching cartoons and smoking weed with his friends. Scott has never quite been able to cope with the loss of his firefighter father as a child, and those issues bubble to the surface in new ways when his mom (Tomei) starts dating another member of the FDNY, Ray (Bill Burr).
Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures
“I gave Pete an idea for a movie that it took us two years to figure out that I gave him the wrong idea," revealed Apatow, who first caught notice of Davidson when Amy Schumer recommended him for a small role in Trainwreck. "It was a sillier movie. And then one day we were talking about how he wanted his mom to be happy and have a relationship and wanted to write about that. And I think I said, ‘What would happen if she dated a firefighter?’ That seemed like that would be a challenge to you, personally. And I don’t know if I thought at the time that you would think, ‘Let’s move in that direction,’ and I was surprised that you were very interested in exploring that in a deep way.”
Added Davidson: “Originally, Dave and I wrote like 90 pages of fart jokes and you were like, 'This is good.' [Laughs] And then we gave it to Judd and Judd spun it into this amazing 127 pages of emotion and feeling and made it into a real movie.” Not arguing, Apatow responds, “I kept eight of those fart jokes."
The King of Staten Island is now available on VOD. Above, watch the cast's full discussion about accents, sex scenes, and more.