December 14th, 2012
11:52 AM ET
Judd Apatow's new movie "This is 40" isn't for the under-17 crowd, so how does he deal with his two daughters, 10-year-old Iris and 14-year-old Maude, being part of the cast?
His way around this parenting minefield, Apatow told CNN, is open communication.
“It’s tricky, because kids see everything. This idea that we’re shielding kids with an R rating is just the funniest lie," Apatow told CNN. "They watch everything on YouTube. As soon as you leave the room they’re watching every show they shouldn’t on television. It becomes more about talking about it with them and having a relationship where they’ll ask you questions. Or maybe even listening to you if you tell them not to watch it. But, they can watch it anyway."
Yet there are times when he'll draw a line. "Sometimes, I’ll say, 'Maybe you don’t need to see the "Chucky" movies. Wait until you’re older. That’s a nightmare machine for you.’ And if you have that relationship, they’ll censor themselves," he continued. "You know our movies are adult-themed, but they’re smart kids and I cover their eyes during the two or three bad parts, and they can handle it.”
The reason he casts his daughters to begin with, he told the Hollywood Reporter in a recent issue, "is to get a level of detail that other people can't. People with existing relationships allow you an incredible opportunity to show truthful human behavior." So when his wife and leading lady Leslie Mann "kisses the kids, you feel the love."
In "This is 40," Mann reprises her sometimes combative character from 2007's "Knocked Up," Debbie, and Paul Rudd returns as her husband, Pete. In what's billed as a sort-of-sequel, the movie zooms in on their relationship as partners and as parents as the script explores the humor that can come with turning 40.
Apatow, 45, wrote the script in addition to directing and producing, and his focus on family in his creative sphere seems to come from a personal place. As he tells THR, his parents' divorce when he was 13 has greatly impacted his work.
“They’re both great people, but the divorce was the motivation for everything I’ve done. That was the fuel for my whole journey," Apatow told the magazine. "On one level, that was really hard. But on another level, I thank God because it made me work my a** off. It made me connect with people suffering.”
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