Judd Apatow’s films have been called sexist by some critics, but Girls collaborator Lena Dunham thinks those accusations ring false.
“It’s insane,” she said during a joint interview with Apatow for the New York Times. “You want to talk about sexism. Really? You want to talk about Woody Allen like he writes the greatest female parts of all time and then go after Judd Apatow? Enjoy yourself.”
“I always thought that came from people who didn’t watch the movies,” Apatow added. “There were a few ‘think pieces’ from people who didn’t get the joke. To me, it was pretty obvious.”
Katherine Heigl, who starred in Apatow’s Knocked Up, previously called that 2007 comedy “a little sexist” in a 2008 interview, where she said the movie “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” She later backtracked on those comments in a 2016 interview with Howard Stern, explaining that she was actually upset with the way she chose to portray the character.
“Judd allows everyone to be very free and improvise, and afterwards, I was like, why is that where I went with this?” she said. “What an a–hole she is!”
Apatow’s films tend to focus on grown men who are stunted in some way — The 40-Year-Old Virgin centers on a, well, 40-year-old virgin trying to have sex for the first time; Knocked Up follows Seth Rogen’s Ben, a stoner who’s forced to make some changes when a hookup results in a pregnancy.
“There’s always a reveal in those movies,” Apatow told the Times. “They’re smarter than you think, and they’re kind. They just don’t know what to do with it yet.”
Read the full story here. The sixth and final season of Girls — created by and starring Dunham and executive-produced by Apatow — premieres on HBO Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.