Pete Davidson hopes to 'put something positive into the world' with King of Staten Island
"To be completely honest, doing this roundtable is the most nerve-racking thing that I've ever had to do," the SNL star says with a laugh.
"To be completely honest, doing this roundtable is the most nerve-racking thing that I've ever had to do," Davidson admits, laughing. "So the movie is going to be a piece of cake."
The roundtable is the latest installment of EW's Around the Table, with Davidson reuniting over Zoom with his Staten Island director, Judd Apatow, and costars Marisa Tomei, Maude Apatow, Bel Powley, and Steve Buscemi.
Co-written by Davidson, Apatow, and Dave Sirus, the film stars the Saturday Night Live breakout as Scott, a twentysomething burnout still living at home. 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 Ray (Bill Burr), who also happens to be a member of the FDNY. The story is inspired by the life of Davidson, whose own father, Scott Davidson, was a firefighter and died on 9/11.
The origins of the project go back to Apatow casting a pre-SNL Davidson in a small role for Trainwreck at the recommendation of Amy Schumer. "I gave Pete an idea for a movie that it took us two years to figure out that I gave him the wrong idea," Apatow says. "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."
Adds 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 spinned it into this amazing 127 pages of emotion and feeling and made it into a real movie."
"I kept eight of those fart jokes," Apatow says, to which Davidson joyfully responds, "Yes, you did! Thank you very much."
Something else they did is release their movie on schedule. While most high-profile summer films have been postponed, Universal and Apatow decided that King of Staten Island would stick with its original launch date of June 12 and be rolled out via video on demand instead of waiting for theaters to reopen.
"It's an odd time for anything, but I'm really proud of it, and I think it's nice to put something positive into the world," Davidson says. "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 thrilled."
Speaking of watching, Apatow says that before his films come out, he often likes to think about prospective viewers. "Who would it be weird if they see it?" he asks, with the first name to pop into his head being former MLB star and current Jennifer Lopez fiancé Alex Rodriguez, making Apatow "wonder if A-Rod will see it."
For his part, Davidson knows they hit a home run: "A-Rod is going to love it."
The King of Staten Island is now available on VOD. Watch the full roundtable above.
King of Staten Island