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Interview: Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann of 'This Is 40'

On medical calamities, comedic conflict, Stockholm syndrome and age-inappropriate clothing.

By James Rocchi Dec 20, 2012 11:57AM

In "This is 40," Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann play Pete and Debbie, parents and husband and wife, dealing with the pressures of life and the challenge of love. Directed by Judd Apatow, it's an intimate affair -- Mann is, of course, Apatow's wife, while their children Iris and Maude play Pete and Debbie's children. We spoke with Rudd and Mann in Los Angeles about getting close to the real, moving past the warranty date on the human body and age-inappropriate clothing ... 


MSN Movies: When you hit 40 there's always that one illness or medical calamity as you get near that age, which is like the sign from God that the warranty's up, that the mileage does matter. Did that happen for you or are you just waiting on it?


Paul Rudd: That's so good. You know, when I turned 40 I thought, "Is this ... When do I need to get my colon checked?"


Leslie Mann: And isn't it 50?


Rudd: I found out it's 50. That's when you get your colon…


Unless you have a family history…


Mann: Right.


Rudd: Unless you have a family history…


…and then it's every 20 minutes.


Mann: (Laughs)

BING: Colon cancer l 'This is 40' 


No, so awkward.


Rudd: That's right. I'm on the every 20 minutes schedule. Yeah, so that's like, just to have to worry about it. That kind of thing.


Right, because when you're 20 you're running around, drinking heavily, acting foolishly, and you never think, "Tiny cells could be dividing all wrong and my colon could kill me."


Mann: Right, right.


You don't have that awareness of your mortality.


Rudd: It's a real drag. You realize when you hit this age, and for the first time those conversations are happening, that you look back and say, "Geez, I really took it for granted."


Mann: Uh huh.


Rudd: "... When I was 26, that I never every 20 minutes had to check my colon."


We're going to move on from talking about this or we should just call the interview "Deep Inside Paul Rudd."


Rudd: (Laughs)


But I'm curious though Miss Mann, when you and Mr. Apatow are at home, you're married, you have lively interaction, some might even call them fights, which all couples have -- does it ever get to a point where one of you stops and goes, "We can't write any of this down. This is just not material," or even during your worst arguments do you go, "Hey, that could be a scene"?


Mann: I think ... anything goes.




Mann: And I think we don't usually take it as far as Pete and Debbie do, but we fantasize about taking it as far as Pete and Debbie do. And I think that sometimes we have arguments through these characters, and the things that I would say maybe that I can't say to Judd Debbie can say to Pete. So we'll kind of have these arguments through these characters when we're talking about writing a movie.


Which is ...  intriguing.


Rudd: A 40 million dollar exercise in therapy.


Mann: (Laughs)


Right, which is actually how much actual couple's therapy winds up costing.


Rudd: If you get a good one.


Mr. Rudd, you're playing Ms. Mann's husband, you're surrounded by Mr. Apatow's children -- what's the line between acting and just Stockholm syndrome where you have sympathy for your captors?


Rudd: (Laughs)


Is Pete a character or is it just a function of you chatting with Mr. Apatow about what Pete's like?


Rudd: There's  ....I wonder, on a Venn diagram, where me and Judd and this character overlap, and I do think that little brown section in the middle is where this guy kind of lives. While it's all fictional, there are aspects to all of us…


This combined figure of "Rudd Apatow."


Mann: (Laughs)


Rudd: Yes, yes. Judd-Rudd.


What is the least age-appropriate piece of clothing that you'll wear? Like I'll wear shorts and an Elvis Costello T-shirt and just look like I fell out of the time machine.


Rudd: There you are. I'm the exact same way.


Mann: That's what Judd dresses like every single day.


Wow. There it is.


Rudd: I have a couple of Elvis Costello shirts and shorts, and, like, flip flops.


Mann: Mhm. But you always look cute. Judd dresses like a 14-year-old boy.


With a ridiculously full beard.


Mann: (Laughs) Yes. With a ridiculously full beard.


He looks like a hirsute 14-Year-Old.


Mann: (Laughs) Yes!


Which is also the name of my boy's clothing shop.


Rudd: Where are you located?


For more on "This is 40," watch our video interview with Mann, Rudd and Apatow:

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