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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Apatow knocks out serious laughs
Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogan in Knocked Up
Knocked Up has been a huge 'sleeper hit' in the US
Writer-director Judd Apatow has said he wants to spend his film career getting laughs from serious subjects after taking on pregnancy in new film Knocked Up.

Having already made The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Anchorman, Knocked Up is the latest comedy success for the team of actors and writers which centres on Apatow and actor Seth Rogan.

Apatow told BBC World Service's The Ticket programme that he wants to take on important subjects throughout his film career - but continue to have fun with them.

"Those are the issues that people care about, and as a result, you can hopefully be insightful but really funny," he said.

"The stakes are higher if you're 40 years old and never had sex. The stakes are higher if you're young and suddenly going to have a baby, and you don't know how to handle it.

"So if, suddenly, the stakes are higher, there's a chance you can be much funnier and you can dig a little deeper."

Abortion issue

Knocked Up centres on the relationship between Alison, a rising TV star played by Katherine Heigl, and Ben (Rogan), a young man mostly interested in cannabis and celebrity pornography.

Although they intend not to stay together after the one-night fling they have, things change when it transpires that Alison is pregnant.

Judd Apatow
The Cable Guy (1996) - Producer
Celtic Pride (1996) - Writer
Anchorman (2004) - Producer
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) - Writer and director
Fun With Dick And Jane (2005) - Writer
Talladega Nights (2006) - Producer
Knocked Up (2007) - Writer, director and producer
Superbad (2007) - Producer
The film was released in the US in June, has proved a success with both critics and audiences - having grossed nearly $150m (75m) in North America alone.

Its success has been attributed to its efforts to include jokes for both women and men, and to make both the central characters ones the audience could identify with.

Apatow said that he had set out to "tell a truthful story," and that to do so he hired Rogan and his friends, who had already appeared in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, to more or less play themselves.

Rogan said that his character is "just a guy who's in no real hurry to have responsibility in his life," and that he could "really relate to that mindset."

"But responsibility doesn't always have to be bad - I think that's what my character learns by the end," he added.


Apatow said that film had created a lot of discussion in the US over the issue of abortion, which is raised in the film through the central character's parents: while Alison's mother wants her daughter to have an abortion, Ben's father considers it a blessing.

Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Seth Rogan
Many actors from The 40-Year-Old Virgin return in Knocked Up
But the director said that he was more interested how the question had affected the relationships in the film.

"I think it was interesting that in some ways Alison wants to keep the baby as an act of rebellion against her mother, who seems very controlling, and is clearly divorced and unhappy," he said.

"It's a lot of information in a short scene, and I'm assuming people get it."

Meanwhile the latest project by the team, Superbad, has already gone on general release in the United States - and has again been a success, making $33m on its debut weekend and becoming the top earner to make its debut after 15 August, according to distributor Sony Pictures.

Rogan admitted that Superbad is "also sex-obsessed."

"It's not looking good for me hiding my issues at this point."

Superbad tops US box office chart
21 Aug 07 |  Entertainment


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