This was emailed to me by a Judd Apatow insider who’s also a prominent filmmaker (he asked to “stay in the shadows”) in response to my box office report that Universal execs had “begged” Apatow to shorten Funny People:
“Despite what anyone at Universal is saying now — trying to cover their asses — I can 100% assure you: Universal execs never begged or pleaded with Judd to shorten his movie. Not one of them would have had the balls to. They never would have done anything to piss Judd off. There was a mini feud on “40 Year Old Virgin” between Judd and [ex-Uni exec] Mary Parent, and everyone learned never to side against or ever really question Judd after that. Trust me. Besides, all questions of length were precluded by two words, “Knocked Up”. It was almost as long and it was an out and out comedy. No one would have been brave enough to challenge Judd on this, even in a joking matter. Trust me, Nikki…
Better or worse it was Judd’s show and he delivered to them the movie he wanted and they smiled and said “Thank you.” Privately they may have worried, but they never, never, never asked Judd to shorten it.
“PS… Judd did shorten it. I saw a three hour, forty five minute version of “Funny People” and Judd’s goal was to get it to “Knocked Up” length. And that’s where he got it, too. And the studio was happy with that length. And the idea that someone would directly tell Judd that the part with his wife had to be particularly shortened is ridiculous. Ask that person to give you details on that conversation. I would love to hear how that went. It didn’t happen.”