ORIGINS: “Leslie (Mann) and I always feel like we are spinning way too many plates,” Apatow says. “Several times a day one of us says, ‘How do people do it?’ So I got the idea to do a midlife meltdown movie where everything comes apart for a moment and forces them to confront their hidden issues. One evening it occurred to me that this was Pete and Debbie’s story, and that it might be fascinating to catch up with their family and see how they are managing. It also seemed fun to track the childhoods of Charlotte and Sadie and present a family in a film who are actually three-fourths of a real family.”

FUNDING: “I have a directing deal with Universal, so we knew we were going to make the movie very early on.”

HIGH HURDLES: “I shoot a lot of footage, the equivalent of 2 million feet of film, so I use three full-time editors to go through all of it. Over the course of six previews, we found the version of the film we have today. Having many options in the editing room allows me to punch up scenes comedically, or adjust then dramatically depending on the issue. I never want to see a scene not work in a preview and not have the footage to fix it.”

DOMINO EFFECT: “We knew the core of the cast was Paul, Leslie and my children, Maude and Iris. I wrote the part of Pete’s dad for Albert Brooks. Usually I work with young people because I am terrified of using my heroes. I would never want to put them in a bad movie. However, this time I threw caution to the wind, and Albert Brooks read the script and agreed to come on board.”

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