Judd Apatow is adding a new lost, burnout protagonist to his film canon: Pete Davidson. The Saturday Night Live comedian takes the lead in Apatow's forthcoming feature The King of Staten Island, which is loosely based on Davidson's own life.
The King of Staten Island finds Davidson's on-screen persona dramatizing many of his real life battles; struggling with the grief of losing his firefighter father in 9/11, smoking tons of weed as a coping mechanism, getting called insane, pursing standup comedy, and generally being beat down by life. The film's trailer finds Davidson being confronted with reality when his mother starts dating for the first time since his father's death — and it's another active fireman.
Co-written by Apatow, Davidson, and former SNL writer Dave Sirus, The King of Staten Island also stars Hollywood veterans Marisa Tomei as Davidson's mother and Steve Buscemi as a local firefighter who takes Davidson under his wing.
The King of Staten Island is clearly a personal project for Davidson, and according to Apatow, also serves as a tribute to heroes."This was [Davidson's] way of talking about heroes and how important they are — and we see that every day now," said Apatow in conversation with Entertainment Weekly. "Nurses, doctors, people working in grocery stores, policemen, first responders, fireman, delivery people, anybody putting themselves at risk for others and helping keep the world running. And this movie is partially about these people who we all look up to."
The King of Staten Island was slated for a SXSW premiere and a June theatrical release, both of which were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the film is taking the on-demand route, and will be available on June 12.