16 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Knocked Up’ for Its 16th Anniversary

That birthing scene was, surprisingly, almost way worse
16 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Knocked Up’ for Its 16th Anniversary

Following his film debut success with a little movie called The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Judd Apatow decided to reunite with his Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared band of merry men and produce another debaucherous rom-com about a man who apparently can’t get laid until, you know, he does. Knocked Up introduced Seth Rogen as New Hollywood’s unorthodox leading man and grossed more than $215 million worldwide on a $30 million budget — a chunk of which presumably went into the weed budget

Here are some trivia tidbits about the movie featuring the Apatow family and a bunch of guys with terrible business ideas...

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The Origin Behind Martin Starr’s Beard

The idea behind Starr’s character growing a beard as a challenge in the movie came about during rehearsals. “We were talking about what we could do to make this group more interesting, and Adam Goldberg, one of the executive producers, said, ‘We used to do this thing called the Dirty Man Competition,’” Apatow has explained. “‘We’d have a bet with a guy to see how long he could go without shaving or showering or cutting his hair,’ and I thought, ‘Well, that could be funny.’” 

Apatow admitted that he was worried the “sea of beard jokes” would bomb and potentially tank the movie.

The Opening Scene Was Hell to Shoot

The movie opens with a sequence that sees Ben (Rogen) and his buddies fight each other (ridiculously), and according to the cast, it was filmed in the San Fernando Valley on the hottest day imaginable. “It was 120 degrees outside, and you would go inside, and me and Jay (Baruchel), and everyone would be like passed out with fans in front of them,” Jonah Hill told Collider. “Then me and Seth and Jason (Segel) had oxygen.”

Baruchel said everyone was mocking him because he’s used to Canadian weather and kept reminding the cast and crew to drink their water. 

The Cast Tripped on Brownies at a Cirque du Soleil Show in Vegas

In the movie, we see Ben and his brother-in-law Pete (Paul Rudd) trip balls on magic mushrooms while watching a Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. Much the same thing happened when the cast decided to go see a Beatles show performed by the circus troupe while they were in town, and they have all reportedly never been able to listen to the song “Blackbird” the same way again.

The ‘Munich’ Discussion Happened at the Movie’s First Table Read

Hill and Baruchel explained that the scene in which they have a spirited discussion about Munich happened off-script. “That was literally, like, we showed up for the first table read for Knocked Up,” Baruchel said, “and Seth and I were like, You know what movie I saw? I saw Munich. Oh, man, Munich’s wicked. It’s like a Jewish action movie, and basically, like, verbatim, what you see in the movie is the conversation we had — which is probably sadder that we actually believed all those things.”

They Shot a Fake Documentary

Apatow said during an interview that they shot a fake documentary during the making of the movie to make it look like it was a struggle to find the perfect actor to play Ben. “So during our shoot, we would have actors come and perform a scene, and then I would fire them,” he said. “And so we had James Franco do it, Justin Long, David Krumholtz, Allen Covert. I did it. There was a moment where I think I should be the lead as an actor/director. Orlando Bloom did it. It’s really funny. It’s this whole documentary about how hard it was to find Seth.”

Apatow also said that they filmed a fake-out of how he was apparently fighting with the studio so badly that they sent the director of Capote, Bennett Miller, over to keep an eye on production. “And so Bennett came to the set, and we would shoot all this footage of him changing my angles, and my coverage and debating me, and it’s very funny.”

Katherine Heigl Caught a Lot of Flak for Voicing Her Opinions About the Movie

Around a year after the movie was released, Heigl (who played Alison Scott) did an interview with Vanity Fair. In it, she discussed audiences’ criticism about the movie — specifically, the underlying sexism of portraying women as burdensome and dull while seemingly romanticizing male juvenility. “It was a little sexist,” she agreed. “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time, it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.” 

Her comments weren’t well received. Apatow said he expected an apology call from Heigl that never came (she has apologized numerous times since), and Rogen painted her as the person who says “batshit crazy things” like that. Heigl wasn’t the only one who called out the movie, though. Even Mike White, Apatow’s former collaborator, said that Knocked Up felt more like the “comedy of the bullies, rather than the bullied.”

The ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Deleted Scene

There’s a hysterical deleted scene from the movie that sees Jonah Hill going off about the fact that Brokeback Mountain — that’s supposedly the “gay rights movie of the year” — features no gay sex. “I don’t want the veil over my fucking eyes anymore… I want to see Jake Gyllenhaal on all fours getting a salad toss by Heath Ledger,” he laments during his two-minute plus rant.

Apatow Basically Hired All of Rogen’s Roommates

While many of the guys had worked with Apatow previously, the director explained to Wired, “I think Seth has lived with almost every person that plays his friends in the movie. I just thought, ‘He has his joke styles with everybody, so if I hire his real friends and they rehearse and improvise, it will sound exactly like what it does when Seth is hanging out with his buddies,’ except maybe funnier because I only pick the funny stuff.” This also explains why all of them share their names with their characters.

Many of the Scenes Were Based on Apatow and Leslie Mann’s Relationship

While writing the rom-com, the couple spent a lot of time going through their own personal experiences together. Mann, for instance, convinced Apatow to write about how uncomfortable he was having sex with her during her pregnancy. Another was the subplot in which Debbie finds out Pete has been lying to her about where he goes at night. “There were times where Judd was here but not present,” Mann said during an interview with The New York Times. “I told him you have to be really in our lives, not just physically here.”

Anne Hathaway Was Initially Up for the Lead Role

The actress was offered the role of Alison but turned it down, all because of that, uh, unforgettable birthing scene. “My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn’t know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth,” she told Allure.

Ryan Seacrest Wasn’t Going to Be in the Movie

Apatow and his crew happened to visit the E! News set to do some research on the day that Seacrest got visibly annoyed at someone who was late for a shoot. They found it comical, worked it into the script and convinced Seacrest to do it.

Not One But Two Writers Claimed Copyright Infringement

Canadian journalist and author Rebecca Eckler pursued legal action against Apatow and Universal Studios, claiming their 2007 movie was based on her 2004 novel, Knocked Up: Confessions of a Modern Mother-to-Be. The book follows the story of Eckler, who unexpectedly gets impregnated by her fiancé on the night of their engagement party. “A lot of people, I’m sure, will say, ‘Well, getting drunk and knocked up, it could happen to everybody,’” Eckler told Reuters. “Well, the fact is, it doesn’t happen to everybody, and no one had written about it before I did. And he (Apatow) didn’t sell the screenplay until after I did.”

Another Canadian author, Patricia Pearson, claimed in turn that both Eckler’s book and Apatow’s movie were incredibly similar to her own novel, Playing House — a story about a journalist getting knocked up by a pot smoker. Pearson, however, chalked it up to pure coincidence and mocked Eckler for thinking a lawsuit was warranted. 

So, About That Birthing Scene…

Apatow wanted to film the real thing and was looking for a woman in labor who’d be willing to let the magical moment be filmed for a movie where a group of men gets pink eye. According to him, he found someone willing to do all that, but luckily for said woman’s kid, the State Labor Board of California objected, saying the baby would need a worker’s permit and that it could only be issued to the infant once they were born. They ended up using prosthetics to create the crowning shot.

’Knocked Up’ Led to ‘Bridesmaids’

Kristen Wiig first met and worked with Apatow in Knocked Up, where she played an awful yet hilarious middle manager who drips with passive aggressiveness. Wiig said that, following the movie, Apatow told her that she should write her own movie and that he would produce it. This is how we eventually got a female-centric Apatow film — and a brilliant one at that.

It Was a Whole Thing Getting Baruchel on That Roller Coaster

As part of the opening sequence, there’s a bit where the guys are riding a roller coaster. According to Baruchel, Apatow made a deal with him that he wouldn’t have to do it since he’s terrified of those death traps. But Apatow and the rest of the cast didn’t give a damn and decided to trick him into doing the scene as both part of the “Making Of “extras on the movie’s DVD and, ultimately, the movie.

The ‘Knocked Up’ Baby Turned Seventeen This Year

Yeah, that’s right. Around a month ago, Apatow posted a throwback picture of the cast on Instagram, pointing out that the baby is now three years away from turning 20. Good stuff. Pass the bong.


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