Judd Apatow on Chasing Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend

Writer-director-producer talks living out rock star fantasies

Judd Apatow
Michael Kovac/WireImage
Judd Apatow
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Judd Apatow may be one of the biggest and funniest producers in Hollywood, but the man behind Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and so many more hits is no different than many in that he still is harboring his rock star dreams.

"The best part of making movies for me is it gives me an excuse to talk to Fiona Apple or Lindsey Buckingham, or Norah Jones," he told Rolling Stone. "It's really, really the biggest treat for me."

Taking advantage of that access, Apatow worked with Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Vedder, Jack White and more in the criminally underrated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. And his most recent film, This Is 40, had a crucial role for Graham Parker.

Photos: Judd Apatow's Universe: Freaks, Geeks and Everyone in Between

We caught up with Apatow over Grammy weekend, where he attended the all-star MusiCares tribute to Bruce Springsteen. Has Apatow ever sought out a collaboration with him? "I feel like I did once and failed, but I'll take another run at him," Apatow said. "He did it for The Wrestler, he should do it for me."

Springsteen also won an Academy Award for "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film Philadelphia, but he went one further for High Fidelity, for which Springsteen filmed a cameo. Reminded of that, Apatow gets excited. "He was hilarious on Jimmy Fallon wearing the Seventies outfit," he said. "I'm coming for him."

But there's another musician at the top of Apatow's wish list. "I'd love to do something with Pete Townshend in a movie," he said. 

At a Billboard/Hollywood Reporter panel last October, Apatow spoke about the tremendous influence music has on his writing. Right now he's seeking some new songs to motivate him. "I'm not working on anything right now. I need to find the right album that will inspire me to write something," he said.

Sadly, the artist who made one of Apatow's favorite records won't be releasing new music. "The album that's inspired me more than any album was Warren Zevon's The Wind. I always go back to that album," he said. "We had a lot of his music in Funny People and I can always go back to that. It rocks and it makes me cry. I think it's one of the great records of all time, actually."

Apatow did get to work with the great tunesmith before Zevon succumbed to cancer in 2003: "Zevon was on The Larry Sanders Show and sang 'The French Inhaler,' and it was one of the great moments – forcing him to play our favorite song."