Judd Apatow's Universe: Freaks, Geeks and Everyone in Between - Rolling Stone
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Judd Apatow’s Universe: Freaks, Geeks and Everyone in Between

The filmmaker’s inner circle of comic actors, from ‘Freaks and Geeks’ to ‘This Is 40’

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Glen Wilson

Jonah Hill first entered the Apatow Universe with a cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin before becoming a star in his own right, appearing in Apatow's Knocked Up, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before headlining Superbad with Michael Cera. Hill also had a role in the Apatow-directed Funny People and went head-to-head with Russell Brand in Get Him to the Greek. Outside of the Apatow Universe, he was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his supporting role in 2011’s Moneyball.

Leslie Mann

Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures

Leslie Mann

Apatow and Leslie Mann first met while working together on the 1996 film The Cable Guy. They married in 1997, and Mann has appeared in every movie he’s directed since, plus Drillbit Taylor and Freaks and Geeks. Their daughters, Iris and Maude, have appeared in Knocked Up, Funny People and This Is 40 as the offspring of Mann's respective characters.

Melissa McCarthy

Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures

Melissa McCarthy

Although a star on Mike & Molly at the time, Melissa McCarthy became a household name after practically stealing the spotlight from Kristen Wiig in the Apatow-produced Bridesmaids. She even nabbed a Best Supporting Actress nod at the Oscars. With a role in This Is 40, she may just become one of the major players in the Apatow Universe.

will ferrell anchorman

Frank Masi/Dreamworks

Will Ferrell

Apatow and Will Ferrell first teamed up on Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and the straight-to-DVD Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. (So far the only two movies Apatow himself has appeared in.) Ferrell then starred in Kicking & Screaming, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers. They have partnered together on comedy video website Funny or Die and the related HBO series Funny or Die Presents, and they are re-teaming for an Anchorman sequel.

lena dunham

Jojo Whilden

Lena Dunham

The controversial hit HBO series Girls, starring Lena Dunham, is executive produced by Apatow, who has also written for the show. It’s been nominated for numerous awards, winning a Primetime Emmy. Dunham’s first foray into an Apatow film comes with This Is 40, in which she plays one of Paul Rudd’s character’s employees.

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