"The subject matter is more serious, but we're trying to make it just as funny ... It's kind of a demented 'Tuesdays With Morrie' -- that's how I look at it. [Laughs]" -- Judd Apatow

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills is Runyon Canyon, a haven of celebrity exercise fanatics and people desperate to get discovered while hiking with their dogs. And for a few particularly star-studded days last December, it was also a location for filming 'Funny People,' Judd Apatow's latest flick.

Starring Adam Sandler as a mega-famous comedian -- if you can imagine that -- named George Simmons, 'Funny People' takes an unusual path to the laughs, giving Simmons a terminal medical condition and, in turn, a new lease on life. Helping him in his rediscovery of life before fame is not-quite-as-famous-but-maybe-even-funnier Ira Wright, played by Seth Rogen.

Given a supporting cast of characters that can only be called Apatowian (read: completely random and amazing), Moviefone's exclusive visit to the set was nothing short of hilariously entertaining. Check out this behind-the-scenes video tour, which includes interviews with Apatow, Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman, and keep reading below for more 'Funny People' scoop.


Nestled in the Hollywood Hills is Runyon Canyon, a haven of celebrity exercise fanatics and people desperate to get discovered while hiking with their dogs. And for a few particularly star-studded days last December, it was also a location for filming 'Funny People,' Judd Apatow's latest flick.

Starring Adam Sandler as a mega-famous comedian -- if you can imagine that -- named George Simmons, 'Funny People' takes an unusual path to the laughs, giving Simmons a terminal medical condition and, in turn, a new lease on life. Helping him in his rediscovery of life before fame is not-quite-as-famous-but-maybe-even-funnier Ira Wright, played by Seth Rogen.

Given a supporting cast of characters that can only be called Apatowian (read: completely random and amazing), Moviefone's exclusive visit to the set was nothing short of hilariously entertaining. Check out this behind-the-scenes video tour, which includes interviews with Apatow, Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman, and keep reading below for more 'Funny People' scoop. -- By Maggie Furlong



Pets Allowed
Closing down Runyon Canyon completely is almost impossible -- and incredibly expensive. So Universal posted a warning sign, stating that people could be filmed if they entered the park. Unfortunately, in L.A., all those "casual exercisers" view a sign like that as practically an inscribed invitation. By the end of the day, with the word out, the canyon was full of wannabe actors, "hiking" in circles and trying to get their dogs to make an "impromptu" introduction with the cast.

Here's Your Poster Art
When pushed to describe the movie, writer-director Judd Apatow told us, "It's kind of the same style as [my] other movies. Maybe the subject matter is more serious, but we're trying to make it just as funny ... It's kind of a demented 'Tuesdays With Morrie' -- that's how I look at it. [Laughs] The only thing worse than being sick is getting better."

Dangerous Minds
Star Jason Schwartzman ('Rushmore,' 'The Darjeeling Limited') plays Mark, Ira (Rogen) and Leo's (Jonah Hill) roommate. But while they're struggling as fledgling comedians, he's pulling in the big bucks -- and isn't shy about talking salaries -- on a sitcom called 'Yo, Teach!' What's the show like? "['Head of the Class'] meets 'Dangerous Minds,'" Schwartzman laughed. Guess that makes him the Michelle Pfeiffer.

Kleenex, Please!
Shooting outside has its downside, too: While directing a particularly poignant -- and, yes, laugh-out-loud funny -- scene with Rogen, Hill and Schwartzman, Apatow took a quick break to pop an array of allergy pills to fight off a serious case of the sniffles. So is medicine his secret to being so funny?

Part of the Clan
He's put their songs in his movies -- Ol' Dirty Bastard's 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' was in the opening scenes of 'Knocked Up' -- but now Apatow's got a member of the Wu-Tang Clan acting alongside his usual gang of funnymen. RZA plays Chuck, Ira's underachieving coworker at his deli counter day job.

Scenic Route
Hanging out during filming from noon until dusk, we were reminded how much downtime there is on a movie set. But with such a fun location, some stars took advantage. Schwartzman even went on a hike during lunch ... in his clothing from the scenes they were shooting. We're sure wardrobe was thrilled ...

Art Imitating Life?
Is this story at all based on Apatow's early career as a stand-up comedian? "When I was a comedian, everyone was so nice to me. Nothing wild happened," he admitted. "And I wasn't that interesting myself." Somehow, we highly doubt that.

More Funny People
Last January, a stand-up scene was filmed at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles -- tickets were sold to the public, with all in attendance acting as extras, and proceeds were donated to charity. Stars Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Aziz Ansari (who plays Randy) performed their sets in character, but the audience was also treated to guest performances by comedians Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt and David Spade.

And More Guest Stars, Too
Who else pops up in 'Funny People'? "There's a bunch of surprises in the movie," teased Hill. But when pushed for names, he and Rogen wouldn't budge -- instead, they listed a few people we're pretty sure will never be in an Apatow flick. Hill: "Boy George!" Rogen: "Bill Clinton!" Hill: "Roger Clinton!" Rogen: "Reverend Al Sharpton!" Maybe next time ...

All in the Family
After stealing so many scenes in 'Knocked Up' playing the family of Paul Rudd's character, Apatow's real life family -- lovely wife Leslie Mann and adorable daughters Maude and Iris -- are back for 'Funny People.' Mann plays the mom again, and an ex-flame of Sandler's character, while Eric Bana is the new guy in the picture. Fingers crossed for another "Where do babies come from?" speech.

The Circle of Life
After tackling sex ('The 40-Year-Old Virgin') and the wonder of childbirth ('Knocked Up'), what subject did writer-director Apatow turn to for his third flick? Death, of course. "There's the sex movie, the baby movie and then the death/sickness movie," he said, "Which is also kind of a mentor movie and a romantic comedy and 11 other genres in one." Works for us.

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