HELENE SOBOLEWSKI

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

JUDD Apa­tow doesn’t cast bad guys in his movies— he fig­ures our own neu­rotic na­tures cause enough mayhem in our heads.

The cult direc­tor and pro­ducer says hu­man be­hav­iour has given him plenty of ma­te­rial for his TV shows and films — from his 1999 TV se­ries Freaks and Geeks to The 40 Year Old Vir­gin, Knocked Up, The Five-Year En­gage­ment and now the TV show Girls.

‘‘ I no­ticed a lit­tle while back that I never feel the need to have vil­lains in movies be­cause peo­ple’s own neu­roses are enough,’’ Apa­tow says.

‘‘ I cer­tainly have my fair share and no­tice it in all of the peo­ple I en­counter.

‘‘ We all are com­pas­sion­ate to that be­cause I think that’s how we all feel, so that’s what I watch for in a com­edy.’’

Apa­tow, 44, has the cre­ative abil­ity to look into the hu­man psy­che and make it laugh-out­loud funny with­out los­ing com­pas­sion for his char­ac­ters.

In Girls, cre­ated by writer/ direc­tor/ac­tor Lena Dun­ham and also pro­duced by the vet­eran com­edy film­maker, a group of 20-some­thing women in New York are work­ing out what they want from life as they floun­der about af­ter fin­ish­ing their de­grees.

‘‘ The show is about that pe­riod af­ter col­lege when you thought you were go­ing to get that great job and you don’t and you’re strug­gling to fig­ure out how you’re go­ing to sur­vive, how you’re go­ing to find the right per­son to be in a re­la­tion­ship with,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s re­ally funny with an in­ter­est­ing re­al­is­tic tone.’’

Apa­tow’s lat­est movie This Is 40, due for re­lease in Aus­tralia next Fe­bru­ary, is a ‘‘ sort-of se­quel’’ to Knocked Up that will again star his wife, Les­lie Mann, and daugh­ters Maude, 14, and Iris, 9.

With ev­ery mile­stone birthday, Apa­tow has new ma­te­rial.

‘‘ I’m about to do old guy movies. Look out for that,’’ he says laugh­ing.

‘‘ The day I turned 40 I went and vis­ited my wife where she was shoot­ing a movie called 17 Again.

‘‘ She was danc­ing with Zac Efron. That made me feel old.’’ Girls, Show­case, Mon­day, 8.30pm Funny guy: Judd Apa­tow re­turns to tele­vi­sion with

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