Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson wrote and starred in his upcoming semi-autobiographical film The King of Staten Island, and he says that making the movie was better than therapy. The story is about Scott (Davidson), a Staten Island resident who is covered in tattoos, and who is also struggling with the death of his father.
The character is loosely based on Davidson, who lost his father, Scott, when he was working as a New York City firefighter during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In a new interview with The New York Times, Davidson says that making the film was an opportunity to “just really lay it all out there and be able to heal and move on from it, instead of, every day, feeling sorry for myself.”
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Now, Davidson says he can put all of that in the past.
Davidson worked with director Judd Apatow on the project after the two briefly met on the set of 2015’s Trainwreck. Apatow admits he was hesitant to work on the film because a movie filled with personal details is still “fraught with the possibility of failure,” and he didn’t want to hurt Davidson.
“You’d hate to ask Pete to share something so personal and make the worst movie ever. That was scary, but in a way, it was the motor behind the whole thing: Can we figure out how to be funny and authentic and explore these issues?” said Apatow.
Davidson added that it was “really hard” because the movie is filled with “stuff” that he would share with his therapist. However, Davidson says that Apatow really cares, and the hard work he put in to find out about Davidson’s life made him feel comfortable.
Even though the film focuses on the main character’s struggles with his father’s death, Davidson says the movie was actually a love letter to his mom. He said it was “really emotional” and she was in tears the entire time.
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Davidson explained that his mom has always been there for him when he needs her, and she’s “the best.”
“Never once has she ever done anything out of character. That was another motivation for me, to make this movie — to give her some sort of a gift, to express myself in a way that I couldn’t show before,” said Pete Davidson. “That lady’s number one. My mom’s definitely a big hero of mine, just like my dad.”
The King of Staten Island will be available to rent online starting on June 12.