Maude Apatow Wants to Write, Direct, And Act, All At the Same Time

Maude Apatow Wants to Write, Direct, And Act, All At the Same Time

Apatow wears a Dior jacket, top, and pants; Cartier earrings, necklace, and ring.

Maude Apatow may be only 21 years old, but she's already plotting her Hollywood takeover. The actress currently stars on Euphoria, this summer's hottest TV series, as Lexi Howard, the childhood best friend of Zendaya's Rue and older sister of Sydney Sweeney's rebellious Cassie. It's a breakout role for Apatow, who got her start acting in dad Judd Apatow's films, such as Knocked Up and This Is 40, both alongside mom Leslie Mann. Post-Euphoria, Apatow is looking to be Hollywood' newest triple threat, with goals to eventually write and direct her own films, all while continuing her burgeoning actor career. "I did a short film last summer that I wrote and directed and acted in," she says. "So, that was the greatest thing ever, and hopefully I can do more of that. If I could do all of them at the same time that would be cool." Here, the actress talks about Euphoria, her love for Broadway musicals, and the best advice her parents have given to her.

You were named after the kooky octogenarian in the film Harold and Maude. When did you first see the movie?

I think I was too young, like eleven. I liked it then, and then I watched it recently, and liked it way more. My parents told me recently that they start calling me Maude when my mom was pregnant as a joke, and then it stuck. And, I was like, "Oh, that's kind of offensive. But, okay." But I love that movie. I think it's one of my favorites ever.

What was the first thing that you ever auditioned for?

The first thing I auditioned for was Grease, the musical. I got Jan. I love all musical theater. I was saying that recently I saw Patti LuPone in Gypsy, and it was, like, the best thing I'd ever seen in my whole life, so that was one of my favorites.

For my sweet sixteen, my parents had Andrew [Rannells] come and sing The Book of Mormon which was literally the best moment of my life. We're all musical theater kids, so like, everyone was freaking out. My friends sang "You and Me, But Mostly Me" from The Book of Mormon with Andrew, and it was like, "That's the best moment of my whole life."

How many times have you seen Hamilton?

I think I saw it three times. I saw it in England which is really cool. And it was amazing, too.

Euphoria is kind of the opposite of musical theater. How did the show come to you?

I worked with Sam Levinson the writer-director on another movie two years ago called Assassination Nation. We got along really, really well, and Sam had told me he was working on another show. So, I came in and auditioned. I auditioned six times. It was crazy. But it ended up working out.

And the show is semi-autobiographical for Sam, right?

He struggled with addiction, so the show is sort of about that. But it's weird because Sam is an older man and he writesteenage girls very well. It's kind of the best writing for teenagers that I've ever seen. He really has nailed it. And, he really cares. He talks to us and asks our opinion. He's very collaborative, which is really nice.

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

The working title of our show was not Fosse/Verdon—it was just Fosse, but then the producers got smart. They realized that Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse were romantic and creative partners who remained entangled until the end of his life. It was the right time, in 2019, to make a show about a partnership. It was also the first time that I’ve had pay parity with a male costar and equal space to voice my thoughts. I’d never experienced anything like it. Since I felt completely supported, I could jump higher and take more risks.

You started acting as a child. Did you find that people treated you—and continue to treat you—in a diminishing way?

Absolutely. When you’re physically small, when men hug you, they pick you up off the floor. That doesn’t happen anymore.

What’s your favorite Fosse musical?

Cabaret. When I performed the song “Maybe This Time” [on Broadway, in 2014], it never didn’t get to me. I’m sad that I’ll never sing it again. Musicals are deep in me: When I did a tap dance for Fosse/Verdon, I realized it returned me to this very primal love, before anything negative was associated with acting, work, or identity. I felt like I was a little girl. It was a genuine moment of joy.

Williams wears a Louis Vuitton turtleneck, skirt, belt, and boots.

Do you also write?

I love writing and I love directing. That's my ultimate goal. And acting. If I could do all of them at the same time that would be cool.

What kind of things do you write?

I've been writing screenplays. I want to write movies. I did a short film last summer that I wrote and directed and acted in. So, that was the greatest thing ever, and hopefully I can do more of that.

What was your favorite film growing up?

I have so many favorite movies. The first thing that comes to mind is Say Anything. I also love Magnolia and Boogie Nights and Stand By Me. Those are some of my favorites.

When your dad first started casting you in things, were you happy about that, or did it make you nervous?

I was so little when my dad cast me in movies. I didn't even realize what was going on, but I knew that I liked it. It was really nice to be able to do that with them first to get practice. Now, I feel very prepared to go off on my own. So, I'm really grateful for that.

My mom's given me so much acting advice. She's always told me to commit. That's the main thing she says and I always keep that in mind when I'm acting. That's really stuck. My dad's my mentor with writing, too. He reads what I write and gives me notes. It's the greatest thing ever.

Is he kind when he gives you notes?

Not always.

What was your favorite Halloween costume that you've ever had?

I've never been that in to Halloween. Like, I've never really gone for it. I was Velma from Scooby Doo in middle school. That was probably my peak. Since then it hasn't been as good.

Who was your celebrity crush growing up?

I had posters of Jesse McCartney; I really liked him. You know who I really loved? Nicholas Hoult. When I was younger, I loved Skins. About a Boy is another one of my favorite movies, so it's cool to see him grow up like that. He's such a good actor.

Where was your first kiss?

My first kiss was at my house. I remember it almost happened a bunch of times, and I'd get so nervous that I'd get up and go get water to distract from the situation. It was really awkward. If I think about it, it makes me want to have a heart attack. It's so embarrassing.

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