It was only a matter of time until we got the first film attempting to mine some laughs from the banal horror of the past twelve months, and it looks like Judd Apatow has appointed himself the man to do it. Yesterday brought news of the Juddernaut’s next film, through which he’ll try to find the funny in the COVID-19 pandemic and Hollywood’s place in it. (Or lack thereof.)
Deadline reports that Apatow has been locked in to direct, produce, and co-write The Bubble, a satirical black comedy with a topical hook. And with plans to shoot as early as possible this year, the release on Netflix could very well come before 2021 is up.
The film focuses on a movie crew trapped in a hotel quarantine while they struggle to complete their production, a premise that I’m sure bears only coincidental resemblance to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s classic claustro-drama Beware of a Holy Whore. In this instance, the mental stressors of social distancing and personal protective equipment will collide with the natural self-absorption of the actor pathology, stranding them in a world where they cannot maintain their sense of importance or the public’s attention.
Apatow has rounded up a worthy ensemble to make his most timely, issue-driven film yet (this all sounds like something Adam McKay would do), including Karen Gillan, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armisen, Leslie Mann, Peter Serafinowicz, and Pedro Pascal. Best of all, he’ll be responsible for keeping Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star Maria Bakalova in American studio comedy for a little while longer, as she’s on the cast list too.
While that all sounds like the makings of a good movie, this film will present Apatow with a balancing act not usually required by his low-key films about groups of pals hanging out and talking shit. There’s an inherent humor to the absurdity and indignity of the past year’s lockdown, but coaxing that out while paying due respect to the gravity of this crisis (and the many lives it’s already claimed) will take sensitivity and delicacy. So long as the joke’s on the A-listers, it’ll probably go just fine.
Published 10 Feb 2021
By James Palmer
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