Maude Apatow Opens up About Playing Pete Davidson's Sister in 'The King of Staten Island' (Exclusive)

Though Maude Apatow has starred in a number of her father Judd Apatow's movies since the age of 7, the now 22-year-old actress was actually not the first choice when casting his latest directorial effort, The King of Staten Island. Apatow had to audition for the role of Claire — the ambitious younger sister to Pete Davidson's character — after the Saturday Night Live star pushed for her to be part of the film. It's a scene-stealing performance Apatow tells in our series, PopCulture @ Home was one rooted in the strength of the screenplay, written by her father, Davidson and Dave Sirus.

"[She's] a very strong female character," Apatow said of the semi-autobiographical film based on Davidson's own life. "The movie takes place at this breaking point with his sister and his mom, like everyone is just about to break. They're all very fed up and I play a frustrated character who you can tell has had the exact same conversation with this person 8,000 times, and they're just not listening. So, they're saying, 'I surrender. There's nothing else I can do anymore. I just need to let you do your thing.' And I just thought that was interesting because it kind of starts on that."

With Davidson's character Scott mirroring his own phase of arrested development following the death of his firefighter father and working to grow up after his sister goes off to college, Apatow reveals she had to maintain a balance of sorts between the essence of his real-life sister, Casey, versus a somewhat fictionalized depiction in the film. The whole process was an intriguing one for Apatow, who admits, she wanted to be "careful" with how she portrayed the sibling character.

(Photo: Universal Pictures / Apatow Productions)

"I didn't want [Casey] to think I was doing an impression of her," Apatow said. "I didn't really spend that much time with her before the movie started. I tried to get as much information about her and their dynamic, and then I kind of just made it my own. And then afterward, I've got to know her really well, and we had dinner the other night — and she's the best. So, hopefully, I did her proud."

In addition to nailing down her role as Davidson's on-screen sister, the two young stars share endearing chemistry, specifically in how she acts as the voice of reason for Scott during some rough moments. Apatow, who is the older sister to Iris Apatow (This Is 40, Knocked Up), has never had an older sibling but credits the dynamic between her and Davidson as an easy-going one thanks to her experience with little sister, Iris.

"In the movie, I act more as the older sibling," she said of her role. "It's funny as I was preparing for it, I was talking to my acting coach and she was just saying the thing siblings fight about — the same thing over and over and over again. I was like, 'I do that with my sister,' and I could just get into that rhythm of feeling exhausted and frustrated with your sibling for not listening to you."


While Apatow last met Davidson when she was 16 after a small role in the Amy Schumer film, Trainwreck (another of Judd's movies), she has known Davidson for a while as her father worked on The King of Staten Island for years. "I didn't know Pete super well before we started shooting," she said, adding how the two keep in touch a little bit. "He's definitely very close with my dad, but he's been super — I love Pete. I think he's hilarious, and he's very supportive."

The King of Staten Island is now available to own on digital and Blu-ray/DVD. For more on Maude Apatow, your favorite stars, and all the movie news you need to know, keep it locked to for the latest!