Since we started writing this feature series on movie endings, we’ve covered a wide variety. We’ve gone over confusing endings, twisty endings, debatable endings, and even a uniquely-structured ending. This time around, however, we have something very different: the out-of-left-field ending. That’s because we’re now taking a closer look at the conclusion of Judd Apatow’s fantastic 2005 comedy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
What exactly went down? Why did Steve Carell’s character all of a sudden start singing? How was the sequence conceived? Who taught all of the actors how to dance? We have all of the answers to those questions and more, so read on!
How They Came Up With The IdeaCompletely random as it may seem, there actually is a very reasonable explanation for why The 40-Year-Old Virgin ends with its "Let The Sunshine In" musical sequence – and it’s really all because of a suggestion that director Judd Apatow received from none other than comedy legend Garry Shandling.
When I had the chance to sit down for a one-on-one interview with Judd Apatow last month at SXSW, I took the opportunity to ask him about the fun ending of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and he gave me some great insight to the development of the sequence from beginning to end. As it turns out, the idea for the musical conclusion initiated because of some very important advice that he got from Shandling – whom the Trainwreck director first worked with as a writer on The Larry Sanders Show. Initially, the ending of the movie left Apatow flummoxed, but it got him and star Steve Carell brainstorming, and that’s when they found inspiration. Said the filmmaker,
Garry Shandling kept saying to Steve Carell and I, ‘You need to find a way to show that his sex is better than his friend’s sex, because he’s truly in love.’ And he kept saying, ‘You’ve got to figure out a way to show that!' And I’m like, ‘Garry, I can’t show the sex, I don’t know how to do this ending.’ One day Steve just went, ‘What if I just sing a song?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, like "Let the Sunshine In." And we said, ’Oh, that sounds good!’
During filming, the production brought on choreographer Anne Fletcher to give all of the actors their various dance moves, and while the team knew that they had something special and awesome, that idea was 100 percent confirmed when the movie was cut and screened to test audiences. Explained Apatow,
We would test the movie, and the place would explode. It would explode when Steve started singing… It’s one of those magical things, you don’t know why it works and it makes people laugh, and it’s probably the only time you’ll ever see Seth Rogen dance like that.
Now I’m sure you’ll want to watch this fantastic ending, so head over to Page Two!