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Marisa Tomei has a great arc to execute in director Judd Apatow’s new dramedy The King Of Staten Island. Playing Margie, the mother of Pete Davidson’s character in what is a semi-biographical movie about the Saturday Night Live star, Tomei successfully navigates the character from introverted, doting mother to independent force of nature. It’s a great turn to see from the Academy Award-winning actor – but what makes it a touch surprising is that one of her key scenes was evidently a late addition to the film.
With The King Of Staten Island set to drop online this week, I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing Marisa Tomei via video chat last week to talk about her character in the movie, and one thing she revealed during our conversation was that one of her best bits wasn’t originally in the script and was something that was developed later in production. Click play on the video below to watch the discussion!
In The King Of Staten Island, Margie is a woman who has kept herself mostly cut off from the world since the death of her firefighter husband – who was also the father of her two kids (Pete Davidson, Maude Apatow) – but that all changes when her son, Scott, has an unfortunate run in with a guy named Ray (Bill Burr), who ends up asking her on a date. Having been entirely focused on being a mom for nearly two full decades, she finally has the opportunity of come out of her shell a bit… and that notably means her relationship with Scott changing.
When we first meet Pete Davidson’s Scott in the movie, he is a directionless loser who lives at home merely talking about the idea of becoming a tattoo artist, but never making any real concrete steps to achieve his goals. With a new outlook on life, Margie winds up feeling compelled to give him the push out of the nest he very much needs, forcing him to move out and try to make it on his own – and this led to the inclusion of a great scene where Scott makes a desperate effort to get back inside his totally redecorated childhood home, and is aggressively shown the door by his mother. Said Tomei of the scene,
I think Judd [Apatow], he kind of [showed her change] externally with the house. He just did a redecoration in the house, and so that's how you kind of see it manifest, and how shocked Scott is when he comes over and he feels very displaced. He added that later on, actually. It wasn't even in there originally, so I think he realized that it needed to be highlighted more.
Not only is the scene a great inclusion of Marisa Tomei’s performance, as it really drives home how much her character changes over the course of The King Of Staten Island, but it also speaks to Judd Apatow’s famed style of filmmaking – which involves flying by the seat of his pants sometimes. Known for having his actors do a lot of improvisation on set, Apatow has a tendency to let his projects speak to him to a certain degree during production, and sometimes that results in great new scenes like the one that’s been highlighted here.
The King Of Staten Island, which also features Steve Buscemi, Bel Powley, Ricky Velez, Moises Arias, Lou Wilson, Kevin Corrigan, and more in addition to the names highlighted above, is available this weekend for digital rental and purchase. Check it out, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with the director and stars of the new film.