This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The comfortable white-shingled residence in Universal’s This Is 40 is inspiring the type of real-estate lust normally given to the houses in all those Nancy Meyers movies. “It’s gotten quite a response,” says Oscar-nominated set decorator Leslie Pope (Seabiscuit).
Director Judd Apatow shot a good portion of the movie — about a record exec and his wife, a clothing boutique owner (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, Apatow’s real wife), turning 40 and facing financial struggles — in a Brentwood house owned by producer Bryan Zuriff and his wife Monica. Apatow lives just up the street (“Our kids are friends,” says Zuriff), and the director had used their pad as the home of Rudd and Mann’s characters in 2007’s Knocked Up. In This Is 40, the couple must put their house up for sale.
Apatow personally called the Zuriffs to ask about shooting there again. “We negotiated a deal,” says Zuriff, an executive producer on Showtime’s upcoming drama Ray Donovan. (He declined comment on how much the production paid.)
How Apatow first found the house is a Hollywood small-town story. “My sister-in-law is Giuliana Rancic, and in Knocked Up, Katherine Heigl played a character like her, and they went to E! to scout. The producers couldn’t find a house, and Giuliana was like, ‘You should call my brother-in-law,’” recalls Zuriff, a former spec builder who had just completed the house for himself.
With the Zuriffs’ belongings in storage, the filmmakers took over the house for six weeks. Pope and production designer Jefferson Sage redecorated to suit the fictional family, which has two daughters. They decided on a palette of greens, corals and melons. “You want it to be fun and vibrant,” says Pope. “That’s shorthand that this is a family with a lot of life."