Apatow has been fortunate in that respect at Universal, which produced Knocked Up, and at Sony, which will release Superbad and where he has an overall production deal. He remains committed to a feverish pace of work, provided it keeps him close to home. (About Knocked Up, which was shot entirely on location in Los Angeles, he says, "I thought, 'How close can I get to my house every day? Can I make the set literally down the street?'") He's also ever on the lookout for new faces, like Knocked Up scene-stealer Kristen Wiig, who also plays a leading role in Walk Hardand is currently writing a script that Apatow plans to produce. He hopes, above all, to continue being personal, because, he says, "I'm just getting old enough, as I head into my 40th year, to have something to say."
As I'm about to leave, Apatow asks me if I'd like to hear something. It's the title song from the Walk Hard soundtrack, as it will appear during one of the film's climactic scenes: a star-studded tribute show to the movie's faux music legend, Dewey Cox (played by John C. Reilly). Tomorrow, back on the Walk Hard set, they'll actually shoot the scene, complete with appearances by Jackson Browne, Ghostface Killah, and Jewel (who memorably yodels during the bridge). Though the song is intended as parody, its lyrics about struggling against hardship and being true to yourself are, like so much else about Apatow's work, at once comic and heartfelt. Along with "I'm One," it could well be the anthem of his career.