The Untold Truth Of Maude Apatow

Pursuing a career in Hollywood was kind of a natural path for Maude Apatow. In fact, becoming an actor was like stepping into the family business, given that she's the daughter of director and producer Judd Apatow (whose films include "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck") and actor Leslie Mann, known for her roles in "George of the Jungle" and "The Cable Guy."

While having such famous and successful parents can open doors in Tinseltown, it's also no guarantee of future success. Yet Maude Apatow proved she's been able to deliver the goods, carving out her own acting career. Speaking with High Snobiety, Apatow got candid about the pros and cons of her parentage. "My dad is my mentor and gives me a lot of advice about everything that I do, with acting, writing, and directing," she explained. "But it's hard to take advice from your parents without automatically wanting to stand up to them or be rebellious."

Her career is clearly on the rise, and viewers have been taking notice. To find out more about this intriguing young star, read on and delve into the untold truth of Maude Apatow.

She's played her mother's daughter onscreen — a lot

While Maude Apatow has become a successful actor in her own right, there's also no denying that her earliest screen appearances were the result of nepotism. As IMDb made clear, her first three screen credits were in films made by her dad, the Judd Apatow-directed "Knocked Up" (2007), "Funny People" (2009), and "This Is 40" (2012). 

In all three movies, Apatow and younger sister Iris played the daughters of characters portrayed by their real-life mom, Leslie Mann. "I was so little when my dad cast me in movies," Apatow shared in an interview with W magazine. Working with her mom onscreen while her dad was behind the camera, she added, wound up becoming a part of her childhood that she didn't comprehend until much later was far from ordinary. "I didn't even realize what was going on," she said, "but I knew that I liked it."

Apatow once again worked with her dad in the 2020 comedy "The King of Staten Island," portraying the younger sister of the movie's protagonist, played by Pete Davidson. She wasn't just given the role, however; unlike those earlier experiences, she told Hello Giggles, she actually had to audition.

Her showbiz aspirations came early

Growing up within a showbiz family clearly made an impression on Maude Apatow when she was a youngster. As she told Nylon, she'd felt the calling to perform in front of others for as far back as she could remember. "I've loved acting since I was really little," she said, revealing she'd acted in school theater productions since second grade. 

It wasn't until high school, while participating in a performance-based community initiative, that Apatow was really able to experience the thrill of acting in front of an audience. "We performed at different venues like a center for the blind, and for adults with developmental disabilities, and rehab centers, and it was an amazing experience," she said. While she'd previously appeared onscreen in several movies produced by her father, Judd Apatow, performing in front of a live audience proved to be a whole other experience. "When you do movies you don't always see how people react. But sometimes we performed in tiny little kitchens and you could see everyone," she explained. 

The ability to witness an audience's response to a performance, she added, "even though we're, like, weird ninth graders doing a show, was life-changing."

She's appeared in many high-profile films and TV series

In addition to projects directed by her father, Maude Apatow has built up an impressive reputation as an actor in her own right. According to IMDb, her first adult role came at age 18 when she appeared in three episodes of Lena Dunham's hit comedy "Girls" — a series produced by dad Judd Apatow. 

After that, Apatow struck out on her own to appear in films and TV series in which her father wasn't involved, beginning with the 2016 indie film "Other People" and then the 2018 action-comedy "Assassination Nation." This was followed by a high-profile part in Ryan Murphy's Netflix miniseries "Hollywood." She then played fan-favorite character Lexi Howard alongside Zendaya on acclaimed HBO drama series "Euphoria." Presumably based on the strength of that body of work, in 2021, Apatow was tapped to star in AMC's animated conspiracy drama "Pantheon."

It was her role in Sam Levinson's "Assassination Nation," in fact, that led her to be cast in the director's TV series "Euphoria," but landing the role was no walk in the park. "We got along really, really well, and Sam had told me he was working on another show," Apatow told W magazine, revealing she "auditioned six times" before finally being cast.

Her original goal was to perform musical theater on Broadway

Even though Maude Apatow has amassed an impressive roster of screen credits in film and television at a relatively young age, her original aspiration was to act onstage, not onscreen. Interviewed by Vanity Fair, Apatow revealed she "actually got the acting bug from doing musicals in high school, like 'Cabaret' and 'Into the Woods,' so it always seemed like that's where I was headed."

Of course, that's not how things turned out, with Apatow's career taking her in front of the camera and not onstage on the Great White Way. Yet despite how much Apatow's Hollywood career has heated up in recent years, she admitted that performing in a Broadway musical remained a dream. "Maybe one day. That's the goal," she told Vanity Fair, singling out Mama Rose in the musical "Gyspy" as a "dream" role she'd one day love to embody. "Seeing Patti LuPone do it changed my life," she said of that particular role. 

Still, the experience of taking in live musical theater continues to inspire her creatively. "I can always count on watching a musical to remind me why I'm acting," she added.

Live-tweeting a royal wedding made Maude Apatow a social media sensation

Before launching her acting career, Maude Apatow became a force to be reckoned with on social media. As a 2012 New York Times profile on the then-14-year-old pointed out, Apatow first began building a following on Twitter when she and mom Leslie Mann watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton, and Apatow live-tweeted the royal nuptials. "We were going to watch from the street, all the carriages, and I remember when I was on that trip, I got 1,000 followers, I was so excited," said Apatow of her tweets.

In an interview with Teen Vogue that same year, the teenager admitted her Twitter fame "freaks [her] out sometimes," recalling, "I just joined Twitter one day, and within the first week I got 75 followers ... Then it just kept going, and now it's like 75,000." Meanwhile, her Twitter fame continued to grow; in 2013, Time declared her Twitter feed to be one of the best of the year, describing it "as funny as it is earnest." As of March 2022, Apatow boasts more than 340,000 Twitter followers.

Her most terrifying experience was interviewing One Direction

Maude Apatow's Twitter fame led to an opportunity that she considered to be one of the greatest of her young life: interviewing the members of British boy band One Direction for Teen Vogue. As the unabashed One Direction fan admitted in a subsequent interview with Teen Vogue, her nervousness was through the roof. "I was so excited and shaking the whole time, so they might have picked up on that," she joked.

In her original piece, she confessed that the timbre of her voice becomes "very high" when she becomes nervous, which was absolutely the case when she interviewed the singers. "My voice was so high that it was painful and embarrassing to listen to the tape of the interview," she wrote, claiming to have "since destroyed it."

More than a decade later, Apatow appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," where she reminisced about interviewing Harry Styles and the other 1D members. As she recalled, her excitement over meeting the group was tinged with a significant degree of abject terror. "It was the scariest thing in my life," she admitted. 

The other female celebrities she looks to for inspiration

In addition to her famous parents, Maude Apatow also looks to other successful women in Hollywood as a template for her own future. She told Teen Vogue when she was just 14, "I really look up to Lena Dunham, who writes and directs her show." 

As she explained in an interview with Who What Wear, she "grew up" around Dunham while her dad produced her HBO series "Girls," and she came to admire Dunham for her multifaceted role as both an actor and creative visionary on the show.

In that same interview, Apatow also shared her admiration of "Fleabag" star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whom she described as "the funniest, coolest person on the planet." Another name she mentioned was Olivia Wilde, known for her acting roles in such TV series as "House" and films like "Tron Legacy," who segued into directing with the 2020 comedy "Booksmart." Noting that Wilde "has gone from being a movie star to now directing," Apatow declared, "I think that's really cool."

Her famous mom says Maude Apatow has no interest in her acting advice

Given that her father is a famous Hollywood director and her mom is an actor with oodles of screen credits under her belt, it would be natural for Maude Apatow to seek advice from her parents when it comes to navigating the choppy waters of Tinseltown.

According to her mom, Leslie Mann, that actually isn't the case. "She doesn't really listen to me," Mann said of her daughter in an interview with Us Weekly. "I try, but she doesn't listen."

Of course, Mann has also been quick to point out her daughter was born into a life of wealth and privilege that has shielded her from the kind of realities that she had to deal with as a struggling young actor trying to make a mark on Hollywood. As Mann admitted during an appearance on "Good Morning America," her daughters have it "a little bit easier" than she did, recalling being "very poor and hungry" when she started out. Whenever Mann hears her daughter complain about the difficulties of being an actor, "I think, 'It's not hard. At least you have food in the refrigerator and nice sheets.' You're fine!"

How her parents' inside joke about their favorite movie led to her name

According to Maude Apatow, she owes her first name to a famous cult movie and her parents' inside joke about it. Interviewed by W magazine, Apatow confirmed that she's named after the octogenarian character played by Ruth Gordon in the 1971 comedy "Harold and Maude." "My parents told me recently that they start calling me Maude when my mom was pregnant as a joke, and then it stuck," Apatow explained. "And, I was like, 'Oh, that's kind of offensive. But, OK.' But I love that movie. I think it's one of my favorites ever."

Given the influence that the cult classic and its iconoclastic director Hal Ashby had on her father, the name is actually something of a badge of honor. Speaking at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tribute to Ashby, Judd Apatow revealed that their shared love of "Harold and Maude" was one of the things that he and future wife Leslie Mann bonded over while they were dating. 

When he first met Mann, the director quipped, she "let me know right away that she's watched that movie hundreds and hundreds of times, which I didn't know if I should be concerned about or not."

What she really wants to do is direct

Interviewed by Teen Vogue when she was just 14, Maude Apatow discussed some of the successful women in Hollywood whom she admired. Among them was director Sofia Coppola, and Apatow noted that she'd like to try her hand at directing in the future. Several years later, she told Who What Wear that directing was still something she continued to aspire to. "I love [acting and directing] equally," she said, "but I really love directing."

That ambition came to pass when she co-directed a short film, 2017's "Don't Mind Alice," for which she also served as a writer and actor. "So, that was the greatest thing ever, and hopefully I can do more of that," she told W Magazine. "If I could do [directing, acting, and writing] at the same time that would be cool."

Directing continues to be a future ambition. "My goal is to become a director," she said in a 2019 interview with Collider. Noting that she's had some "great mentors," she also credited her experience on "Euphoria," in which she was able to watch the varying styles of different directors at work. "It's been really cool, getting to see how everyone works so differently," she said.

Her famous folks have always been supportive of her Hollywood ambitions

Being the child of famous Hollywood parents has been something of a double-edged sword for Maude Apatow. While her parentage has opened doors, keeping those doors open has come with an increased degree of pressure and responsibility. "I know that people definitely see me as my parents' kid, so it's important to me to work twice as hard to prove myself," she said in an interview with Who What Wear

Citing the "really good mentor-mentee relationship" she has with her father, she credited him for knowing how to encourage her and what to teach her about acting, noting, "I feel very lucky to be able to work with him."

While her parents have encouraged her acting ambitions since she was a child, they also insisted she graduate from high school before pursuing an acting career. However, Apatow told Collider, "The second I graduated, I was like, 'Let's go!' I guess I always knew that I wanted to do this 'cause I grew up around it, but I also couldn't imagine doing anything else. It wasn't even a question."

Her Euphoria character's play is based on an actual play she wrote in high school

Maude Apatow has made no secret of her love for musical theater, something that bubbled to the surface in a Season 2 episode of "Euphoria." In that episode, Apatow's character, Lexi Howard, debuts the play that she wrote about her life and in which she also stars. 

As Apatow explained in an interview with Variety, the play-within-the-show came about from a "semi-collaboration" with "Euphoria" creator Sam Levinson. "It was loosely inspired by my high school play that I produced," Apatow divulged, admitting, "Everyone in the theater department hated me, but I really wanted to do a good job."

She added more details in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, revealing that the inspiration for the episode originated from her experience with that play during her senior year of high school. As Apatow explained, she was at the helm of "a student-produced, directed, and written show, and I was the producer, and I was like a tyrant." Once she and Levinson discussed her recollections, she added, "Sam went in and wrote it all."

She once pulled out her own tooth for a character

Let it never be said that Maude Apatow isn't committed to the craft of acting. In fact, that level of dedication has been evident since her childhood, as she explained during an appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

Noting that she started doing theater when she was a kid, Apatow recalled that she pushed to be as real as possible with her work. As an example, she pointed to a school "Gold Rush Day" when she was 9 years old. In order to get into costume authentically, she "wanted to look like a miner, so I, like, ripped out my tooth." Asked if the tooth had been loose, she clarified that "it was not a loose tooth at all," saying, "It was not ready to go. I just ripped it out ... I was dedicated!"

After high school, Apatow went on to study theater at Northwestern University, but she decided to take a break. However, as she told Vanity Fair, before she was able to go back, she wound up being cast in "Euphoria." "I wanted to make sure if I was leaving school to act that it was worth it, and 'Euphoria' is unlike anything I've ever seen," she said.

She's struggled with acne

Like many people in their early 20s, Maude Apatow has struggled with acne. Appearing in a 2022 video for Vogue in which she shared her typical skincare routine, Apatow revealed that being a professional actor and the heavy makeup it requires caused her "skin [to get] a lot worse." She shared, "I needed to come up with a routine, and this one I've used all through shooting 'Euphoria' and it's worked."

She also shared some of the acne-related wisdom she'd picked up along the way, such as not to "pick" at a pimple because that will make the acne spread. "I never believed that when people told me that," she said. "Then I learned that if I pop zits, they travel."

The biggest thing she's learned about battling acne outbreaks was to make sure she'd completely cleaned her face before going to bed each night. However, she admitted, "Just wearing so much makeup for so many hours, and reapplying it and reapplying it, it just gets like — it's so hard not to break out."