The Leslie Mann-Apatows are the Next Door Neighbours, the sort of neighbors you can trust to keep your spare key, give you flour while you’re out, and make you laugh so much that you wake up the whole of the block. In specific, Leslie Mann’s laugh is contagious, and acts as a thermometer for her thoughts. I bear witness to a number of Leslie Laughs during our phone chat with eldest daughter Maude, despite not being in her physical presence: there is the somewhat nervous giggle she does when she mentions something heavy; the roaring chuckle when she (playfully) pokes fun at Maude; the polite, pleasant laugh when there is a conversation break.
Laughter is also an indication of pleasure and a coping tool in their home, an emotional tug-of-war that is often played biographically on the big screen: Leslie Mann’s husband, writer/producer/director Judd Apatow, has written comedies such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and This Is 40, both around a landmark era that was not all that ironically amusing for Leslie’s wife.
“40 was a wild, crazy time in terms of how I felt as a human being,” Leslie Mann tells me before erupting into a belly laugh engulfed in dejection. It was hard. It felt like my entire life flipped upside down. Because I don’t have time to go into all the specifics, you know. So I do know that it gets easier with women out there turning 40 and going through it. And it seems like, you go through a rough period and then things really start to get better, and I’m on the upswing and I’m satisfied. Yeah… there’s hope. Or maybe people are fine about that.
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When things sound like they are falling apart, it’s the family that acts as the main bonding agent to restore Leslie Mann. However, as a mother of a 16-year-old (Iris) and a 21-year-old (Maude), often it requires a little convincing to provide family time. She says, “The only thing I really love to do is spend time with my kids and my husband,” Right, Maude? [laughs]. I’m still trying to find out if I should be around my children, but I don’t want my children to be with me. Iris is 16 and she’s like, ‘Why do you make me feel guilty?
I love to be with my parents!’ But I’m still desperate to spend time with my children and my husband. My husband is the only person that likes to spend time with me.” Maude quickly interjects from the background in true mother-daughter fashion, exclaiming, “That’s not so true for me! Half the time I’m alone!” Leslie Mann back-peddles: “Maude wants a bit more, but Iris doesn’t want to.
Provided that the whole family is in the limelight (Maude recently acted in HBO hit Euphoria and Iris has featured in several of the films of her father, This is 40, Knocked Up, Funny Boys, along with Maude and Leslie), the timetables of the family do not often match. Leslie Mann takes solace in open me-time in these situations.
“I have this Wisdom Timer software on my phone that I meditate every day and I have 21 minutes of tension and anxiety-releasing meditation. I slip my headphones on and I want to take the opportunity to do so throughout the day. It generally begins as a meditation and ends up being a nap. Because it’s a fun little thing about downtime.
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You wouldn’t be able to say from the outside if this past decade was rough on Leslie Mann. The actress glows both on and off the frame from what the camera catches, packed with the sort of radiance you can’t bottle, but Leslie Mann claims it’s the abundance of cans, bottles, and powders in her makeup collection that she needs to thank for her enviable luminosity.
“I sound like I’m overdoing it occasionally. I enjoy packing tons of serums and stronger lotions, which I don’t really know is the right way to do it, but I feel like I look fine that way, but maybe I look a little greasy. But with things in the body, I feel like there is never enough. I love when my skin feels wet and… oh, moist is a gross term.” Leslie Mann lets out a booming laugh before putting on a deep, dopey voice, like Sloth from Goonies: “Moiiiist..
“Maude, helping her mother out of a word-slump, offers, “Hydrated!” Leslie Mann continues, approvingly: “I hate it when my skin begins to feel dry and crepe-y; I want it to feel hydrated. So I’m consuming this powder of collagen [Ed. Note: It’s from Makeup Scoop] and I drink loads of water and then I do the dry-brushing, and then I use the Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer, which is very helpful for hydration. And then there’s the Jergens Damp Skin Glow Moisturizer. And then my skin still looks super hydrated and glow-y, if I like it, with a little color.
“The young actress takes a little more of a laissez-faire approach to her regimen, turning to Maude. “I have a very straightforward schedule, but I do want to understand more. That’s the amazing part that having to see various forms of wearing makeup is about performing on Euphoria. I don’t mind, but I’m fairly clear. I’m going to place the tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, and mascara on and call it a day. Ah! My! Oh! And gel for the eyebrows. I enjoy having my eyebrows [with] the transparent brow gel of Anastasia.
“Despite craving simplicity of beauty, I couldn’t help but wonder if Maude wanted her to play with the same eye-catching, vibe-y looks like her co-stars in Euphoria. “Hey, absolutely! ” she insists. “Yet it took time, too. Less time for cosmetics and hair! I had to get a couple more enjoyable looks while the season went by, so we’ll see where it goes next season.
Euphoria is set on the themes of violence, both physical and substance-related, as playfully encrusted and technicolor as the makeup is on the series (read: rhinestones, cloud-shaped eyeliner, and glitter to the Nth degree), the product of inner demons, family inequalities, and mental health problems caught in turbulently awkward photos, some of which express themselves in the confines of social me
I think it’s tricky because on Instagram you can interact with people and I can chat to people on [it] and make friends with people, and it’s just crazy, but at least I think it’s necessary for me to take a break from it. It’s too many, It’s sad to see how younger generations have been influenced by Instagram for kids my sister’s age, such as 16. It’s a great deal of pressure. So I think taking breaks is necessary. I suppose I have a complex one, I love Instagram, but I dislike Instagram as well.
I decide to play a kind of newlywed-style game with the two as our time comes to an end, asking them to answer each question for the other. As predicted, there was lots of laughter.
MDC: What’s the greatest pet peeve for each other?
MANN: Iris stealing her clothing is Maude’s pet peeve.
APATOW: Yeah, my Goodness, I have no idea what’s yours!
MANN: I’ve had too many!
APATOW: I know! When I don’t do the dishes, your greatest pet peeve is.
MDC: How long would the other guy waste getting ready?
MANN: It takes Maude twenty minutes.
APATOW: Yeah, I don’t know, 10 minutes and… an hour, depending on the day.
MDC: The perfect day-off operation?
MANN: Maude loves relaxing on the sofa and watching “90-Day Fiancé.” For hours. It might be a whole day, a whole season.
APATOW: Doing the same, perhaps, except watching a real crime drama.
MDC: Greatest characteristic?
MANN: Oh my god, they’re full of Maude!
APATOW: Yeah, my Goodness, no! You make me feel ashamed!
MANN: She has the strongest heart and she’s the most gorgeous girl ever. I mean it! She really is! Her greatest attribute is that she’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever known. I mean it!
APATOW: So how am I going to follow that?!
MANN: I know how. It’s easier to be sweet.
APATOW: Oh, I do! Your sense of fun, I don’t know.
[They all erupt in a laugh.]
APATOW: After that, see it’s all going to be terrible! Everything I suggest is going to be bad. But you’re the greatest mum!
MANN: [In a teasing tone] I like your sense of fun, the way you look, the way you dress, the way you dress…
APATOW: Shut up [laughing]!!
MDC: What is the condition for beauty items in your household?
Mann: Normally, I purchase all the goods and then the girls [Maude and Iris Apatow] come in and get what they want. And I recall buying that and needing to go and dig through their drawers and the rest of their things to locate it.
APATOW: My sister’s going to rob stuff, not put it back. I’m going to be in the tub and I’m going to remember she took my conditioner and I’m going to get really angry.
MANN: It would be great if they just went to use it in my space or toilet, but they want to pull it back, too. I need to start locking my house.
What are certain products that you all enjoy sharing?
MANN: We all love hairbrushes by Sheila Stotts.
MANN: For a movie I was doing, I had to get extensions and began using these brushes because they’re soft. Since they’re so great, we all have them.
MANN: We even share Jillian Dempsey’s vibrating Gold Bar! It’s just good.
APATOW: I don’t believe that’s what Iris uses; we just share. Don’t mention that to her.
MDC: What makeup tricks did you teach one another?
MANN: Maude’s pretty nice at getting her eyeshadow on and she’s trying to show me how to put it on. And after working around makeup artists all this time, I really can’t work out how to do anything on my own. So, she’s telling me about lipstick, and I’m teaching her how to look after her eyes.
APATOW: You always advised me not to get my eyebrows plucked. Also, how important it is to hydrate. Per day, I use the Jergens Hydrating Coconut Moisturizer. I am susceptible to dry skin, so it is essential.
It’s cool how the show encouraged individuals to be more experimental in their cosmetics and have fun.
MANN: Well, why do we all have to place black mascara and naked lipstick on it? They’re a bore.
What are some of your regrets concerning beauty?
MANN: I plucked off all the eyebrows, then I had a perm. I think you can get away with plucking your eyebrows a handful of days, but if you do it a bunch, they never develop back. It took the perm forever to expand, so that was a bad time.
With her bottom teeth out, Maude used to grin! We’ve had videos of Maude posing for years with her lower teeth jutting out.
MDC: how do you equate your high school background to the Euphoria characters?
APATOW: I think the cool part about Euphoria is that all of the protagonists remain very grounded and sound genuine, even if the conditions are certainly heightened. In the film, there are so many different styles of characters that viewers can connect to.
Speaking of teen series, this fall marks the 20th anniversary of Judd’s executive-produced Freaks and Geeks. After the days of Euphoria, how do you think the show really holding up?
APATOW: I support Geeks and Freaks! It’s my all-time favorite show. They’re unbelievable. I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw it, so it blew my mind. It’s insane that 20 years have elapsed. I’ve got photographs on set of me as a kid!
MANN That moment, Maude has just began to move about, and we have images of her going on set with Jason Segel, Seth Rogan, and Lizzy Caplan.
APATOW: Always keeping up. It was an ideal presentation.
MANN: A great Euphoria prelude.