Amy Schumer – comedian, TV star and newly-minted film actress via the Judd Apatow-directed rom-com “Trainwreck,” which she wrote – is trying to make sense of modern feminism.
“I feel like there’s this epidemic of women apologizing for themselves now, just for breathing,” she said on a recent visit to San Francisco to promote the film (which opens July 17) with Apatow.
It’s all about corporate greed, she says: “Television shows want to make money, so they make reality shows with basketball wives – women who, at some point, have just had sex with an athlete. So what we’re seeing in the media for girls, it’s like, ’These are our role models?’”
But Schumer, 34, aims to shake up the status quo.
Her Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer” couches sharp social commentary in ribald humor. In her third season, she has mocked male obsession with women’s buttocks in a hip-hop video “Milk, Milk, Lemonade” that hilariously points out where the “fudge is made.” In another bit, she stumbles across Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette, picnicking to celebrate Louis-Dreyfus’ Hollywood-decreed “Last Fuckable Day.”
In her episode-long, black-and-white spoof of “12 Angry Men,” an all-dude (and all-star) jury debates Schumer’s broadcast-ready attractiveness. The verdict? Yeah, they’d all probably do her.
In “Trainwreck,” Schumer plays a perky reporter for a sleazy tabloid called S’Nuff, who – when her sneering editor (Tilda Swinton) asks how she feels about athletics – replies, “Sports are stupid, and anyone who likes them is a lesser person.”
Of course, she’s assigned to cover a nice-guy sports doctor (“Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader, playing straight, alongside other show regulars in cameos). He falls for her, but the hard-drinking gal can’t seem to commit, and hilarity ensues – especially with LeBron James as a sensitive metrosexual, worried about Amy’s intentions with his physician pal.
Apatow was the one who prompted Schumer to jump to movies. After hearing her on “The Howard Stern Show” telling stories about her dad and her relationships, he says, “I just had a weird feeling that these were movies. And now, when I think that, I try and make it happen.”
He encouraged her to write a script, and then retool her first draft to make it even more personal.
“Trainwreck,” which has a lot of heart, is likely to be a hit for Schumer, who’s enjoying a stellar year, including learning that Madonna wanted her to open her New York City concerts. She says, “Chris Rock called me up, going, ‘Madonna wants your phone number.’ And I was like, ‘It’s already weird to me that you’re on my phone! I haven’t gotten used to that yet!’”
IF YOU GO
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James
Written by: Amy Schumer
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Running time: 2 hours, 2 minutes