Amy Schumer is having a fantastic year. The standup comic, television star and headline magnet is about to add movie star to her resumé.
Inside Amy Schumer, her Peabody Award-winning TV show, makes news every single week, whether it’s tackling topics like high school rape culture in a Friday Night Lights takeoff or assembling a jury, à la 12 Angry Men, to debate whether Schumer is quote, hot enough, unquote, to be on television.
She’s everywhere and soon she’ll be on the big screen in Trainwreck, directed by comedy maestro Judd Apatow from a script by Schumer. In the most unconventional rom-com since Bridesmaids, she stars as a young, promiscuous New York woman who drinks too much and finds true love despite doing everything to avoid it.
“To be me right now is very weird,” she says. “It’s weird, I feel like I am famous all of a sudden. I’ve been kind of recognizable but now it is very different and it is very new. It’s overwhelming. It is a little scary. I’m on the subway and it’s not like one or two people — it’s like the whole car wants a picture. It’s overwhelming.”
“I never thought about being famous. That was never part of my thing, but once it was on the horizon as a possibility, it seemed like a real bummer. I could see there’s no upside. The upside is I sometimes get free appetizers and I can get a reservation at a restaurant. I only go to one place in New York, it’s a tea place, the Tea Cup, and they don’t take reservations but I can make a reservation there. I swear I don’t see another upside. It sucks.”
As that last quote displays, Schumer’s work is characterized by a lack of pretence.
“I like to get rid of artifice,” she says. “I haven’t gone to the bathroom in three days and I’m hungover and that’s OK.”
But these days she’s more often than not very publicly on display.
“It’s very hard for me to be in hair and makeup all the time and clothes I don’t feel comfortable in. Because you do this work you feel proud of, I feel you’re punished by having to dress up like a show poodle.”
Trainwreck is set in New York but not because it is the traditional home of the classic rom-coms, but because “I just don’t know any other city,” she says. “I am a creature of habit. I just like going to the Comedy Cellar and walking around the reservoir in Central Park.”
She may be a creature of habit in her personal life, but has shaken up the formula for her first movie, although she balks at the suggestion that she switched the gender roles in the film.
“It was a complete surprise to me,” she says. “There wasn’t a thought of, ‘I’m playing the male role.’ It makes sense to me. I know in most movies it’s not this way, but in my real life and in the lives of the women I’m close to and in this age, I’ve found that, as somebody who is still out there dating, that the men often times are the more vulnerable of the two and just more sensitive. Mostly about it being over. If you go out with someone once and you’re just not feeling it, if a guy doesn’t call me back it is a blow to the ego, but I’m not like, ‘But … why? I have a great job.’
“It’s funny, I was watching The Bachelorette, I’m a fan. One of the guys was feeling rejected and he kind of turned on her. She didn’t do anything to him but he was like, ‘My ex-girlfriend was twice as hot as her.’ I think the male ego is way more sensitive than the female ego. It was not a conscious decision to reverse the roles. That has really been my experience.”
She says watching the final cut of the film and seeing the audience reaction at SXSW earlier this year “was the best night of my life so far.”
“I’m already proud of the movie. The movie is already a success to me. My peers really like it and I got to give my friends work and they did great in it. Beyond that, I hope it changes the perspective of people who see it. I hope people are a little less likely to judge and women feel more empowered.”