Pete Davidson Reflects on "Cathartic" Experience of Writing a Film About His Late Dad

While discussing his new film The King Of Staten Island, Pete Davidson revealed that writing the semi-autobiographical story about his late dad was a "cathartic" experience for him.
By emily belfiore Jun 16, 2020 12:14 PMTags
Related: How Pete Davidson Brought His Real-Life Trauma to New Flick

Pete Davidson is opening up.

During his virtual visit to Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Saturday Night Live star discussed the "cathartic" experience of writing his new film The King Of Staten Island, which is a semi-autobiographical story about Pete's life that follows his journey of dealing with the death of his father Scott Davidson, a first responder who was killed in the line of duty in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"I think it could have been a lot worse if [director] Judd [Apatow] and the crew weren't so sensitive to my feelings," he told host Seth Meyers. "They really made me feel comfortable. So, it was definitely a cathartic experience and it definitely made me feel a lot better as a person."

Speaking to E! News earlier this month, Pete shared that he wanted to take an honest approach when telling his story.

"It's pretty transparent as I could be," he told E! News. "We really wanted to follow this family and tragedy and how it affected them."

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"And we wanted to show how you could overcome tragedy through life experiences," he continued. "So, I think we kept it pretty much—everything that I wanted to do I got to do."

Recognizing how therapeutic The King of Staten Island was for him, the Set It Up star added, "I think when you're able to share a story like this at this magnitude and with so many people, it really allowed me to be as open and honest as I could be and it helped me deal with a lot of my personal demons. This was something, one of the goals for this film was to allow me to put my past behind me and I think we were able to do that."

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While catching up with Seth, Pete admitted that his early drafts of the film were not as moving as the final product.

"Yeah, originally, it was just me and my friend were writing this movie about getting my mom laid and it just got overly disgusting," he explained. "And then Judd turned it and weaved it into this 120 pages of emotion and actual story. So, thank god for him."

The comedian also joked that since The King of Staten Island is so personal to him, he doesn't mind what the critiques say of the film. 

"I felt a lot more comfortable because it's like, if nobody likes this, it's just they don't like me," Pete said. "It's not, like, I was reaching or anything. People just don't like me. That was my way out of it."

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)