'The King of Staten Island': Marisa Tomei and Bel Powley on 'intimacy' of comedy at home (exclusive)

Tom Beasley

The stars of new comedy The King of Staten Island hope that the movie’s release directly into people’s homes will help alleviate some of the struggles of lockdown.

Directed by Judd Apatow, the film was originally set to arrive in cinemas, but will debut instead on video-on-demand platforms as a result of multiplexes remaining shut due to the coronavirus.

The film follows slacker Scott — played by Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson — as he tries to pick up the pieces of his life when his mother dates again for the first time since the death of his father several years previously.

Read more: Apatow on making long comedy movies

British actor Bel Powley, who plays Scott’s on-off girlfriend Kelsey, told Yahoo Movies UK she hoped the film could provide a “distraction” for quarantined viewers.

She said: “It would be nice to see it with a live audience and hear if people find it funny or not.

Kelsey (Bel Powley) and Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) in 'The King of Staten Island'. (Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/Universal)

“But also, considering everything that's going on in the world, I think this is the best way for us to release our film. More people are going to see it this way and it will reach more people.

“The world is going through a lot of s*** right now, so hopefully it will give people a little laugh and a distraction and some relief.”

Read more: Films available to stream early due to coronavirus

Co-star Marisa Tomei, who plays Scott’s mother, said there’s an “intimacy” that comes with watching a comedy like this at home.

She added: “This is such a film about deep, intimate relationships, as well as them being so funny.

“It would be interesting to see it both ways, but I think it will make up for it seeing it this way.”

Marisa Tomei and Pete Davidson in 'The King of Staten Island'. (Credit: Mary Cybulski/Universal)

The King of Staten Island is the latest release from Universal to bypass the big screen in pursuit of the premium video-on-demand (PVOD) model.

This has caused some friction among major cinema chains, with AMC — which owns Odeon in the UK — stating that they will not show the studio’s movies when their venues are able to re-open.

Read more: Inside the battle between Universal and cinema chains

Apatow’s film is receiving strong reviews from critics, currently boasting a 76% approval score on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

The King of Staten Island is available to rent at home from 12 June.