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Pete Davidson: Goal of new film was to help me move forward after father’s death

The comedian lost his firefighter father on September 11, 2001.

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Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island (Universal Pictures/Mary Cybulsk/PA)

Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island (Universal Pictures/Mary Cybulsk/PA)

Pete Davidson in The King Of Staten Island (Universal Pictures/Mary Cybulsk/PA)

Pete Davidson has said he hoped making a film that addressed his grief over the death of his father would help him “move forward, and find that new chapter in life”.

The comedian, 26, who was seven when his firefighter father died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, plays an aspiring tattoo artist dealing with the loss of his own firefighter father in the movie The King Of Staten Island, which he also co-wrote.

Discussing how it felt to make himself vulnerable in the film, he told the PA news agency: “It was a little scary, but everybody really made me feel really comfortable and one of the main goals in making this film was not only for the character in the movie but for me personally, was to be able to move forward, and find that new chapter in life where you could move past your past.

“I think we were able to do that, both in the film and in my life.”

Davidson wrote the script with the film’s director Judd Apatow, as well as comedian Dave Sirus, and he said that helped him navigate how autobiographical he was willing to make the project.

He said: “I had a lot of trust in Judd because he’s my friend so I think it was really easy for me to go that deep, I don’t think I would have been able to go that deep if I didn’t have him and such a great cast and crew.

“One of the main things was we would talk about it and we would ask each other ‘Hey is this too far, is this comfortable for you?’

“I think because we had such an honest and open conversation that it made it easy for me to do so.”

He also discussed the importance of addressing mental health struggles, saying that he was influenced by his rapper friend Kid Cudi, whose music is used on the soundtrack.

He said: “I think when you are open and honest I think it can only be helpful.

“I was really fortunate enough when I was growing up that Kid Cudi was my hero and he was always very open and honest about his feelings and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

“So my goal was always to just like ‘if you’re struggling out there, you’re not alone, a lot of us are having a difficult time’.

The comedian added that the film portrays what he thinks his life would have been like if he had not found his chosen career path, having been cast in the US sketch show Saturday Night Live when he was just 20.

He said: “Comedy saved my life and what would happen to Pete if he never found comedy and I think tattooing minors in the woods is probably where I would be at.”

The King Of Staten Island is available to rent at home from June 12, from Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV & iTunes, Google Play and other digital retailers.

PA Media