Maude Apatow is bringing her famous name — but not her famous parents — to a new role.
The elder daughter of comedy tycoon Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann is known for appearing in her family’s films, but her latest project is far from her father’s funny fare.
The 21-year-old is appearing alongside Zendaya in HBO’s new drug- and sex-fueled high school drama “Euphoria,” premiering Sunday at 10 p.m.
It marks her most notable departure yet from family projects. Apatow debuted alongside her younger sister Iris while playing their mother’s fictional children in films their father directed like “Knocked Up,” pseudo-sequel “This Is 40” and “Funny People.” She also appeared in a few episodes of HBO’s “Girls,” which dad Judd executive produced.
“Euphoria,” adapted by “Assassination Nation” scribe and director Sam Levinson, is the American take on the Israeli series of the same name, weaving Levinson’s own experiences into the storyline. The series follows a group of teens through the trials and tribulations of youth, highlighting addiction, risky sexual encounters, questions of identity and the perils of social media.
“The main thing that drew me to it was the way they talk about anxiety and OCD, because that’s something I struggle with, and I’ve never seen it done so well in TV,” Apatow told the Daily News. “I think [Levinson] just really captures this time that we’re living in right now, this weird darkness of what’s going on politically, and social media and … that pressure we all are experiencing right now.”
Though Apatow currently appears in a series of Jergens commercials with her mother and will co-star in her father’s upcoming film collaboration with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson, she says she “never thought I would work with them for the rest of my life.”
Apatow had determined by age 16 that acting was her calling. By 17, she was performing independently of her folks. By 20, she took her father’s advice to “write for yourself” to heart and starred in “Don’t Mind Alice,” a short film she co-wrote and co-directed.
“That’s … I think the coolest thing ever, to be able to write and star in your [own] material,” Apatow says, citing the semi-autobiographical musings of writer-actresses Phoeobe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) and Lena Dunham, who she appeared with on “Girls,” as inspiration.
Infusing her writing with her own unfiltered experiences “makes me nervous to think about,” admits Apatow, who says she’s currently writing a non-autobiographical screenplay that she won’t reveal details on.
Apatow concedes she “had kind of a strange childhood,” though it was more grounded than most might think. “I went to the same school from kindergarten to 12th grade and had a really nice group of friends,” she explains, noting she “had a very different experience” than the teens in “Euphoria.”
But the characters in the show “are like people that I knew or had elements of people I knew in them.”
Of the upcoming film with her father — their first cinematic collaboration without her sister and mother — Apatow told The News, “This is the first time I’ve worked with my dad as more of an adult, which will be interesting. I did all of that [other] stuff when I was so much younger … Now I’ve been through acting training and care more about — it sounds corny, but it’s more about acting. It’s not just me goofing off as a kid.”