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Is The King of Staten Island Based on a True Story?

June 11, 2020
3 min read

They say comedy comes from a place of conflict. Without conflict, comedy cannot exist. ‘The King of Staten Island’ might seem to lean towards conflict a bit too much at first. However, the film ends up proving to be extremely wholesome, presenting a rather up-close look at its protagonist’s journey that would make viewers laugh out loud and reach for a box of tissues at the same time. The movie is directed by the prominent filmmaker, Judd Apatow who is known for helming ‘Knocked Up‘ and ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin.’

The story revolves around a 20-something guy named Scott. A tattooing enthusiast, Scott is depicted to be living with his mother and spending most of his day smoking pot with his friends. However, he has been avoiding his pain from the death of his firefighting father when he was seven. When Scott’s mother starts dating another firefighter, it ends up opening the floodgates for him and making him confront his feelings. Pete Davidson plays the role of Scott. He is joined by several talented actors like Bill Burr, Marisa Tomei, and Steve Buscemi.

Is The King of Staten Island Based on Pete Davidson’s Life?

Many viewers would have wondered whether ‘The King of Staten Island’ is based on an actual story. The movie feels deeply personal, almost as if the protagonist was living his life in front of the viewers’ eyes. The reason for that is because ‘The King of Staten Island’ is based on the real-life struggles of the lead actor Pete Davidson.

The first thing to note here is that ‘The King of Staten Island’ is just based on Davidson’s real struggles. It is not a direct retelling of his story. Hence, a lot of the plot has been fictionalized. You can watch Davidson and others involved in the movie talk about it in the following video:

In reality, Davidson did lose his father who was also a firefighter, like Scott’s character, during 9/11. Davidson has had a tough time dealing with his grief ever since. Once, while he was working on the ‘Saturday Night Live’ set, Davidson had posted the following words on his Instagram account: “I really don’t want to be on this earth anymore. I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last.” Fortunately, he got lots of support during these trying times. Davidson has been quite open about his mental health issues.

‘The King Of Staten Island’ imagines a character who is going through trauma similar to Davidson. However, Scott is shown to not have the support of comedy like Davidson did. In doing so, the movie imagines how Davidson might have dealt with his grief and found himself if he did not find comedy. Apart from that, Davidson also expresses his love and support to his mother. Scott’s mother is an integral character in the film and that is how Davidson portrays how his mother and he finally let go of their grief.

‘The King of Staten Island’ also depicts the protagonist dealing with his addiction to marijuana. Davidson used to be addicted to marijuana as well, and that led to his issues worsening. He has revealed how he suffered from borderline personality disorder and how marijuana use was negatively affecting his state. “I found out I have BPD, which is borderline personality disorder,” Healthline reported about Davidson.

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