LOS ANGELES - The new movie "The Big Sick" is a romantic comedy based on a true story. It's about a budding Pakistani stand-up comic who isn't interested in his parents' plan for an arranged marriage, especially after he falls in love on his own.
The real-life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon plays out with Zoe Kazan taking on the role of Emily, since the real Emily is not an actress.
"I think this movie makes us more vulnerable and more bare than I've ever been with my stand-up," Nanjiani said.
"I'm more of writer than a comedian," Gordon said. "So I get to have the extra layer of not even being in front of people."
The big twist in "The Big Sick" is the leading lady unexpectedly falls into a coma, just as the two appear to be on the outs. The situation feels real because it was.
"It certainly starts from a very, very real place," Nanjiani said. "I would say the emotional core of it is very real."
Kazan said some elements were exaggerated or pulled back for the characters, but the overall story is very real.
"In real life, Kumail and Emily got married three months after the events of this movie so I think that they were very serious about each other. And I think they might have made this (fictional) Kumail a little more commitment phobic than he actually was in life," Kazan said.
The movie also has Ray Romano as Emily's father, and Apatow was one of the movie's producers.
"It's interesting that when we were testing it-- we always show a lot of audiences while we're editing to see how we're doing-- it tested higher than any movie I ever made," Apatow said. "Higher than 'Bridesmaids,' higher than 'Knocked Up.'"
Holly Hunter took on the role of Emily's mother.
"We were making the recipe up as we went along in lots of ways," said Hunter. "Which was one of the great pleasures of doing this movie. The collaboration was true. The movie walked the walk."
"The Big Sick" is rated R.