Before Kevin Thompson got to work on the production design of The King of Staten Island, a semi-autobiographical comedy influenced by the life of Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, he headed straight to the source. Thompson, along with director Judd Apatow and producer Barry Mendel, joined Davidson in his hometown of Staten Island—New York City’s smallest borough by population—to get a personal tour of the comedian’s roots.
The group saw all of Davidson’s haunts—from Denino’s Restaurant, an old-school pizzeria, to the modest homes where he grew up. They instantaneously decided to film almost entirely on location. “We were like, ‘Why don’t we just do the real thing?’” Thompson says. “That way, Pete could smell the authenticity and be familiar and comfortable.”
After all, the film, streaming on