The King of Staten Island story follows the life of Scott Carlin – played by Pete Davidson – a high school dropout who dreams of opening a tattoo restaurant. Currently, living with his mother, he has still not been able to cope with the death of his father who was a firefighter. Things take a whole new turn when his sister leaves for college and his mother starts dating Ray, a firefighter. Fans noticed that Pete Davidson and his character had many similarities. Thus making them wonder the obvious question, Is The King of Staten Island based on a true story?
According to an interview of Judd Apatow, the director, screenwriter and producer of the film, with The New York Times, The King of Staten Island story is a reimagination of Pete Davidson's life. The King of Staten Island story is what could have happened if Pete Davidson didn't find comedy. If he wanted to become a tattoo artist instead. Pete Davidson himself added that The King of Staten Island story has "75%" similarities to his real life. In other words, The King of Staten Island story is a semi-autobiography that is mostly non-fiction and partly fiction. Having answered the question, is The King of Staten Island based on a true story, we dive into the next question in everyone's mind: which parts of the movie are true and which are not?
When the movie ends, fans see that the movie is a dedication to Scott Davidson, Pete Davidson's father. Like Scott Carlin's late father, even Pete Davidson's real father was a firefighter. The movie tells that Scott's father died in a hotel fire. In reality, Scott Davidson actually died during the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center. Discussing the movie and his personal life, Pete Davidson told CBS Sunday Morning that he wanted the movie to be a "cleansing." He was able to come to terms with his father's death by telling the story.
Pete Davidson told in the movie's official press release that the movie was "a love letter to his mother." Like Scott Carlin, even Pete Davidson lives with his mother in Staten Island. However, Pete Davidson living in a basement under his mother's home is a choice he made. While promoting his Netflix show, Pete Davidson: Alive From New York, he showed his place and shared that he moved there to avoid people. Precisely, Pete Davidson lives in the basement by choice and not by circumstance like his character, Scott Carlin.
What many might have not noticed is that Pete Davidson's mother made a cameo in the movie. She played a nurse working in the same hospital as Scott Carlin's mother, played by Marisa Tomei. There were also other Easter eggs in the movie. For instance, Pete Davidson's grandfather also made a cameo appearance in the movie. He played Scott's grandfather and appeared at the graduation party scene. Similar to Scott Carlin, even Pete Davidson has a sister who is in college.
One of the primary difference between Pete Davidson and Scott Carlin is their profession. While Pete Davidson is an accomplished comedian, Scott Carlin aspires of opening a tattoo restaurant. However, no one seems to be supportive of the dream. For instance, his sister thinks it is a bad idea because no one wants to see someone getting a tattoo while they eat. Besides even his friends – on whom he practices his tattooing skills – do not like his tattoos. One even call his tattoos "stupid."
In reality, Pete Davidson has a lot of tattoos like his character. He did not want to become a tattoo artist though. Instead, he was passionate about comedy and landed his SNL gig at the age of 20. Moreover, Pete Davidson is not a highschool dropout like Scott.
Although not interested in building a relationship with his mother's new boyfriend, Ray, Scott Carlin goes to a baseball game with Ray. There, Ray suggests they eat hotdogs. Scott reveals that he has Crohn's disease. He even goes on to explain his condition in detail, thus embarrassing Ray in front of his friends. Pete Davidson told in an interview with High Times that he suffers from Crohn's disease. He added that weed was the only thing that would help him eat. This is further reflected in the movie when viewers see Scott smoking weed in the movie. Moreover, Pete Davidson's dark circles and lean body structure are often associated with his Crohn's disease. In one scene, Scott Carlin's girlfriend brings an online date to make Scott jealous. She ends up scolding Scott for having dark circles and looking so fatigued.
The King of Staten Island story also gave us an insight into Scott Carlin's psychological struggles. In the movie's opening scene, Scott drives a car recklessly. He has his eyes closed and does not wear his seatbelt. Pete Davidson revealed in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning that he used to do the same thing. He said that he used to drive like that on a closed road at night. In the same interview, he revealed that he had suicidal thoughts that were "pretty dark and scary."
Image Courtesy - The King of Staten Island Official website
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