Pete Davidson is used to making fun of himself -- whether it's peppering an interview with self-deprecating jokes or shrugging his way through good-natured anecdotes about drugs and therapy at Saturday Night Live'sWeekend Update desk. But in The King of Staten Island, things are getting a little more serious.
The 26-year-old comedian cowrote the semiautobiographical film with pal Dave Sirus and director Judd Apatow, and recently told ET that making the movie was a cathartic experience for him, personally and professionally.
"I kind of feel a little bit misunderstood," he admitted, "and I feel like, it's a really tricky situation, but I think what Judd and I and Dave Sirus did, I think hopefully it'll get that point across better."
"It's a love letter to pretty much my whole family," he added. "My mom, sister and my dad."
Davidson's father, Scott, was a New York City firefighter who died in service on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was just 7 years old. In The King of Staten Island, he plays Scott, a stoner and slacker who also lost his firefighter dad at the same age.
"I think having to, you know, deal with that sort of thing at such a great scale really helped me heal," the comedian said of playing out a fictionalized version of his life in the movie. "It really made me think that I could put this behind me now, because we like, went through it all together, so I really feel a lot better and I hope some other people can also relate to that."
The SNL star has been open about his struggles with mental health, and he said he hopes Scott's journey toward healing -- which mirrors his own, in a way -- is helpful to any viewers going through a similar experience.