Paul Feig dishes ‘Love Life,’ telling women’s stories and quarantine
His hit 2011 film”Bridesmaids” launched Melissa McCarthy into the stratosphere; his cult TV series,”Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000), was a major early stepping stone for Hollywood A-listers Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Phillips and Linda Cardellini.
Most of your stories include female protagonists. Is that a deliberate choice?
Are you surprised by the longevity of some of your projects?
[Creator] Sam Boyd brought us the idea. I thought it was such a great idea to do a deep dive into one person’s love life, basically. And seeing how each relationship affects them…I really enjoyed the fact that it was going to be something that was not done in a linear manner. We could jump from our protagonist in her 20s, 30,s back to her at 15 — and all points in-between — which makes it almost a tiny romantic mystery, if you will — basically being like,”Who is she going to end up with, who is the ideal person?” She’s just a great actress and such a person.
Oh yeah. I’ve seen so many bad roles for women that I’ve been in the company and observing the small business. It did not used to be like that. If you go back to the’30s and’40s and look at the relationships between women and men on the screen, they were all equal in a excellent way. Somehow it tapered off with the growth of the blockbusters, I believe — it really relegated women to a 15-year-old boy’s image of what women should be, which can be either a supermodel, the prize or the meddling mother/ girlfriend/ spouse getting in the way of the man’s good times. It added up to creating very terrible roles for women, over the decades, so anything I can do to help. I love nothing more than telling women’s stories, and creating or helping to ease great three-dimensional female lead roles.
A lot of your movies play with genre tropes. Why do you enjoy doing that?
Feig talked about why he favors stories about his Instagram cocktail hour, women and more.
I’ve been doing my daily cocktail time that is quarantine . [My wife and I] just did our show. That’s been really fun. We’re in a position to raise money for COVID-19 charities and cheer up people with my ridiculousness and also with cocktails. But I wanted to attempt and contribute something. [In the videos] I emphasize a charity every day I make sure and vet is rated and responsible and real, and we make a cocktail. In times of strife — or some times when people get in a bad mood — I like to have something where you can know that each and every day, this doofy guy will be there as a friend, and then my wife comes on halfway through. It’s silly and low-key. This would be a lot harder if we did not have it.
I am always quite pleasantly surprised that”Freaks and Geeks” keeps going. It’s been over 20 years since we did it. And the fact that it’s still relevant to the men and women who watch it, and also to young people discovering it all the time — that is everything you hope you are going to get out of something, but nothing you ever dare to dream you’ll actually accomplish.
I like rules, because I enjoy having the ability to play with and bend [them], and each genre comes for an audience with its own different set of expectations and rules. What’s so much fun is to subvert those expectations. And also the fact that the vast majority of genres and films has been to set the female lead characters into these genres shakes it up today. Since I am a comedy person, I will find a great deal of comedy from that, in addition to a great deal of character observation.