Paul Feig dishes on’Love Life,’ telling women’s stories and quarantine
I have been doing my cocktail time that is quarantine on Instagram. [My wife and I] just did our 62nd show . That’s been fun. We’re able to raise money for COVID-19 charities and hopefully cheer up people with cocktails and also with my ridiculousness. There was that feeling of,”Okay, I could either sit around for all these months and just get work done.” But I wanted to attempt and contribute something. [From the movies ] I highlight a different charity every day that I make sure and vet is accountable and rated and real, and a cocktail is made by us. In times of strife — or any times when people get in a bad mood — I love to have something where you can know that every day, this doofy guy is going to be there as a friend, and then my wife comes on halfway through. It’s low-key and silly. I have had this type of love/hate relationship with the Web through time, but this is one of those moments where you go,”Thank God for the Internet.’ This could be a lot harder, if we didn’t have it.
I like principles, because I like having the ability to play with and bend [them], and every genre comes with its own different set of expectations and rules for an audience. What is so much fun is to subvert these expectations. And also the fact that the vast majority of genres and films has been so male-driven — just to put the lead characters shakes it up today. I can find a great deal of comedy out of that, and also a great deal of character observation since I am a comedy person.
What attracted you to”Love Life?”
Producer/director Paul Feig is a bona-fide starmaker.
Oh yeah. I have seen so many roles for women that I’ve been in the company and observing the business. It didn’t used to be like that. If you go back to the’30s and’40s and look on the screen at the relationships between women and men, they were equal in a way. Somehow it tapered off with the growth of the blockbusters, I think — 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 guy’s good times. It added up over the decades to producing terrible roles for women, so anything I can do to help fix that is something I am very interested in. I love nothing more than creating or helping to facilitate great lead characters, and telling women’s stories.
How have you been spending your time during Hollywood’s production shutdown (due to the pandemic)?
Are you surprised by the longevity of any of your projects?
I am always quite pleasantly surprised that”Freaks and Geeks” keeps going. It has been over 20 years now because we did it. And the fact that it’s still relevant to the people who watch this, and also to young people discovering it all of the time — that’s everything you hope you’re going to get out of something, but nothing you dare to dream you will actually accomplish.
Feig’s most recent series,”Love Life” (premiering May 27 on HBO), stars Anna Kendrick as Darby, a New Yorker trying to navigate the dating scene. Feig spoke to The Post about why he favors stories about women, his pandemic-related Instagram cocktail hour and much more.
[Creator] Sam Boyd brought the idea. I thought it was a terrific idea to do a deep dive into one man’s love life, basically. And seeing how every relationship affects them…I really enjoyed the fact that it was going to be something which wasn’t done in a linear fashion. We could jump from our protagonist in her 20s, 30,s back to her at 15 — and all things in-between — making it almost a bit of a romantic mystery, if you will — basically being like,”Who is she going to end up with, who’s the right person?” This is my second time working with Anna, who had been in my movie”A Simple Favor.” She’s just such a person and a terrific actress.
Lots of your movies play around with genre tropes. Do you enjoy doing that?
Most of your stories include female protagonists. Is that a choice?