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Paul Feig Is Making Another All-Female Movie. When Did He Become The Biggest Feminist In Hollywood?

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | December 12, 2013 | Comments ()


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We all know that Paul Feig had a big hit in 2011 with the female-oriented comedy Bridesmaids. The movie’s success ($169,106,725, 14th highest domestic gross that year) was considered a game changer. Women could anchor a comedy and a mostly female cast can draw a crowd. 2011 seems awfully late for that lesson to be learned, but we learned it. Presumably. Feig had another huge hit this year re-teaming with Melissa McCarthy and bringing Sandra Bullock on board for The Heat. This was another monster hit ($159,578,352, 13th highest domestic gross so far this year) and, once again presumably, the lesson we learned is that yes, Virginia, women can represent in the action genre. Even if it is action/comedy.

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Why do I keep saying “presumably?” Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps because The Heat was the only major studio release this summer with women in the lead roles. It’s been awhile since 2011. Shouldn’t would have seen more of the alleged ripples we were promised from the success of Bridesmaids? Sure we’ve had some great roles for women this year. Between Gravity (man is Sandy having a good year), Catching Fire and Frozen (plucky princesses count!), the fall movie season had a pretty decent representation and empowering roles.

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But what about the Christmas releases? What about the premium Oscar rush? August: Osage County is definitely female friendly. As is at least some of American Hustle. Are we counting Scarlett Johansson’s voice in Her? The female character (played by Evangeline Lilly) who was invented to save us from the sausage fest that is The Hobbit? Emma Thompson’s shrewish (and hideously inaccurate) P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks? That doesn’t sound terrible, but when you pull the camera back for a wider shot you’ll see that The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Her Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Wolf Of Wall Street, most of American Hustle, Lone Survivor and Grudge Match are all about men. Not just “happen to feature men.” Those films are all about exploring definitions of masculinity. Oh yes, even Anchorman 2.

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That’ll bring us back to Paul Feig, of all people, who is doing his level best to carve out a larger space for women-driven films in Hollywood. It was announced today that Feig will be producing (and possibly directing) a new comedy vehicle for “a group of ethnically diverse comic actresses.” You hear that, SNL? The premise of the film hasn’t been released, but the script is based on Feig’s original concept (you hear that Hollywood?) and will be written by Melissa Stack who wrote another, yet-to-be-released female comedy about two women (Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann) who team up to take revenge on a man who’s cheating on both of them. Based on the premise, I doubt that movie will pass the Bechdel test, but, hey, chest bumps!

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Okay but before Paul Feig can make this awesome ethnically diverse female comedy, he’s going to first re-team with Melissa McCarthy (basically his muse at this point) for the espionage flick Susan Cooper. The movie (co-starring Rose Byrne who is SO fun in comedies and Jason Statham who, well, we’ll see!) takes on the James Bond concept with McCarthy and Statham as a spy team. I hope it’s not a re-hash of The Heat with McCarthy as the wild card and Statham as the straight man. That wasn’t my favorite (or most original) dynamic. But no matter what, we have to hand it to Feig for the good work he’s doing and his impeccable taste in muses.

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(via Deadline)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • SaBrinaStillHatesDisqus

    Susan Cooper sounds unnatural and against G-d's plan. Men and women cannot be spy friends.

  • AudioSuede

    As someone who just re-watched The Holiday, I can say that the world does not need any more movies starring Cameron Diaz anytime soon.

  • Emm82

    Also,the world needs more Kate Winslet, and Jack Black can be cute when he's not being a dick.

  • bastich

    I have to admit, I've always been a huge fan of Cameron Diaz's chest bumps.

  • BAM

    Anything that involves more Rose Byrne is good in my book.

  • BWeaves

    So Travers is not portrayed accurately? She was a bisexual who adopted one of a set of twins and didn't tell him he had a twin brother. Somehow, I don't see Disney working that into the plot.

  • BlackRabbit

    I have faith that the good Pajibans could whip up a proper Disneyesque song for that situation.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I should like to take this opportunity to remind all of you that the opposite of a "sausage fest" is a "clam bake".

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I now have a title for my American Pie-esque female-centric coming-of-age teen movie set at a Cape Cod resort.

  • Jim

    "I hope it’s not a re-hash of The Heat with McCarthy as the wild card and Statham as the straight man."

    Me as well but not to the other side of the pendulum where she's too straight. I'd like to see her funny and in charge - cuz, let's face it, I love Statham to death but ask yourself: McCathy vs Statham - who's going to play "the smart one"?

  • Naye

    Pretty much. I think Statham can play dumb and straight man at the same time, while McCarthy's character drags him around trying to get spy shit done being really funny at the same time.

  • Jim

    OK, I'm in. Money for the ticket's in my fist as I sit here.

  • Maddy

    I don't know how relevant this is, but that article about Saving Mr Banks was depressing. I love both Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, and I was hoping this was more nuanced than it sounds. I'll probably still go and see it, but I guess the fact that this is a Disney film overpowers everything else. I kind of just want to see a film about Travers now - she sounds really interesting, not just the shrewish old lady that she seems to be typecast as in this film.

  • Jill

    I agree, the article was depressing. I was looking forward to seeing it with my mom during the holidays, but she's a pretty cool ball buster who'll probably see right through this flick and, um, not be amused.

  • As I posted on the other thread, I think it's totally the perfect "watch it with family over the holidays" movie. Yeah, a little treacly... but Emma Thompson can sell anything. See it anyway!!

  • Cowtools

    Statham can do deadpan comedy very well (see Snatch). I'll anxiously be anticipating that Susan Cooper flick. (though the title sounds like a biography of the Dark Is Rising author)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    This sent me to Wiki to see if Susan Cooper was actually a spy. If she was, Wiki doesn't mention it. It does, however, mention that she and Hume Cronyn married after Jessica Tandy died, which I did not know.

  • Cowtools

    NOOOOOOO! Hume & Jessica were my OTP!!!
    Humica 4 eva!!!

  • Bert_McGurt

    "It's an unlicensed boxing match. It's not a tickling competition!"

  • Guest

    I think that title belongs to Cuaron. Feig is great but Bridesmaids had a modest budget so was not a big risk. Meanwhile Cuaron put a 50 year old woman struggling alone at the core of a 100m blockbuster.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Fi--Fifty? Like, 5 in the tens place followed by a 0 in the ones 50? 5 and 0 together with no spaces in between, decimal points, or other hidden numerals? Just plain 50?

    I call witchcraft. Like the best, or the worst (because I think we may be looking at virgin blood sacrifices here), witchcraft. But damn.

  • the dude

    It's insane that she's fifty!! She looks SO good in that film!! I love her!!

  • Alberto Cox Délano

    You have obe Paul Feig in the comedy department and one Joe Wright in the drama department, that's a pretty good headstart. I guess that as a talented filmmaker, who has managed to get some say into what or what doesn't go in your movies, you surely have a responsibility into who you cast and what themes you deal with. But also I'd love to see a movie by a typical "masculine" director (say Chris Nolan) centered on women for sure.

  • I think Paul Fieg became Hollywood's premiere feminist the moment he created Lindsay Weir.

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