Director’s Chair Introduction: Paul Feig

by Tony Cogan · November 30, 2020 · Director's Chair · No Comments

Deadline: 2 January 2021

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Hello everyone, it’s time to reveal the director that will be highlighted for December’s Director’s Chair and this month, the featured director is Paul Feig.

Feig got his start in film and TV with acting, having minor roles in films like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Heavyweights, along with roles in TV shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. His work behind the camera got its start when Feig teamed up with Judd Apatow to create Freaks and Geeks. Whilst the show only lasted one season it became a cult classic and provided early exposure for future big names like Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. Feig made his jump to film in 2003 with I Am David, although the film received mixed to negative reviews.

Feig’s second film adapted a story told on This American Life with Unaccompanied Minors (also known as Grounded in the UK), which received mostly negative reviews. Around the time of his first two films, Feig was also working in TV, directing episodes of Arrested Development, Weeds, The Office (US), 30 Rock, Mad Men and Parks and Recreation.

Feig’s third film, Bridesmaids, is probably his biggest success. Upon release, the film received rave reviews, ultimately being nominated for two Oscars, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and served as a touchstone for discussions about women in comedy. Bridesmaids also marked the start of recurring collaborations between Feig and Melissa McCarthy, which carried over into Feig’s next film, The Heat. The film received mixed reviews, praising the chemistry between Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock but calling the film predictable, whist the film was also a box office success.

Feig’s fifth film, Spy, moved into the action-comedy route, with reviews praising Feig’s writing and direction and the performances from Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham, and was another box office success. At this time, Feig also acted as a producer on The Peanuts Movie and created the web series Other Space.

After Spy, Feig moved into franchise blockbusters directing the reboot of Ghostbusters. After the film was announced, to say there was a backlash is an understatement. At one point, the trailer for the film was the 9th most disliked trailer on YouTube with the negative comments defined by a wave of sexism and racism. Upon release, the film received mixed to positive reviews, but financially the film was a box office bomb, with Sony deciding not to follow up this side of the Ghostbusters universe, instead deciding to follow up the original series instead.

After Ghostbusters, Feig moved into the thriller genre with A Simple Favour, which was a moderate box office success, and received positive reviews for the performances of Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding and the plot twists in the script. Feig’s most recent film is Last Christmas, working from a script by Emma Thompson and inspired by the music of George Michael. Whilst the film was successful at the box office it received mixed to negative reviews, praising Emilia Clarke’s performance, but criticising the predictable nature of the film. Feig’s next projects are producing an American adaptation of This Country and he is set to direct an adaptation of The School for Good and Evil.

As a reminder, the films of Feig you can cover are below:

  • I Am David
  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • Bridesmaids
  • The Heat
  • Spy
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • A Simple Favour
  • Last Christmas

I look forward to reading what you send me.