My favorite part of talking with Paul Feig about THE HEAT on June 6, 2013 happened right before we started the interview. Having sworn off coffee, he was sipping tea (see photo) and telling me how much he missed a cup o’ java. When I offered to move my coffee where he couldn’t see it, he said, and I quote, “Watching you drink coffee is my porn.” I knew I was going to enjoy our conversation, and I was right. Feig started life as a comic actor, and going over to the other side of the camera has done nothing to dim his comedic spark. Delightfully chatty and breathtakingly insightful, he opened up about how he wants his films to portray gender, the reason that sincerity is the key to comedy, and why he made the decision to cut his cameo from BRIDESMAIDS. We started, though, with a question that I had been waiting years to ask. Whose idea was it for Melissa McCarthy’s character to wear that pearl choker?
THE HEAT is a comedy of polar opposites, crack investigative work, and learning to love a potty mouth. Sandra Bullock is Sarah Ashburne, a crack FBI agent who can’t be fooled, but is eternally mystified about why people don’t like her. Melissa McCarthy is Detective Shannon Mullins, a Boston cop who knows exactly why people to warm up to her, but doesn’t really care. As is the cinematic way, they are thrown together against their will in order to bring down a drug lord with knife-happy underlings. The humor is swift, uncompromising, and skirts stereotypes with a nimble intelligence that isn’t above using a watermelon to bring down a suspect of color. The film co-stars Damian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Taran Killiam, Michael Rappaport, and Tony Hale, among others. Feig directed from a script by Katie Dippold, and he is the creator of television’s late, lamented FREAKS AND GEEKS, as well as having directed several episodes of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, and, on the big screen, he wrote and directed I AM DAVID in a magical realist vain, and he was the man behind the camera of the mega-hit BRIDESMAIDS, which garnered an Oscar™ nomination for McCarthy.