Dapper dandy Paul Feig showed up for our interview in a three-piece suit. The always impeccably-dressed television veteran, who created Freaks and Geeks, crossed over to feature films in a big way with 2011s surprise smash Bridesmaids. Feig sat down with PW to talk about his follow-up, The Heat, a throwback buddy-cop flick starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
PW: Theres a tricky balance to The Heat that reminded me of Beverly Hills Cop. Its a laugh-out-loud comedy, but people are still getting shot in the head.
PAUL FEIG: Its exactly that! I remember going to see Beverly Hills Cop and thinking, This will be fun, I love Eddie Murphy.And then theres an execution right at the beginning. Oh, shit! Also, 48 Hours I love. Those movies were funny, but you got into them because the stakes were real. I personally dont like when a movie is silly. There have been some cop movies that are funny, but the bad guys are goofy, so you know theres no real danger. If theres no real danger, you dont invest. So you have to make sure that tone is consistent and nobodys going too goofy. Ive always wanted to do an action comedy. Back to the 80s! I know, Im stuck in my past.
Speaking of your past, even though most of the industry has shifted to digital, you photographed this movie on good old-fashioned 35mm film?
Yes. Bridesmaids too. Im not militant about it; I just like film. Its what I was trained on. And Ill be honest: When you work with women, film is just friendlier. I mean, HD is rough!
The Heat doesnt have that shitty overlit video look of most recent comedies.
Thats the other thing: Theres a texture you get from film that you just dont get from HD. I dont know how long well be able to keep the film thing going, but as long as we can do it, Ill keep using it. Also, theres a technical reason. When you shoot HD, you can shoot for a long time, but with film, youre limited. Youve got 12 minutes per roll, so we can go on our improv things, but it still ends. I stay on schedule that way, because if I can shoot an hour at a time, Ill shoot an hour at a time. And then were screwed.