Paul Feig is about to watch "Bridesmaids" from start to end for the first time since its 2011 premiere -- and for a good cause.
"We decided so many people had lost out on their wedding during quarantine -- or other people who were just supposed to be in weddings," he said. "So we figured, I've got a movie about weddings that people still enjoy watching. Why don't we have a little fun? We're going to watch the movie together."
"Bridesmaids" starred Wiig as Annie, a woman who is named maid-of-honor for her best friend Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding but finds herself in fierce competition with Helen (Rose Byrne), one of Lillian's new friends, along the way. The film also stars Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey as Lillian's other bridesmaids.
The Zoom event -- which is open to everyone -- is being held to promote Feig's new gin, Artingstall's. For each person who RSVPs, Artingstall's will donate $1 to Family Promise, a charity helping families who are experiencing homelessness.
Feig promises a lot of fun in the form of behind-the-scene stories, little bits of trivia, "a surprise guest or two" and whatever pops into his brain while laughing along with the Oscar-nominated film.
"GMA" caught up with the "Freaks and Geeks" creator to discuss the legacy of "Bridesmaids," why it never got a sequel and why he has gravitated toward female-centric stories in his film career.
The women of "Bridesmaids" are essentially the Avengers of funny ladies in Hollywood. How did the cast come together?
Casting this movie was just so much fun. The most frustrating thing was that there were so many worthy candidates, because there are so many funny women out there. It was really just kind of finding the perfect group who were hilarious, talented and also who just had chemistry together, who really meshed and brought a different perspective to each one of these roles. We looked at a lot of different people and, once we got it down to who we thought we liked, then we did a lot of mixing and matching. That's how we settled on this super group we had for the film.
It was so exciting the very first time we did a rehearsal together -- it wasn't even rehearsal, it was just kind of getting together and reading through the script and then having them sort of get in character and play off each other and improvise different things. Once we had them, they made the characters their own and we wrote to them to make it as strong for them as possible.
It's so fun when actors break character in the middle of jokes. Who was the person on the set who broke character the most?
First of all, I have a very hard time not ruining takes. I'm actually kind of famous for ruining takes. I've actually been thrown off the set a couple of times because I'm too disruptive. But I find it delightful. It makes me know what we're doing is funny.
If I had to pick the one person on our cast who probably broke more than anybody else, it would probably be Rose Byrne. Rose is a pretty easy mark. Then when she did the movie "Spy" with Melissa (McCarthy), I thought she maybe had gotten used to Melissa's sense of humor, but Rose broke just as many times on that.
How do you view the legacy of "Bridesmaids" now, almost 10 years later?
When you make a movie, you always hope it's going to stand some sort of test of time, or at least have some longevity, but you never know for sure. This one definitely has seemed to have done that, because so many people come up to me to this day and say how much they love the movie, that they watched it so many times.
I think it's relevant and has longevity simply because, if you take all the outrageous stuff that's in it, all the really funny, crazy stuff in there, it's really a beautiful little emotional story about somebody trying to save a friendship. I don't really look at the movie as being a romantic comedy, even though there is the whole storyline of [Wiig's character] finding Officer Rhodes and finding happiness with him, it's really more about her healing herself. The only way she could actually have any kind of decent relationship is when she heals herself and her friendship. And her relationship with Rose's character, too. I always face all my comedies like they're dramas that are just funny.
There's been lots of speculation about a sequel. Why hasn't it happened?
I know Kristen has always been very reticent to want to do it, and I've never pushed it either. It seems easy to do a sequel to this, because you would just have a crazy wedding. But, again, the reason this movie worked in the first place is it's this one woman's journey through this crisis and healing herself. That's what makes you invest in the film and pulls you along. To do a sequel, you can't suddenly [have] her character going through another crisis and she's got to solve it again but, look, never say never.
You've directed so many amazing movies with a mostly female cast -- "Bridesmaids," "The Heat," "Spy," "A Simple Favor" and 2016's "Ghostbusters." What specifically draws you to those projects?
I just love stories about women and women's friendships. It's something I never really saw portrayed that much onscreen. From time to time it was, but not that much.
Also, I have known so many funny women over the course of my life -- most of my friends growing up were girls and I just always felt more comfortable around women, just because I had so many bullies and all that kind of thing. I'd always run over to the ladies. I love the sense of humor. I love the camaraderie. A bunch of guys get together, it gets a little aggressive sometimes. I don't like that; it's not my thing. I just want to tell these stories because I'm fascinated by them and I love working with talented women.
"Bridesmaids" and the "Ghostbusters" reboot were treated so differently. Why do you think films about and starring women have a tendency of being treated harsher than ones about and starring men, and how is that changing?
It's the evidence of the problem of how women have not gotten the same fair shake in entertainment that men have. If you go back to the movies in the '30s and the '40s, there were so many female stars, and the roles they were playing were so equal to the men. It was really kind of a meeting of the minds in those old screwball comedies and beyond.
Then, once we get into the blockbuster mentality, where movies were a little more aimed at 15-year-old boys -- it seemed to always be the demographic you always heard about in Hollywood -- we started getting portrayals of women from a 15-year-old boy's perspective, which is either as my mom who's mean to me and doesn't let me do what I want or it's the girl I'm in love with, who I'm afraid to talk to. It just kind of created this real one-dimensionality to women's portrayals.
Then, the only movies women were getting, that they were allowed to really be the stars of, where these romantic comedies or these romances, which then seemed to be aimed so heavily at an all-female audience. Then you got this term I can't stand, personally, which is a "chick flick." It became this thing for guys to go, like, "Oh, there's women in that movie, so that's a chick flick." Then it's just something to be written off of not being a "real movie," and that just sort of self-perpetuated to the point where any movie starring a woman was looked at that way.
Fortunately, now we're getting better portrayals onscreen -- even looking at Charlize Theron in "Mad Max" (2015's "Fury Road") and that kind of thing, these kick-ass characters. It just needs to open up so there's all this just three-dimensional portrayals of women that are just realistic and they don't have to be strong female characters. They can be imperfect, flawed characters the same way that men get to play for decades and decades and decades.
Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.