Paul Feig has helped to lead the charge of bringing funny women to the big screen, directing Bridesmaids and this Summer's upcoming female buddy comedy The Heat, which stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. We caught up with Paul at CinemaCon this week to ask him about trying to "break down that wall" by making more female-driven movies and how well his movie's two stars hit it off when they first met.
Hooray — Kristen Wiig is officially a Hollywood leading lady! The SNL fixture has already proven herself worthy with secondary roles in Adventureland, Whip It, and, lest we forget, her hilarious turn in Knocked Up as a jealous E! employee. Now, quite deservedly, she's getting her very own vehicle.
Wiig co-wrote and will star in the comedy, tentatively titled Bridesmaids, which centers around two friends competing to plan a friend's wedding party (sounds a bit like a sequel to Bride Wars). The best part of all: the Freaks and Geeks team of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig are reteaming for the project; Feig will direct, while Apatow is set to produce.
As a Freaks and Geeks nerd, I couldn't be happier about this reunion — and with Wiig starring, the film has serious potential to be hilarious. Thanks to her burgeoning film career, I wouldn't be surprised to see her saying sayonara to SNL. Do you think she has the chops to handle a leading role?
Over the weekend, a group of Freaks and Geeks alumni — cast members Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Dave (Gruber) Allen, and Steve Bannos and creator Paul Feig — took the stage at San Francisco's Sketchfest to share their memories of the great, underappreciated show. I was there, and this week, I'm sharing some of their best stories with you. I've already told you how the series got started and passed on some tales from the set. In today's final installment, I have trivia from the show, plus news on everyone's new projects. Here goes:
- Linda Cardellini still has the green Army jacket that was practically a part of her body when she played Lindsay. "I thought about bringing it," she told the audience, "but I thought I might look like a gigantic loser."
- Sarah Hagan, who played the conservative Millie, was apparently a shocking amount like her character. Cardellini recalled that in one scene, Millie was supposed to ask Lindsay if Kim "fornicates," but Hagan (who, Cardellini recalled, hadn't talked much about sex at that time) accidentally asked if she "fornicated it." That take ended up in the show.
- Busy Philipps only did the show because she ran into Cardellini in the airport in LA shortly before the show was supposed to start. Philipps' agent had been against her taking the role of Kim Kelly because it was initially only a guest spot for the pilot, but Cardellini — whom she'd known in college — insisted that working together would be fun.
- Samm Levine and Martin Starr were both terrible about learning their lines and would typically just cram the morning of the shoot.
- Linda mastered the art of never eating food on screen; in the dinner scenes, she mostly just pushes her food around and gestures with it, which Paul Feig pointed out is "very teenage girl." She said it was all because of an early job where she didn't realize that if she ate food in one take, she'd need to eat in every take; that experience turned her off lasagna for 10 years. Philipps said it took a Freaks and Geeks scene where she ate more than a dozen donuts over the course of shooting for her to learn that lesson.
To hear my favorite story from the whole discussion and see where you can find your favorite Freaks and Geeks now, just read more
Selma Blair has been focusing on her film career for years, but now she's headed back to the small screen. After a long search, NBC has tapped her to play opposite Molly Shannon in the comedy Kath and Kim.
The show, based on an award-winning Australian series, focuses on the dysfunctional relationship between a mother, Kath (Shannon), and her daughter, Kim (Blair). It's been a high priority at NBC for a while: The network first picked up the pilot a year ago, and NBC entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman was talking it up way back at last summer's TCA, but it was reportedly tough to find the right actresses for the leads. The series comes from Silverman's production company, Reveille, which also adapted The Office and Ugly Betty for US television.
This is Blair's first regular TV role since her breakout appearance as Zoe on the WB's Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane back in 1999. Can you see her playing Shannon's daughter? To watch part of an original Kath and Kim episode, just read more
Over the weekend, a group of Freaks and Geeks alumni — cast members Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Dave (Gruber) Allen, and Steve Bannos and creator Paul Feig — took the stage at San Francisco's Sketchfest to share their memories of the great, underappreciated show. I was there, and this week, I'm sharing some of their best stories with you. Yesterday, I told you how the series got started; today, I have tales of what it was like on set:
- While it seems like the whole cast genuinely likes each other now, that wasn't always the case. "It was really too much like high school sometimes," Cardellini said, with cliques and alliances forming and disbanding.
- Daley said at the time of the show, he was "14 years old and alone," and the big kids wouldn't let him hang out with them. But, he acknowledged, it probably would have been weird to have a young teenager hanging out with actors who were out of high school.
- Some of the nastiest disputes on the set came between Philipps and James Franco. At the time, Philipps said, they could barely even speak to each other: "It was legendary how much we hated each other."
To hear about the biggest dispute Philipps and Franco ever had, and to see where the characters might have gone had there been a season two, just read more
Over the weekend, a group of Freaks and Geeks alumni — cast members Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Dave (Gruber) Allen, and Steve Bannos and creator Paul Feig — took the stage at San Francisco's Sketchfest to share their memories of the great, underappreciated show. I was there, and over the next few days, I'm going to share some of their best stories with you. Let's get started:
- Paul Feig said that when the series began, all of the writers filled out questionnaires about their own best, worst, and most memorable high school experiences. When someone came up with something truly awful, Feig said, his reaction was: "Oh, that's a terrible story! We'll use that on the show!"
- Cardellini, who played geek-turned-freak Lindsay Weir, said sometimes she'd think the stories were so awful or out there, they had to be made up. "Then you would look at Paul, and you'd see the earnest look on his face and the sadness in his eyes, and you'd realize that most of this happened to Paul."
- Feig said he set the show in 1980s Michigan largely because that's what he knew best, but he also had a few specific reasons for that setting: He wanted it to be set in pre-AIDS times so that people were afraid of having sex because they were afraid of sex itself; he wanted his show to be pre-cell phone because technology restricts interpersonal interactions; and he wanted to show Midwestern life because it's so common and real.
More, including Feig's inspiration for Lindsay, if you read more