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The blushing bride
©American filmmaker Paul Feig (above) was always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it came to his career. At least that's how he saw it. But at 48-years old he's now the blushing bride. The writer, director and producer's latest filmBridesmaidsis a colossal success, having just passed the $130 million mark at the US box office and opening in Australia last week. Feig said he relates to the central character Annie (Kristen Wiig) who's at a slump in her professional and personal life.
``It's the exactly kind of story I do in everything,'' he said.
``This person doesn't know where they belong in the grand scheme of things and that appeals to me because that's how I feel in every single moment of my life, even when things are going right.
``That's how I felt for a lot of my career. I mean, I think I'm making good work and then . . .
``Bridesmaidsis the first thing I've had a big part in that's been successful.''
Success is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to Feig. After meeting Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin) when they were both teenagers and doing stand-up together, the pair created Emmy-nominated teen seriesFreaks and Geeks. It was cancelled before the end of the first season, but not before it launched the careers of its stars James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. It also became a cult hit. Feig went on to direct several unsuccessful features such asI Am DavidandUnaccompanied Minors, before making a considerably more successful return to TV directingArrested Development, 30 Rock,Mad Men, Weedsand the US version ofThe Office.
But it was Apatow who coaxed him back to the big screen with a ``fantastic script'' from formerSaturday Night Livestar Kristen Wiig and her writing partner Annie Mumolo.
``WithBridesmaids, we wanted to tell a very relatable and real story that appealed to both women and men,'' he said.
``It was easy to avoid all the pitfalls of the chick flick genre because it's not how any of us thought.
``Those types of films come from people doing things they think women want to see, which is really condescending.
``We knew we wanted to go R-rated with it and we wanted women to see other women on screen who are just as dirty as they are.''
From suffering food poisoning in a bridal shop to dropping the C-bomb, the ensemble cast ofBridesmaidsdon't play clean. Feig said he and executive producer Apatow even shot a PG-version of every scene in case the women at test screenings didn't like it.
``But they loved it,'' he said.©
The film follows a rag-tag group ofBridesmaidsas they're led through the pre-wedding rituals of bachelorette parties, bridal showers and dress fittings. Led by Wiig,Bridemaidsalso stars Melissa McCarthy, Jon Hamm, Aussies Rose Byrne and Rebel Wilson (Thank God You're Here, Fat Pizza) in her first big Hollywood role. Wilson plays the sister of Annie's weird room mate,Little Britain's Matt Lucas.
``I'm so happy Rebel's in it, I'm such a big fan of hers,'' said Feig.
``The room mates weren't originally in the script but we knew Matt Lucas wanted to do something in the film but we didn't know where or what.
``Then Rebel came in to audition for one of the bridemaids and she was so hilarious, I turned and said to Judd `she looks like Matt's sister.'
``She's such a great improvisational comedienne and it's so exciting to have her in it.''
With Bridemaids a financial and critical success and talk of a sequel, Feig and Apatow are now working on another comedy starringMad Men's Jon Hamm. Hamm has openly spoken about his appreciation of the skilled and suave Fieg - who's known for wearing a suit to work everyday.
``Other directors are just a bunch of slobs,'' joked Feig, in reference to the director's stereotype of casual dressers.
``I've been doing it for the past 11 years.
``In fact, I went to directMad Menand I showed up on the first day and they thought I was there for casting.''
Bridesmaidsis in cinemas now.