New "Ghostbusters" are out for rent, which caused heated controversy a year before its release. This is because the director Paul Fig decided to make all the heroes women when restarting the franchise, which part of the geek community perceived as an outrage, and the liberal community, in turn, was outraged by the reaction of the geeks - well, it started. Meanwhile, Paul Fig could not have been otherwise - for the last ten years he has only done that he has been working as an evangelist for a new female comedy. It was he who directed "Bachelorette in Vegas" about female friendship, "Cops in a Skirt", in the classic genre of buddy-movie, only with women, and "Spy" - a benefit performance of Melissa McCarthy. We spoke to him about why he decided to relaunch the cult film with a female cast, inequality in the industry, and female comedy.
So you've filmed the new female cast of Ghostbusters, and the internet has gone crazy, and you're probably tired of talking about it …
But I’ll ask you anyway: I’ve seen a lot of articles over the past months that it’s stupid not to allow women to be “Hunters”, but to be honest, I haven’t seen those with whom this dispute was conducted; Have you ever met such a person yourself?
No, really, I have not met either, they all live on the Internet, and not one of them has ever come up to me and said anything like that. And I went to Sai-Fi conventions quite a lot, met hundreds of Hunters fans - all of them were extremely enthusiastic and positive. There is only one tiny corner on the Internet, where all the haters gathered and cooperated, and for some reason the media paid attention to them - and thus, as it were, legitimized, recognized. And all of a sudden, everyone just started writing about how the fans took up arms against us.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that there is an echo of this scandal in the film itself: the main villain, in fact, is a geek and partly symbolizes this offended angry minority
Well, a little, in general for me the whole line with the villain is about how much one angry person with some convictions can do. Things like that happen all the time in the real world. It is clear that we have all sorts of monsters in the film, but the very idea of how one person, armed with technology, can practically destroy an entire city, for me is a little more than just a horror movie, it is quite modern.
Who came up with the idea of making "Hunters" women at all - you or the studio?
Ya. Even when I was filming "Spy", Ivan Raitman (director of the original film and producer of a new one - Ed.) Approached me and offered to film the script that they had at that time - then it was still a sequel. But I didn’t answer him anything, because I didn’t really understand what I could do about it. Then Sony kept pushing me, asked me for my ideas, and then I thought, okay, why were the original Hunters so cool? Perhaps because the best comedians of their time were filmed there. And the best comedians of our time, at least the best I know, are these wonderful women I work with. And if I could relaunch the franchise with them, create their own legend - that would definitely be interesting to me. I mean, creating completely new characters and immersing them in a world that has never seen ghosts before and has never known any paranormal threat at all - this is the story that I know how to tell. And I told Sony about it, and they suddenly agreed.
Yeah. True, at first they seemed to be a little unsure about this - after all, it was planned to make a male and female version of the film in parallel, like two parallel unrelated stories. What eventually happened to the male?
Oh, this is a strange story, it came from somewhere when we were already working on the film, but no one, including the producers, had any idea who invented it and why. It might have been discussed at some point, even before we started filming, but the fact is that when we started making Ghostbusters, they were the only Hunters.
By the way, that women are the best comedians. You are indeed the last few years in the forefront of the renaissance of female comedy: "Bachelorette Party in Vegas", "Cops in Skirts", "Spy". and on TV, your track record is also indicative: Studio 30, Parks and Recreation, Sister Jackie. This is clearly not a coincidence, is it?
Well, I just do what I love, and I love funny women. I know a lot of such people, I have been friends with such all my life, and about the same amount I watched how women were simply not allowed to be funny in the cinema, they were not given roles that would be both funny, and at the same time voluminous, versatile. And this, in a sense, for me was the state of an ideal storm - no one else around does anything, and I am simply most comfortable working with female comedians, I feel on the same wavelength with them. I want to believe that I understand what they are going through and how they are feeling, so I am interested in telling their stories - of course, working on these stories together to tell them correctly; so that other women are close and understandable.
That is why I like stories about women in the profession so much - after all, in any profession you need to somehow assert yourself, gain respect, prove your suitability. This is a universal thing, it is also understandable to any man. And telling such stories through women is more interesting not only because it is more difficult for them, but also because few people else do it, women had to experience such stories in the cinema through male characters for a very long time, but now they can finally see and yourself on the screen. And it is also useful for men to look at such situations from a female perspective.
At the same time, it is symptomatic that a man has to do such a thing in modern Hollywood. Do you think you could do the same if you yourself were a woman?
Oh, I don’t know. But most likely not. I mean, this is how business works now, and this, of course, is very bad. I've always said that the last thing I would like to be is the kind of person who has a monopoly on female comedy, so we need more female directors, cameramen, screenwriters, producers. Balance is very important. When only men are working on a film, the female characters are unnatural, when only women are working, male characters are affected. It is important to achieve balance on the set, this is the only way to make a movie with multifaceted characters. We, for example, have secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who, to put it mildly, is not at all an intelligent person, and he, of course, is very grotesque, but he still turned out to be more or less natural. Moreover, from time immemorial this type of film was female.
Yes, he reminded me of Seri from Studio 30, and it's a funny twist that he's a man
Haha, yes, exactly.
But the real sensation of the film turned out to be Kate McKinnon - did you know in advance that her Holtzman would turn out so powerful?
Well, Kate is a hurricane actress, she has natural strength, she is so inventive and charismatic that it was not at all surprising to me how much her acting stands out from the crowd. Her and, by the way, Leslie Jones. And this is perhaps thanks to the more confident and down-to-earth performance of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig - they can both be like a hurricane and the center of attention, but they are also brilliant dramatic actresses who can be an anchor for the whole story while Kate and Leslie rage. …
In the film, there are only tiny hints that Holtzman is a lesbian, but the press noticed this and put pressure on you, and you eventually admitted it. But is this fact really important to her character?
Indeed, it is in no way important, on the contrary - Kate was very impressed by the fact that this is a film about women in the profession, in which there is no important romantic line at all. She really liked that this was not an important factor at all. In every second comedy, a love story is driven by a plot, but we do not, we only have Kristen Wiig slightly fascinated by the character of Chris Hemsworth, that's all love.
And the last question: please tell me that it was not you who came up with this new version of the title song with Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott
Oh, this song. Yes, it was offered to us at Sony. But honestly, I liked her - I mean, she looks good in the scene where she plays, especially Missy Elliott's verse. It is not a title, and I would never have thought of doing it as a title. But funny.