INTERVIEW: Paul Feig Talks A Simple Favour, Freaks and Geeks, Ghostbusters & The Box Office

Interviewed by Dave Curtis

Paul Feig is in the midst of a PR promo tour which will take him all over the world. At the start of his career, Paul wrote Freaks and Geeks which is now considered a cult classic but initially was considered a flop and quickly cancelled. Now the man who directed the hugely successful comedies Bridesmaids, Spy and the much talked about Ghostbusters remake is about to embark on a new challenge. A Simple Favour starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, which is based on the hugely popular novel by Darcey Bell, is his latest endeavour. Not one to shy away from a conversation, Paul chats to us about his new film and what its like working with Anna and Blake. He also talks about his experience working on Ghostbusters and what he enjoys about filmmaking.

The following has been transcribed from a telephone interview between Dave and Paul.


Hello Paul, How are you?

I’m good, how are you?

I’m good. Thank you very much for talking to us.

My pleasure. Thank you for taking the time.

It must be a long day. It was your premiere last night wasn’t it?

Yes it was (laughter). I’m still feeling the effects. It was quite a celebration, but very very fun.

I could only imagine, with your sense of style I imagine it being very good.

(Laughter)

So Paul, ”A Simple Favour’- its a slight change in direction for you in that it is a thriller. Are you a fan of the genre?

Oh yeah. They are probably my favourite thing to watch, I’ve always loved them. Technically I don’t watch a lot of comedy. Its the bit I work in so I really enjoy the heightened tension and just the kind of drama and everything about thrillers. I also really love the old Hitchcock thrillers which were really fun and I kind of think that kind of thing is missing from the thrillers today. I still love them, but I really like the fun old ones.

Yeah a good thriller is quite hard to come across nowadays.

Well you know Hitchcock wasn’t afraid to inject humour into the characters and add quirkiness into them in a way that would make them fun. It can still be a real thriller and still let people have a good time.

Is that what attracted you to the project, were you approached by the studio or were you actively searching for something different?

I really wanted to find a thriller. You look at all my movies, they are all comedies really. You know there is a wedding movie, a buddy cop comedy, a spy movie. So a thriller was something I always wanted to do, but it’s one of the those genres I didn’t really know how to write. I feel like I would have to write it from scratch. So it was one of those things when you say hopefully a project will come in, that does and the script got sent to us. My company, we have a deal with Fox and at the time Fox 2000 had bought the book and had Jessica Sharzer write a version of it. They sent it to us because basically we had a producing deal with them. They were like ‘We have this movie and we don’t know what it is because its a thriller but its also really crazy and its kind of funny but we don’t really know’. So they were like ‘Maybe you can figure it out’. I read it and I just loved it so much and I said this is the thriller I’ve been looking for. This is one I know I can make. I can make it funny and fun and its mainly because A) it has so many twists and turns which I loved and B) because of the character that Anna Kendrick plays because I thought I can just get comedy out of that character. First of all its exactly the kind of character that’s in all my movies. Which is the awkward person, undervalued and sort of underestimated who really hasn’t found their place in the world yet. By going through whatever situation the movie throws at them to become a better person because of it and so that was my in. Just a fact that there was this nerdy mum who none of the other parents like. Its very earnest, sweet and that’s what I loved about it. I always want to make my movies good natured, you know even if they are dark. I don’t like things that are ugly and have a very negative statement about the human race in general. If you look at my movies they aren’t mean spirited.

Did you know of the book beforehand or was it the script that caught your attention?

Yeah it was the script. I read that first and then I read the book after that, but it was really the script which I thought was really fun. What Jessica Sharzer did which was so amazing, was that she really took the best moments from the book and then kind of mixed them around in a way that made it much better for the screen.

She is a wonderful screenwriter. I watched ‘Nerve’ the other day and I thought that was a good film. A bit of a hidden gem.

Oh yeah, and what a great person. A great partner to have, somebody who is so wonderful and so open to trying anything.

The trailer states that this is from your darker side. Should we be worried from now on, is this going to be something that is going to carry on?

(laughter) Honestly every project is new for me and I just want to tell great stories and so all the films that get sent to me, that I respond to or what idea I have that I want to write. But my next movie is going to be more of a romcom, kind of very fun, emotional movie. But I would love to work in the thriller genre again. I want to work in every genre that I can. Howard Hawks is my favourite director and the fact he worked affectingly in so many different genres has always been a inspiration to me and I think that’s the way to go.

You come across as a fun guy and a fun director. Was it fun making ‘A Simple Favour’ because it must of been fun making ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Spy’, but was this as enjoyable?

Oh yeah really fun. Sometimes even more fun than doing straighter comedy because you are getting so much out of the script than you already have because its so tightly plotted that you don’t have a lot of room to really to play around in that way. What you get to do is relish all these extreme emotions and these quirky extreme characters and so there is something incredibly fun about that. It helps when you have actors that are game and Anna and Blake were just so game to play and have fun with it and then I’m able to do my favourite thing which is to surround them with great supporting characters who are funny and quirky and just be so additive to the proceedings.

Talking about Blake and Anna, just from the trailer they look like they share wonderful chemistry. Was it like that from day one or had they met before or had you had rehearsals?

No not really. They only really met at a few times at social events over the years, showbiz events. They didn’t really know each other at all and you know when you are hiring movie star you can’t really go ‘Hey come in and audition with [this] person and see if you have chemistry’. You hire them and hope it works. But they hit it off from day one. I mean the chemistry was there and the dynamic of those characters was just kind of played in to their natural dynamic and also how they got to know each other and all of that. The way Blake’s character drops into Stephanie’s life and you know it was like when you cast somebody in a movie and you are like ‘and here is your partner out of nowhere’.

Yeah I’ve watched a couple of interviews with them recently and they just seem to get on really well, so it’s really nice to watch a film when two leads are so good together and actually have a friendship.

Yeah its really, really nice. But I’ve found in my career that all the actors I’ve worked with tend to just get along because they are just really professional and they are team players. You know the best movie stars are team players and not out for themselves. They know they are only as good as the people they are working with. That’s what is so nice, they know and realise they need each other.

You seem to attract many fantastic actresses like Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Rose Byrne, Sandra Bullock, Leslie Jones and now Anna and Blake, what do you think attracts them to your projects in particular?

Well I think I have projects that have really good roles for women and the thing that I hate is people saying its strong female leads. No its not that, its just that they are good three dimensional roles and they can be strong and weak and vulnerable and they’re smart and they mess up. It allows whoever is going to play the role to just have a fully developed fun character and show off their comedic chops or just show off what a good actor they are. So you realise how bad things have been for actresses for so long. There weren’t enough roles that they could really sink their teeth into.

I totally agree with you. I think you have been spearheading the revival of good quality female comedies, starting with Bridesmaids, Girls Trip, Rough Night and most recently The Spy Who Dumped Me, which I felt was heavenly influenced by you. Kate McKinnon is just brilliant in that.

She is just so great. Thanks. The good thing now is that studios are letting people make movies about women and god forbid letting women behind the camera to direct them too. Its slowly course correcting and I mean its such a major course correction that they have to do. They’ve behind for a long time but at least its starting [to change].

Did you feel least pressure working on A Simple Favour compared to your other films?

You always feel pressure because of how much the movie costs. If it doesn’t do well there is still a mark against you because you may have made a bad decision or you are just creatively off. So I always definitely feel the pressure regardless, but it was nice not having to carry the pressure of an enormous budget because that help wins some fights and arguments you have with the studio. If you want something and they don’t want it you’re like ‘hey do you know much money I’m not making to do this, you know how much I’m sacrificing to do this!’ So yeah it really allows me to experiment a little more and do the things I wanted to do. That said the studio was so supportive of us because the movie ended up going to Lionsgate. It was going to be Fox 2000 and they at the last minute got nervous about it and decided not to do it. Lionsgate swept in and kept us on schedule and I will be eternally grateful. I’m really, really grateful to them for that.

Talking about the box office, is that something you look at. Do you worry about it or do you finish the film, finish post then go on holiday and try not to think about it. Because it seems some directors don’t seem to care, but do you worry about it?

All I worry about is the box office, its drives everything I do, every decision I make, every sleepless night. I’ve got different perspective of this than a lot of other people which is that I was in movie jail once. I started really good and fell apart really badly and then I was allowed to make movies again. That was a hard lesson like “unless you make me some money”, unless you get return of their investment you don’t get to do it again. So I’m sadly obsessed with it, but it does mean that I’m trying to make movies that I know are going to entertain the biggest amount of people. Well that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m not trying to shoot a little niche film I want, no matter how much my movies cost because I want everybody to see them, because I’m proud of them and want them to entertain.

Well I think you are doing a good job because all your projects make a good profit. For example Bridesmaids made a ridiculous amount of money from a moderate budget. So I don’t think you have to worry. (laughter)

Well thanks, the old saying is true, you’re only as good as your last picture. You never lose sight of that. You never rest on your laurels. Then they go and start giving you life time achievement awards and don’t let you work anymore.

(laughter) Well you don’t want one of those yet. Talking about your last picture Ghostbusters, which I really enjoyed, did the response from so called fanboys put you off for a while or did you brush it off?

Oh yeah it definitely bummed me out, it was a real assault which I wasn’t prepared for. Now I realise I made so many mistakes and how I dealt with all of that, because I just didn’t expect it. It really broad sided me because all my interactions on the internet before that were just absolutely lovely and just supportive. There was whole little group of people that liked what I did. So when I announced that project I just expected everyone was just going to be really happy (he laughs) and then there was daily stuff of awful awfulness. At the same time there were so many nice people. You just tend to focus and notice the bad stuff. It definitely threw me and definitely put me off but it didn’t stop my desire in doing stuff. It just made me think about ‘Ok what am I going to do next and what’s the next thing I want to say and what road do I want to go down to entertain people?’ Do I want to make another giant movie right away or do I want to make something? I don’t want to say smaller because that sounds less commercial, just something that’s not on the same scale, but hopefully something that is as entertaining or even more so.

You have a gift in casting male actors who are naturally funny but aren’t really known for their comedy chops like Jon Hamm, Jason Statham and Chris Hemsworth. Do you take credit for that? I truly believe if there was no Ghostbusters there would be no Thor: Ragnarok because Chris Hemsworth really shows his funny bones in it.

I mean I’ll own part of it, he is a funny guy. When I really got inspired, well it was a double thing that happened because we have the same agents so when it came to Ghostbusters my agent said ‘hey Chris Hemsworth said if you want him to do anything in your movie, he really wants to do a movie that his kids could enjoy’ so I was like ‘wow that would be awesome like to have Thor being their receptionist.’ Then I saw he hosted Saturday Night Live and I just thought he was really funny. What I look for, I don’t know if I look for people who are funny, I look to see if they have a sense of humour about themselves.

I’ve got to mention Freaks and Geeks, I think people would be disappointed if I didn’t. Your CV for TV is very impressive. You directed some episodes of The Office (US), Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, and Freaks and Geeks. Do you still get offered to do more TV?

I love TV. TV is in such an amazing place right now. I wish TV would have been in this place when we did Freaks and Geeks, we might still be on the air. We were such a fish out the water at the time, just an hour long dramedy. It just wasn’t what people were looking for at that moment. But I love TV and what’s great about TV now is the fact that it is embracing the realization of story telling and so these series are big long movies. So I love that, but I never love anything more than the challenge of trying to tell a complete story in two hours. It’s the hardest thing to do but the most satisfying thing to do.


We’d like to say a huge thank you to Paul for taking the time to chat with Dave!

A Simple Favour is out now in the US and releases in UK cinemas 20th September!

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Watch This Space: 6th – 12th November

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

The Killing of a Sacred Deer: Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest directorial effort has a limited release here in the UK, but we highly recommend you seeking out a screening near you if possible. Those of you who enjoyed Lanthimos’ ‘The Lobster’, which also starred Colin Farrell, are in for a treat with his latest film. You can read our full review later this week! 

Murder on the Orient Express: Kenneth Branagh both directs and stars in the latest adaption of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, but just how well does Branagh cope as both director and main star of the film? Our full verdict arrives on our site later this week (and on time, might we add!)

On TV

Monday

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (9pm, SYFY): Angelina Jolie grabs a pair of pistols and raids some tombs in this first attempt to bring beloved video game character, Lara Croft, to the big screen. In her first silver screen outing, Lara is goes up against super secret societ, the Illuminati, in a race to find an ancient artifact that possesses the ability to control time. All in all, it’s not a bad effort  from all involved and it’s a good excuse to watch Jolie kick some ass, and she’s joined by Daniel Craig and Iain Glen. It might be worth revisiting this in preparation for the upcoming reboot, which will star Alicia Vikander in the titular role.

The Conjuring 2 (6:40pm, Sky Cinema): James Wan’s sequel to his transformative paranormal horror ‘The Conjuring’ returns charming couple Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the cunning Ed and Lorraine Warren to their fearless pursuit of malevolent spirits terrorizing helpless families. Based around the true story of the Enfield haunting, round two continues Wan’s masterful building of tension and careful use of jump scares that free your attention to engage with the characters and nightmarish imagery that will have you hooked to this chilling case on Monday night.

Tuesday

Bridesmaids (9pm, ITV2): “It’s coming out of me like lava” depicts an unforgettable Melissa McCarthy scene that provides relentless laughter in Paul Feig’s comedy of 2011. Comedic starlet’s Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Bryne and a trifle more deliver stomach-aching hilarity with hyperbolic entertainment by simply following a group of women planning their friend’s wedding. Timeless fun hemmed with realistic dilemmas we can all connect to carries this giggle-fest into the hall of fame that’s bound to brighten anybody’s Tuesday evening.

Akira (11:30pm, SYFY): Hard to believe that ‘Akira’ first came out way back in 1988, and whilst hailed amongst anime fans as one of the best anime films ever made, the masses might not quite realise just how influential this film was and continues to be. Set in the dystopian “Neo-Tokyo”, the story focuses on a biker gang member who is turned into a rampaging psychopath by a shady military project. Massively ahead of its time and with visuals that are utterly iconic, ‘Akira’ is not just an anime masterpiece, but a masterpiece of modern cinema. For fans of futuristic sci-fi and dsytopian stories, this is an absolute must-watch, and a great entry point for anime as well.

Superbad (10:15pm, Sky Cinema Comedy): Arguably one of the best comedies of in recent years, ‘Superbad’ still entertains with every viewing, whether it’s your first or your 100th time. 10 years since it’s release, ‘Superbad’ and some of it’s iconic lines are still referenced today, which just demonstrates how loved it is. Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are 3 awkward high school friends who plan to end their high school senior year on a high by actually getting themselves invited to a party. With appearances from Emma Ston, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Joe Lo Truglio

Wednesday

The Inbetweeners Movie (9pm, E4): The brilliantly hilarious ‘The Inbetweeners’ ran on Channel 4 from 2008 – 2011 and followed Will, Simon, Jay, and Neil and their hapless journey through their teenage years. There’s not a person I didn’t know at school that didn’t watch this show, so when a film was released in 2011 everyone clambered to see the four awkward teenagers head on their lads holiday to Malia. Hilarity ensues from the the second it starts and the laughs keep coming right up until the credits begin to roll. Prepare to cringe like you’ve never cringed before, learn some iconic dance moves, and witness the ‘Pussy Patrol’ in action. Wednesday night sorted!

Moana (6:10pm, Sky Cinema Disney): When I was a young boy, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’ were the big movies that were released by Disney. I loved them, I bought the soundtracks on cassette and played them over and over. Years went past and I never really felt same way about the other Disney releases, especially during their lull in the 00’s. So when I heard that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was involved in a new Disney animation by Ron Clements and John Musker, the writers of ‘Aladdin’, I became very excited. The result is the magnificent ‘Moana’. The film is packed with memorable songs and funny characters. ‘Moana’ is about a girl who travels across the ocean to save her island and people. This isn’t just an animation for kids, this is an animation for adults as well. It’s all truly beautiful. This is an instant classic. Enjoy.

Thursday

X-Men (7pm, Film4): This Bryan Singer film, along with ‘Blade’, could easily be the ones responsible for the current regeneration of the superhero / comic-book movie. Singer and Marvel brought a fresh look to a genre long since stale with exciting characters, cutting edge special effects and a cast of top name stars to deliver fun, fast and dazzling action for a franchise backed up with an extensive source material. Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen lead the younger heroes and villains like Hugh Jackman (before he became the franchise poster boy), Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Ray Park and Rebecca Romijn to name but a few. And what is also refreshing is how simple and minimal it is before comic book movies aimed to be bigger, better and louder each year. One of the original and best CBMs.

X-Men 2 (9pm, Film4): Bryan Singer brings back everything from the original ‘X-Men’ for this story of struggling to be accepted by society, feeling judged by others and adjusting to  brave new world; something many people can relate to which adds a big chunk of humanity, depth and emotion to our fictional heroes and villains on their journey. For that reason, it’s a great sequel that expands as a sequel should do on the original, with the original cast returning as well as new faces like Alan Cumming, Kelly Hu and Brian Cox. While it does seem to drag it’s heels a little in telling an extensive story, it never-the-less delivers all you want from an ‘X-Men’ movie and sets up far more to come.

The Invention Of Lying (10pm SyFy): British comedy powerhouse Ricky Gervais writes and directs his debut film in an attempt to conquer America with co-stars such as Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey and Louis C.K in a world where lying does not exist until Gervais invents the first one and his life changes forever.  After the thin veil of morality is played out. the film runs thin with many silly gags and jokes that are meant to be funny because no-one can lie, so all the sexual insults and put downs delivered dead-pan are meant to be witty, but they’re not. It’s just an excuse to throw as many jokes in as possible to offend and shock the audience with black comedy. It’s all too obvious and lazy for someone like Ricky Gervais to pen, and it’s not his best material at all. Stick to the stand-up and docu-soaps as they are where his true talent lies.

Friday

Dredd (11pm, Film4): This film deserves all the praise it gets, primarily for the fact it took risks. It aimed for an R / 18 rating to deliver brutal action, wonderfully authentic violence and adult themes where each bullet, punch and slice can be felt by us without catering to kids. With a tight plot that doesn’t require much thought (basically a Western take on ‘The Raid: Redemption’), Karl Urban erases Sylvester Stallone from memory as Judge Dredd in this stylish and visually grim looking film that harkens back to the unrestrained might of the 90s where directors weren’t afraid to lay down the R / 18 rating for 98mins of pure gold. Dredd dispenses justice as only Dredd can, taking on drug baron MaMa (Lena Headey) in a dangerous tower-block with his fellow Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). One way in, no way out. It’s a simple as that. And we STILL don’t have a sequel, and ‘Pitch Perfect’ has two. Sort it out Hollywood.

Silver Linings Playbook (12:05am, C4): In David O. Russell’s comedy-drama, Bradley Cooper is Pat Solatano, a man who vows effortlessly to regain his relationship with his estranged wife, who’s put a restraining order on him for nearly beating a man to death after getting caught cheating. Through his move back home with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver), Pat meets a widowed Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of one of his buddy’s girlfriend. Tiffany approaches Pat casually with intercourse, but Pat insists he’s got his eyes set on rekindling his marriage. Tiffany then compromises to help him get her back if he will be her partner in an upcoming dance competition. Cooper and Lawrence share undeniable chemistry in their performances. Emotions begin to run high and feelings unfold as ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ tempts our charming side and the ability to take a gamble on romantic comedy love.

Iron Man 2 (8pm, E4): The most unfairly maligned of all the MCU films, in my opinion – Iron Man 2 is bags of fun with a great cast. Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff features prominently (definitely a bonus for me) and the film also stars Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke and Sam Bloomin’ Rockwell. The Iron Man films have never been my favourite of the MCU but it’s mystifying to me that people prefer IM3 to this. I like that Romanoff is given her own backstory with Tony Stark (as she is with Steve Rogers in Winter Soldier), which makes her choice of who to side with in Civil War all the more interesting. Like many others, I am crying out for Black Widow to have her own film. Anyway, I like Iron Man 2 (one of my many wrong MCU opinions) and Sam Rockwell is always worth your time. Give it another chance.

A huge thank you to contributors this week:  Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Jo Craig, Fiona Underhill, Dave Curtis, Sarah Buddery

 

Watch This Space: October 12 – 18 [ladies week]

Welcome to a special edition of your weekly go-to film guide. This week, WatchThisSpace is celebrating women in film, so read on and enjoy Molly’s recommendations of some great female performances in the cinema, on the TV and a few of her all time favourites.

IN THE CINEMA

The Women’s Rights movement materialises in ‘Suffragette’, the latest offering from British director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady). The female-heavy cast and crew is headed by Carey Mulligan, while the film intertwines wrenching personal and political tales of female solidarity and strength. ‘Suffragette’ is in cinemas from Monday 12th October.

Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain star alongside Tom Hiddleston in this thriller-come-romantic story from Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Paying homage to gothic romance, ‘Crimson Peak’ is another British must-see, in cinemas from Friday 16th October.

ON THE TV

MONDAY 21:00 GMT: RenĂ©e Zellweger stars as the famed awkward, honest and self-conscious titular character in ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, the first installment of this romantic comedy series. With a third movie currently in the works, now is the time to switch to ITV2 and catch the original.

WEDNESDAY 18:20 GMT: A screen adaptation of the Jane Austen novel set in 18th century rural England, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ sees Keira Knightly lead as Elizabeth Bennet in a typical British romance film on Film4.

SATURDAY 22:45 GMT: Carey Mulligan returns to our recommendations with a star performance in ‘Drive’, that saw her nominated for a BAFTA back in 2012. See this thrilling offering from Nicholas Winding-Refn on BBC2.

SUNDAY 18:50 GMT: Feminist campaigner, Angelina Jolie, stars as adventurer Lara Croft in this film adaptation of the video game Tomb Raider. Get into the action with ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ on Syfy this Sunday evening.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Thelma & Louise: An original girl-power film, ‘Thelma & Louise’ was branded controversial upon release, apparently due to the discomfort felt by many male viewers (un-fucking-believable). Geena Davis and Susan Surandon are cast perfectly as two women with a new found drive, confidence and zest for life that serves as a perfect example for females everywhere. What doesn’t serve as such a good influence are many of their impulsive choices – but they make for great viewing nonetheless! Ridley Scott directs the first screenplay from Academy Award-winning Callie Khouri, which would inspire Tori Amos’ famous and chilling tune ‘Me And A Gun’.

Girl, Interrupted: A challenge to observe; ‘Girl, Interrupted’ offers a chilling insight into mental health amongst various female characters with varying mental disorders. Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie and Brittany Murphy all offer standout performances in their own, unique way. The roles of strong and submissive women blur, with seemingly powerful sociopathic Jolie unravelling as the movie progresses, meanwhile protagonist Ryder offers a character that you can never quite decipher. Based on Susanna Keysen’s memoir, the idea that this on-screen depiction has some truth at the root of it makes it all the more fascinating.

Bridesmaids: Not only does ‘Bridesmaids’ signify a funny and successful female comedy, it stands against the best comedies regardless of gender. Kristin Wiig is genius as lead character Annie, a woman still trying to find her way and generally refusing to become the responsible woman that she is expected to be. Alongside best friend and bride-to-be Lillian (Maya Rudolph), the duo offer a hilarious take on this major life event, with crude humour catering to both genders and leaving viewers (okay, me) yearning for more.

Erin Brockovich: Where would the list of powerful, shit-hot women in film be without Erin Brockovich? Not only does Julia Roberts provide an inspiring on-screen in character, but we must offer a huge THANK YOU to the real life Erin Brockovich for her phenomenal achievements as a legal clerk and activist, and offering us a woman to aspire to. The true story centres on a legal case against energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company, accused of water contamination in the American town of Hinkley, California. The film covers personal tales, legal struggles and a whole load of stick-it-to-the-man drama.

This week’s special ladies week edition of WatchThisSpace was compiled by Molly Dolan

Watch This Space: August 10 – 16

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Guy Ritchie makes his directing return this week with ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E’, and it certainly looks like it will be a successful return. Action-comedy is a genre that’s difficult to get right, but with Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer and Hugh Grant involved, it looks like this latest effort could be a hit. Expect laughs and thrills in equal measure. 

Audiences in America have been able to enjoy ‘Trainwreck’ for a while now, and we brought UK readers an exclusive review a few weeks back. Now the time has come for audiences here to see Amy Schumer’s big break on the silver screen, in what could be the comedy film of the summer.

Finally, we issue a public warning NOT to waste your time and money on another Adam Sandler led pile of crap. There can be no doubt that ‘Pixels’ is just another in a long line of flops from the moronic actor in his hunt for the next inflated pay cheque.

ON TELEVISION

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: Tune in to ITV2 to see the cult comedy ‘21 Jump Street’. The sequel may only have been slightly better than average, but the original will have you laughing out loud. 

Thursday 21:00 GMT: See how the ‘Alien’ franchise came to pass with modern prequel ‘Prometheus’ on Film4. You don’t need to have seen any of the original ‘Alien’ films in order to enjoy this, so we recommend this as your weekly dose of mind-boggling Sci-Fi, directed by Ridley Scott. If you like this film, you’ll be pleased to know that a second film has been announced.  

Friday 21:00 GMT: Our second recommended comedy of the week comes in the form of ‘Bridesmaids’ on Film4. We said that ’21 Jump Street’ is funny, but this is on a whole different level. One of our favourite comedies here at JumpCut UK, ‘Bridesmaids’ is utterly brilliant and well worth staying in on a Friday night for. 

Saturday 18:15 GMT: Our family film for the weekend is slightly more action-driven than normal, but it’s still a great film to sit down and enjoy together. ‘Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade’ is the third film in the iconic Indiana Jones series (don’t worry, you don’t have to have seen the others). Indiana Jones is as good as film characters get, and that is official after he came top in Empire magazine’s list. Sit back and enjoy on BBC 1. 

Sunday 21:00 GMT: The 9pm Sunday slot has some fantastic films vying for our attention this week. ‘Minority Report’ and ‘Casino Royale’ are on BBC3 and ITV2 respectively, but we’re going to recommend that you watch the Oscar-winning, war drama ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ on Channel4. The film follows the search for Osama Bin Laden, and is as dark as you would expect. This is the film that catapulted Jessica Chastain to Hollywood stardom and it’s easy to see why.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Adventureland: It was a mixed week for Fox Studios last week, after the disastrous reaction to the ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot, but luckily the release of a ‘Deadpool’ trailer managed to salvage some street-cred. Ryan Reynolds may be best known for his infamous ‘Green Lantern’ role, but let’s not hold that against him, because it looks like he’s going to smash it this time around. He’s also pretty great in a supporting role in the underrated, comedy-drama ‘Adventureland’.

American Hustle: Jennifer Lawrence turns 24 on Saturday, and we can’t believe the catalogue of great acting roles she has already put together in such a short space of time. Amongst J-Law’s array of fantastic performances, the one which most stands out has to be her portrayal of the unpredictable, volatile Rosalyn Rosenfeld in ‘American Hustle’. With an all-star cast, top director and a multitude of Academy Award nominations, this film gives a perfect balance of crime and comedy.

Starred Up: You may have missed it, but last week also saw the release of the global trailer for upcoming action film ‘Hitman Agent 47’. Rupert Friend takes the lead role in this video game adaptation, and whilst we aren’t exactly sold on this one, we really enjoyed Friend’s role in prison drama ‘Starred Up’. Gritty as hell, with an equal serving of tense action scenes and poignant, emotional moments, this Brit flick is one of our favourite films from 2014. With rising star Jack O’Connell taking centre stage, and a strong supporting cast, it’s hard to pick fault with this choice.

Gone Girl: We literally cannot avoid talk of Batfleck lately – not that we would want to – and last week was no different. Rumour has it, a select few from the upper echelons of the Warner Bros. society were treated to a work-in-progress screening of ‘Batman v Superman’. Ben Affleck’s performance has been heralded as “the definitive Batman” by these big-wigs, but for now we recommend taking a look at him in action in last year’s dark and twisted ‘Gone Girl’; a film not to be missed, most notably for the stunning performance of Rosamund Pike.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal

Watch This Space: June 1 – June 7

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

This week sees the release of ‘Insidious 3’. The franchise has been received with somewhat muted applause from critics and the films have become incredibly popular with audiences. An early June release does not seem a traditional date for a horror film, where Halloween would seem more appropriate, but we have no doubt screens will be sold out everywhere for this latest instalment.

On the other end of the spectrum we have a new Melissa McCarthy film in ‘Spy’. Whether you’re a fan of her work or not, there is enough star power here to make the film worth a watch. Early reviews are good, and with actors such as Jude Law, Jason Statham and even Miranda Hart popping up this promises to add some humour to the spy genre.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 23:05 GMT: Is Daniel Craig the best Bond ever? Evidence for that argument doesn’t come much stronger than his performance in ‘Skyfall’. Catch 007’s last outing, just in time for the release of ‘Spectre’, on ITV2.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: Another rom-com? Or worse, a chick-flick? Absolutely not! Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy (there she is again) star in the side-splittingly hilarious Bridesmaids’ on Film4. Comedy at it’s best!

Saturday 15:05 GMT: This one comes as a strongly endorsed recommendation from my 5 year old daughter; weird and wonderful animated fun with ‘A Monster In Paris’ on Film4. The harshest little critic I know ranks this one very highly.

Saturday 18:30 GMT: From stylish monsters to something a little more realistic; fighting aliens in space! Catch the first of the latest ‘Star Trek’ franchise, again on trusty old Film4.

Sunday 21:00 GMT: I remember watching this back when it came out. A fantastic film and a great book too, Billy Elliot’ is a proper Northern drama set against the backrdrop of Thatcher’s Britain. A must-see on BBC4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

The Damned United: With the news of FIFA officials being indicted on corruption charges, the game of football has never been brought into disrepute in such a way. Now might be a good time to watch a movie which reminds you of what the beautiful game is really about. Featuring a blistering and committed performance from Michael Sheen, this is a fine feature debut for director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables).

The Class Of ’92: Another film that reminds us just how beautiful the beautiful game really is, ‘The Class of ’92’ chronicles the success of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and the rest of Manchester United’s modern heroes. The documentary is both moving and revealing, with plenty of honest interviews. Any football fan will relish reliving those spectacular closing moments of the 1999 Champions League Final.

Rush: The big news out of Disney this week was not particularly positive. Not least for Olivia Wilde, who is out of a job after the studio scrapped plans for a sequel in the ‘Tron’ series. However, what a good excuse to dig out this fascinating biopic, documenting the rivalry of F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, in which Wilde plays Chris Hemsworth’s love interest.

Bigfoot And The Hendersons: A film I absolutely loved as a child, and one which I myself will be digging out this week to relive some of the finest work of Rick Baker. The Oscar-winning make-up artist retired from film this week and nothing shows off his work better than the 8ft tall sasquatch. This is a fantastically odd family film littered with old school humour.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Chris Winterbottom

All Female Cast Set For Ghostbusters Reboot

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is set for a reunion with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig for his reimagining of the iconic Ghostbusters franchise. Joining them, it is believed that Saturday Night Live regulars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones will complete the foursome. Feig fuelled casting rumours by tweeting a picture of the four ladies yesterday. Read more here.