Director Paul Feig has been one of the most outspoken voices about the lack of female-centered projects in Hollywood. His 2011 comedy Bridesmaids was a huge success, and this summer’s action-comedy The Heat will continue Feig’s pattern of mainstream movies featuring strong female characters at their core.
With that in mind, Feig has been developing the first of a potential spy-franchise for 20th Century Fox currently titled Susan Cooper. Although intended as a comedy, sources indicate the tone will be more realistic (inspired by the grounded approach to James Bond in Casino Royale), as opposed to the broad, cartoonish humor of movies like Johnny English or Get Smart.
The director’s Feigco Entertainment has a first-look deal with Fox, and the shingle’s executive vice-president Jessie Henderson will be involved as a producer. Fox’s Daria Cercek will be the studio’s eyes and ears on the project.
Feig has evidently tasked his company with finding R-rated comedies and projects similar in theme and spirit to Bridesmaids, which made $288 million worldwide and proved a welcome alternative to the male-driven superhero blockbusters currently dominating the multiplex. Feig is also developing a mother-daughter comedy with Chernin Entertainment, to be scripted by The Heat writer Kate Dippold.
There are no other details on Susan Cooper, but the project is said to be a two-hander in the mold of The Heat, which means two juicy roles for female stars.
Feig’s CV includes stints as director on Freaks and Geeks (which he co-created), as well as 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, both of which feature strong female leads. Beyond the need for counter-programming for audiences looking to skip superhero/comic book movies in favor of something else, Feig’s choices point to a commendable support for woman-centric projects.
There’s a demographic for movies like Bridesmaids, but more importantly, there’s a host of female comics, writers, and directors who tend to be sidelined by the testosterone-fueled brawny guys in armor which are dominating our popular culture. Even when given important roles like Amy Adams or Diane Lane in Man of Steel, their parts are generally underwritten.
So whoever ends up cast as Susan Cooper (couldn’t you see Kristen Wiig killing in that role as a lady super-spy?), expect a fun and ribald espionage romp. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.
The Heat opens in U.S. theaters on June 28th, 2013.
Source: The Wrap