You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Melissa McCarthy, Paul Feig Thrill SXSW With ‘Spy’

Four years after he arrived to SXSW with “Bridesmaids,” his breakthrough comedy, Paul Feig returned to Austin on Sunday night with “Spy,” a satirical thriller starring Melissa McCarthy as a CIA agent.

Judging by SXSW’s enthusiastic reception, where the crowds laughed even harder than at “Trainwreck,” (which premiered at the Paramount Theatre right before) the screwball caper could be a big hit for Fox when it opens June 5. The tentpole not only features McCarthy in a showy starring role, but also includes meaty supporting parts for Jason Statham, Jude Law and Rose Byrne (as various spies who may or may not be switching teams throughout the film).

“I’ve always wanted to direct a spy movie but I realized no one is ever going to let me direct a Bond movie,” Feig told the audience at the post-screening Q&A. “And I loved working with these funny women, so I thought I’d write something with a woman lead.”

McCarthy, who introduced the film but had to promptly leave Texas to finish another project, talked to Variety last summer in Budapest while shooting “Spy.” She said Feig showed her the script as a friend — the plot centers on a hapless CIA analyst who gets thrown into the line of duty by accident — and she loved the project so much, she asked if he’d consider her for the lead.

But Feig revealed he thought of Statham to play the male lead spy while writing the script. “You have to tip your hat to Paul, he can get you to do anything,” Statham said. “The end result turned out great.”

“Thank you for not killing me,” Feig joked to Statham.

The film also offers another showcase for Byrne, who has turned into a summer comedic staple, between her supporting parts in “Bridesmaids” and “Neighbors.” “It was so fun to insult Melissa all day long,” said Byrne, who plays a villain in the film and designed her own “Dynasty”-like hair.

As he always does in his films, Feig said that he improvised with his cast and employed cross-shooting to get their surprised reaction shots. “Comedy is funny when it feels like it’s in the moment,” Feig said. He’s already hoping to make “Spy 2.” “I think everyone can definitely come back.”

More Film

  • Nordic Film Market: New Pálmason, Hákonarson,

    Nordic Film Market Selects Latest Palmason, Hakonarson, Hafstrom, Ganslandt

    The 20th Nordic Film Market in Göteborg, unspooling Jan. 31-Feb 3, will showcase 16 works in progress including Hlynur Pálmason’s “A White, White Day”, Grímur Hákonarson’s “The County”, Mikael Håfström’s “The Perfect Patient” and Jesper Ganslandt’s “438 Days.” Iceland is well represented this year with top directors and festival darlings Pálmason (“Winter Brothers”), Hákonarson (“Rams”) [...]

  • 'All These Small Moments' Review

    Film Review: 'All These Small Moments'

    The magic of writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s “All These Small Moments” can be found within the intimacy of the scenarios, the authenticity of her earnest characterizations, and the accessibility of the actors’ honest performances. In her deftly polished directorial debut, Costanzo dovetails the primary story about a teen’s coming of age with a secondary [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content