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Paul Feig

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Paul Feig
Paul Feig in London.jpg
Feig in 2018
Paul Samuel Feig

(1962-09-17) September 17, 1962 (age 57)
OccupationFilmmaker, actor
Years active1986–present
Laurie Karon (m. 1994)

Paul Samuel Feig (/fɡ/;[1] born September 17, 1962) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is best known for directing films starring frequent collaborator Melissa McCarthy, including Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013), Spy (2015), and Ghostbusters (2016). He also directed the black comedy mystery film A Simple Favor (2018) and the romantic comedy film Last Christmas (2019).

Feig created the comedy series Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000) and Other Space (2015). He has also directed several episodes of the U.S version of The Office, Arrested Development, Weeds and Nurse Jackie, as well as episodes of Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation. He received nominations for two Primetime Emmy Awards for writing on Freaks and Geeks and three for directing on The Office.

As an actor, Feig is best known for playing Tim the Camp Counselor in the comedy film Heavyweights (1995). He also starred as Bobby Wynn in the sitcom The Jackie Thomas Show (1992–93) and as Mr. Eugene Pool on the sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996–97).

Early life[edit]

Feig was born in and raised in Mount Clemens, Michigan.[2] His mother, Elaine Elizabeth (née Artingstall), was a telephone operator, and his father, Sanford William Feig, owned Ark Surplus on Gratiot Avenue.[3][4][5] Feig's father was born Jewish and converted to Christian Science; Feig's parents met at a church social, and Feig was also raised in Christian Science.[3][6][7]


1986–2010: Early career, Freaks and Geeks and directorial debut[edit]

After a year at Wayne State University, Feig moved to Los Angeles, California and transferred to the University of Southern California. He also worked as a tour guide at Universal Studios Hollywood, embarked on a stand-up comedy act, and landed minor roles on various television shows.[8] Feig also appeared in a number of films, such as Ski Patrol,[9] and in a role alongside Ben Stiller in the 1995 film Heavyweights, in which he played camp counselor Tim. On the first season of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Feig portrayed Mr. Eugene Pool, Sabrina's science teacher.

With Heavyweights co-scripter Judd Apatow, Feig created the short-lived comedy series Freaks and Geeks, inspired by his experiences at Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township, Michigan. The show aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve had aired. Despite the short run, Freaks and Geeks has since maintained a devoted cult following. The show was named in Time magazine's 100 Greatest Shows of All Time,[10] and in summer 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked Freaks and Geeks as the 13th best show of the past 25 years.[11] Feig was nominated for two Emmys for writing the show's pilot and the season finale.

Feig made his directorial debut with the drama film I Am David, which premiered at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. He later directed the Christmas comedy film Unaccompanied Minors (2006).

2011–2016: Bridesmaids and Melissa McCarthy collaborations[edit]

In 2011, Feig was consulted to direct the Apatow-produced comedy film Bridesmaids. Written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, the plot centers on Annie (Wiig), who suffers a series of misfortunes after being asked to serve as maid of honor for her best friend, Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph.[12] Budgeted at $32.5 million, Bridesmaids was both critically and commercially successful, eventually grossing over $288 million worldwide, and served as a touchstone for discussion about women in comedy.[13][14] The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and received multiple other accolades, including Academy Award nominations in the Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay for Wiig and Mumolo.[15]

In 2013, Feig reunited with McCarthy on buddy cop action comedy film The Heat, also starring Sandra Bullock. Directed by Feig and written by Katie Dippold, it centers on a mismatched police pairing who must overcome their differences in order to take down a mobster. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the chemistry, and performances of Bullock and McCarthy,[16] and was a success at the box office, grossing $229 million worldwide against a $43 million budget.[17]

In 2015, Feig wrote, directed, and produced the spy comedy movie Spy for 20th Century Fox, again starring Melissa McCarthy.[18] It follows the life of a secret agent, Susan Cooper, trying to expose the black-market. The film received acclaim from critics and became another box office success at an international gross of $235.7 million.[19] It was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for McCarthy.[20] Also in 2015, Feig produced the animated feature The Peanuts Movie for Blue Sky Studios, based on the Peanuts comic strip and characters created by Charles M. Schulz.[19] That same year, it was announced that Feig will direct a film adaptation of Play-Dohs for Hasbro Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Chernin Entertainment.[21]

In 2016, Feig directed and co-wrote the female driven reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise, starring McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones as four women who begin a ghost-catching business in New York City.[22] The announcement of the female-led cast in 2015 drew a polarized response from the public and Internet backlash,[23] leading to the film's IMDb page and associated YouTube videos receiving low ratings prior to the film's release.[24][25] The film grossed $229 million worldwide against a production budget of $144 million, becoming the highest-grossing live-action comedy domestically of 2016.[26] Due to its high production and marketing budget, it is considered a box office bomb.[27]

2017–present: Snatched and A Simple Favor[edit]

In 2017, Feig produced Jonathan Levine's comedy film Snatched, starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as a mother-daughter couple who are abducted while on vacation in South America.[28] The same year, he began production on the comedy thriller A Simple Favor. Based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, it stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, and follows a small town blogger who tries to solve the disappearance of her mysterious and rich best friend. Released in September 2018, the film received generally favorable reviews from critics, with praise for the plot twists and performances of Kendrick and Lively.[29]

In 2018 Feig directed an advertisement for Diet Coke starring Hayley Magnus which was shown during the Superbowl.[30]

In March 2019, following 20th Century Fox's acquisition by The Walt Disney Company, Feig announced he would be moving his Feigco production studio to Universal Pictures.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Feig has been married to Laurie Karon since September 23, 1994.



Year Film
Director Producer Writer Notes
2003 I Am David Yes Yes Directorial debut
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Yes
2011 Bridesmaids Yes
2013 The Heat Yes
2015 Spy Yes Yes Yes
2016 Ghostbusters Yes executive Yes Co-written with Katie Dippold
2018 A Simple Favor Yes Yes
2019 Last Christmas[33] Yes Yes
TBA Dark Army Yes Yes Yes

Producer only

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title
Role Note
1987 Zombie High Emmerson
Three O'Clock High Hall Monitor
1990 Ski Patrol Stanley
Zoo Radio Chester Drawer
1994 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Oscar Audience Member
1995 The TV Wheel Various
Heavyweights Tim The Camp Counselor
1996 That Thing You Do! KMPC D.J.
My Fellow Americans Reporter #2
1997 Life Sold Separately Clark
Statical Planets Renfester
2000 Bad Dog Messenger Short film
2002 Stealing Harvard Electrician
2003 I Am David American Man
2007 Knocked Up Fantasy Baseball Guy
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Different DJ Uncredited
2011 Bad Teacher Dad at the Car Wash
Bridesmaids Guy at Wedding Uncredited
2013 The Heat Doctor Uncredited
2015 Spy Drunken Guest at Paris Hotel Uncredited
2017 Ferdinand Picador[34][35] Voice role
2018 Song of Back and Neck Dr. Street


Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1999 Freaks and Geeks Yes Yes Yes Creator;
Episode directed:
  • "Discos and Dragons"
2005 The Office Yes executive Episodes directed:
2004–2005 Arrested Development Yes Episodes directed:
2007 Mad Men Yes Episode directed:
2005–2007 Weeds Yes Episodes directed:
  • "Risk"
  • "He Taught Me How to Drive By"
  • "The Punishment Lighter"
2007 30 Rock Yes Episode directed:
2009 Parks and Recreation Yes Episode directed:
Bored to Death Yes Episodes directed:
  • "Take a Dive"
  • "The Case of the Lonely White Dove"
Nurse Jackie Yes Episodes directed:
  • "Nose Bleed"
  • "Ring Finger"
  • "Comfort Food"
  • "Twitter"
  • "Candyland"
  • "Apple Bong"
  • "Caregiver"
  • "Bleeding"
  • "Silly String"
  • "Monkey Bits"
  • "P.O. Box"
  • "Sleeping Dogs"
  • "What the Day Brings"
  • "Years of Service"
2015 Other Space executive Yes

Episode written:

  • "Into the Great Beyond...Beyond"
2018 The Joel McHale Show
with Joel McHale

Acting roles[edit]

Year Title
Role Note
1986 The Facts of Life Ron Episodes:
  • "The Ratings Game"
1988–1989 Dirty Dancing Norman Bryant 11 episodes
1990 thirtysomething Focus Group Member Episodes:
  • "Pulling Away"
It's Garry Shandling's Show Chester Bass Episodes:
  • "The Proposal"
  • "The Honeymoon Show"
  • "Chester Gets a Show"
1991 Good Sports Leash Episodes:
  • "Pros and Ex-Cons"
  • "Electricity"
  • "The Return of Nick"
  • "A Class Act"
Get a Life Mark Episodes:
  • "Chris Becomes a Male Escort"
1992 Deep Dish TV Unknown Television film
1992–1993 The Edge Various 7 episodes
The Jackie Thomas Show Bobby Wynn 18 episodes
1993 Roseanne Pete Episodes:
  • "A Stash from the Past"
1994 The Good Life Video Clerk Episodes:
  • "Paul Dates a Buddhist"
  • "John Takes Out Melissa"
Hardball Agent #1 Episodes:
  • "Whose Strike Is It Anyway?"
1996 The Louie Show Dr. Jake Anderson 6 episodes
1996–1997 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Mr. Eugene Pool 26 episodes
1997 Men Behaving Badly Nelson Episode:
  • "The Sting"
Ellen Peterson Episode:
  • "G.I. Ellen"
1998 The Drew Carey Show Worker #1 Episode:
  • "From the Earth to the Moon"
1999 Freaks and Geeks Alexander the Guitarist Uncredited;
  • "I'm with the Band"
2005 Arrested Development Magician Episode:
  • "Sword of Destiny"
Early Bird Unknown Television film
2009 Nurse Jackie Mr. Spagnolo Episode:
  • "Monkey Bits"
2014 Maron Warren Episode:
  • "Therapy"
Hell's Kitchen Himself Episode:
  • "18 Chefs Compete"
2018 The Joel McHale Show
with Joel McHale
Himself 14 episodes


  • Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence (ISBN 0-609-80943-1, 2002)
  • Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin (ISBN 1-4000-5175-4, 2005)
  • Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut! (ISBN 0-316-16663-4, 2008)
  • Ignatius MacFarland: Frequency Freakout! (2010)


  1. ^ Smith, Krista (5 January 2012). "Paul Feig on the BridesmaidsSequel, Female Comedy, and His S.N.L. Dreams". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  2. ^ Associated Press (October 9, 2014). "Michigan's Paul Feig to direct female-led 'Ghostbusters'". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The Trouble With Paul Feig". The New York Times. 28 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Director Paul Feig is a genius at portraying awkwardness".
  5. ^ "The Windsor Star - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ Robert, Daniel (2006-05-04). "Interviews > Paul Feig Director Of Unaccompanied Minors". Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  7. ^ Schilling, Mary Kaye (28 June 2013). "The King of the Lady Gross-out".
  8. ^ Bowe, John (September 26, 2008). "The Trouble With Paul Feig". The New York Times Magazine.
  9. ^ James, Caryn (January 13, 1990). "Ski Patrol (1989) Review/Film; Meanwhile, Pops Is Back At the Lodge". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Poniewozik, James (2007-09-06). "The Abbott and Costello Show | All-TIME 100 TV Shows | Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  11. ^ Connolly, Kelly (2012-03-20). "The New Classics: TV | TV". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  12. ^ Fox, Margalit (November 5, 2010). "Jill Clayburgh Dies at 66; Starred in Feminist Roles". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Bridesmaids (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  14. ^ "'Bridesmaids' Effect: Why Female Comedies Are Making Comeback". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  15. ^ "'Bridesmaids' Breathes Life into Women's Comedy". Third Age. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  16. ^ Ryan, Tim (June 28, 2013). "Critics Consensus: White House Down Is Predictable Action Fluff". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  17. ^ "The Heat (2013) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  18. ^ Sneider, Jeff (18 June 2013). "Paul Feig Developing Female James Bond Comedy 'Susan Cooper'". Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  19. ^ a b "'Spy' - Movie Review". Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  20. ^ Travers, Peter. "Spy Review". Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  21. ^ Fleming, Jr, Mike (April 2, 2015). "Fox Molding 'Play-Doh' Film With Paul Feig Circling; Another Hasbro Toy Brand Making Movie Transfer". Deadline.
  22. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (October 8, 2014). "Paul Feig explains his vision for a female-led 'Ghostbusters'". Entertainment Weekly.
  23. ^ Zack Sharf (2016-07-08). "'Ghostbusters' Reboot Added New Scene As Reaction To Internet Backlash". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  24. ^ Hayes, Britt (11 July 2016). "'Ghostbusters' Haters Spam IMDb With Low Ratings". ScreenCrush. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  25. ^ Hickey, Walt (14 July 2016). "'Ghostbusters' Is A Perfect Example Of How Internet Movie Ratings Are Broken". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Box Office Performance for Comedy Movies in 2016". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  27. ^ Fritz, Ben (August 14, 2016). "Rising Box Office Masks Glut of Big-Budget Film Flops". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2016.(subscription required)
  28. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (August 18, 2015). "Director Jonathan Levine Circles Amy Schumer Mother-Daughter Comedy At Fox". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  29. ^ "A Simple Favor (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  30. ^ Steinberg, Brian (February 5, 2018). "Inside Diet Coke's Return to Super Bowl Advertising". Variety.
  31. ^ "Fox Film Team Faces Rocky Disney Future; Paul Feig Moves Label To Universal". Deadline Hollywood. 2019-03-31.
  32. ^ Donnelly, Matt; Donnelly, Matt (2019-03-21). "Paul Feig's Feigco Entertainment Jumps From Fox to First-Look Deal at Universal". Variety. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  33. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (June 27, 2018). "Universal Unwraps 'Last Christmas,' Paul Feig To Direct Script Written By Emma Thompson & Bryony Kimmings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  34. ^ "Why Paul Feig Won't Direct Any More Remakes". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  35. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (February 9, 2017). "Blue Sky's Bull Toon 'Ferdinand' To Lock Horns With 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'". Variety. Retrieved August 17, 2017.

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