The Heat: First Lesbian Buddy Cop Movie?

Well, maybe not exactly, but the elements are there in this very enjoyable comedy. Diane Anderson-Minshall interviews director Paul Feig.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

June 28 2013 5:29 PM ET

From left: Bullock, McCarthy, and Feig

And since you know, this is an action comedy, I’m wondering  — that’s the kind of genre that men and teenage boys go to in droves — are they going to go to a film like this that has two chicks in it who aren’t all about T&A?
Well, that’s my hope. This is part of the breaking-down process. because what I want them to do is look at the posters and see two women and go like, “Oh, they’re really funny.” That’s why our trailers and our commercials are really important to us, even more so than the posters or anything like that, because that’s where you see the tone and see what we’re going for and just be like, “Oh, that looks funny.” I mean, that’s all I really care about, I just want them to come and laugh.

Well, the Spanx scene is going to make women laugh, at least.
[Laughs] That’s right!

And it’s exactly the kind of scene that you wouldn’t find in a buddy cop movie with two men.
[Laughs] That’s right. I mean, that’s why I love doing comedies that were written by women for women. It’s not pandering, but at the same time it’s really fun to find those elements that women just really respond to.

Oh, my God, yeah.
I mean, Bridesmaids was so fun when, you know, Maya [Rudolph] is just sinking down in the street in that wedding dress. To hear women literally just scream with laughter is really the most satisfying thing. They’re getting comedy that they felt so underserved on for so long, and it’s really fun to find that, that’s why its fun to work with funny women, they go like What are the areas that are kind of fun. The Spanx thing came out organically just from talking about the scene — I don’t remember who it was, one of our female writers or contributors was like It would be funny if she was wearing spanks. And I was like, that sounds really fun

Did you even know what Spanx were?
Yes, I did.

’Cause you’ve been married for 17 or 20 years.
Exactly. I know all about them. I’m looking into a pair of Manks right now.

Right [laughs].

So what I like about the movie, obviously coming form a queer perspective, is that it’s a movie about strong women finding their place in the world, but nobody gets a makeover to attract a man, nobody runs off with a man. And even though both of the characters are established as women who either have had relationships or sex with men, there’s a sort of subtext of lesbianism in the relationship. Am I reading too much into it?
I like that. I mean, maybe, but I like that, though. I think it’s an interesting take on it. You know, for me it was really about two professionals who are so dedicated to their jobs and not compromising about it that they kind of back-burnered that part of their lives, but not in a bad way. I hate movies that sort of scold women for being too into their jobs or too profess —

Of which there are many, that really is the trope, even.
Oh, totally. It’s always why they’re not — things aren’t going well. She’s the ice queen who needs to find a man. You know, fuck that. You know, people are — women can love their jobs and be dedicated to their jobs, and if they choose they don’t want to have a family, that’s great, no one should be judging anyone in this world. But so I think what you’re point is coming from is I’m very much into the idea of the female friendship and how strong that can be and how difficult that it is sometimes to forge. Watching my wife, who was a professional for many, many years, she had a hard time finding those meaningful close friendships with other women, because you know, whether the women gone off to start families or just into a different world where there’s not a common thread to talk about, and so I really like the idea of two women who dedicated themselves to the law enforcement profession, like any specialized profession, you have to talk to your peers or else you can’t have that common language of like here’s what bothers me, here’s why my life is hard, here’s the problems I go through, and someone going, yeah, I got the same thing. I find that level of female friendship very inspiring, and I get really happy when I see characters forge that. We get a lot of that in Bridesmaids too where you go, that friendship, how strong that is.

Yeah, and how it is a very loving relationship when you can develop that. They’re harder the older you get to develop them anew. And so that’s really nice to see.
No, totally, and also, you know, again the women — like a strong friendship between women, I think, is sweeter than a strong relationship between men sometimes. Because it’s so supportive when it works well and I really respond to that. I just find it really — that’s what guys should kind of aspire to be.

Yeah, that’s nice to hear you say that. So you know, I don’t want to give a spoiler. It’s clear that these women sort of falling in love with each other as friends and they show a sort of commitment in the end, with Sandra staying in Boston and stuff. If the script would had gone one step further and gotten the two women together romantically, would it have been picked up at all?
Um, that’s a great question. Odds are probably not, which is very, you know, not cool, because that shouldn’t matter at all. That would have been a real cool twist. [Laughs] Hollywood is going very incrementally. Look, I m still having to fight to get women in movies. I mean look at the schedule, all the studio films in the summer, we’re the only one with women in the lead roles, so, you know, that’s tough. But that said, I’m also developing a gay wedding movie, that’s a real passion of mine ’cause I think —

Really?
Yeah, ’cause I think that’s the next underserved group in this town, and so to break that wall down, that’s something I’ve been excited about in the works.

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