Paul Feig Explains Why the New Ghostbusters Cast Is So Saturday Night Live–Heavy

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Paul Feig. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty

The cast of Paul Feig's upcoming Ghostbusters reboot is like a Saturday Night Live lover's dream: You've got all-time great Kristen Wiig, standout newbies Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, and even Melissa McCarthy, who's hosted some of the show's best episodes. "Lorne [Michaels] and the team over at SNL have just found this bumper crop of these funny women," Feig told Vulture at this week's premiere of his new film Spy, "and at one point people were going, 'You’re getting too many of these SNL people,' and I go, 'I can’t help it, Lorne has some of the best women right now.'"

Feig has a real knack for giving small-screen comediennes a big-screen bump, and that's one of the things that excited him most about casting McKinnon and Jones opposite his more established Bridesmaids stars Wiig and McCarthy. "To give Leslie and Kate that shot, just like how in Spy we’re giving it to [British actress] Miranda Hart, is really exciting," he told us. "When you do a comedy and you see big stars and then there are two other people who aren’t as big, they are validated by the big stars. The audience doesn’t go, 'Oh, they must be some local actors that they found,' they go, 'Oh, they must be really something,' and [the actresses] prove themselves the minute they open their mouths."

In fact, that's literally what happened for Feig, who was besotted with Jones from her inaugural SNL appearance. "‪The first time I saw Leslie do one of her "Weekend Update"s about how hard it was to date, I was just like, 'Oh my God.' Because I’d heard about Leslie over the years, but I hadn’t seen her do much stand-up, and it was like, 'Who is this woman?' Honestly I think the very first time I saw her it was just this thing like, 'She is so in the movie. We’re done.'" As for McKinnon, "My new favorite thing is whenever she does Jane Lynch. It’s all that physical stuff, like putting her leg up and stretching out and all that. That’s just comedy DNA, that’s not just, 'Oh, I’m going to try and be funny.' That just comes out of you, like it did with Chris Farley and all of the other funniest people. They were born to be funny.‬"

As far as McCarthy's concerned, this summer's Boston shoot can't come fast enough. "‪I am weirdly fortunate that I already knew and loved and like and respect all of these women, so Boston is going to be a blast. Boston is not going to be a bummer, I can assure that," she told us.‬ "T‪here are just so many funny women out there — and we’re not trying to be funny for men, we’re not trying to be funny for women, we’re just trying to make funny, good movies that people really enjoy, and if I get to be a little part of that, I’m really excited.‬"