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Paul Feig Talks About Why He Chooses Projects That Deconstruct Genres - Exclusive

When most people hear the name "Paul Feig," their first thoughts probably turn toward comedy. Indeed, the prolific filmmaker has helmed numerous comedic projects over the years, such as "Bridesmaids" and "Spy." That's not even accounting for his work on the television side of things, directing episodes of "The Office" and "Arrested Development" as well. 

While comedy always tends to find its way into his projects, he's begun branching out in recent years. 2018's "A Simple Favor" was a dark thriller, while 2019's "Last Christmas" saw him tackle a classic romantic comedy. Now, he's stepped foot into the realm of fantasy with Netflix's "The School for Good and Evil." 

It may be his first fantasy movie, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the final result. Feig delivered a classic YA adaptation that still has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. But according to Feig in an exclusive interview with Looper, there is one thing that connects "The School for Good and Evil" with his other projects, and it comes down to the deconstruction of genre.

Paul Feig loves poking fun at tropes

Comedy is all about deconstructing the audience's expectations. They expect one thing to happen, and when something different occurs, it can produce a laugh. It's a big reason why director Paul Feig has largely worked within genres for his comedies over the years. "Spy" is naturally a send-up of spy thrillers, while "The Heat" makes fun of cop movies. "The School for Good and Evil" may not lean into comedy as much as those films, but it still takes what's expected within fantasy projects and pokes holes into them.

As Feig put it, "Even if you want to inject any levity into anything, taking a genre ... That's why I love genres, because there's so many tropes that you can twist." Twisting what happens in fairy tales was particularly gratifying for Feig, as he didn't really like those kinds of stories growing up. Feig explained, "When this project came up, it was almost like, 'Oh, good. This is my revenge against all the fairy tales I didn't like because we can really tear them apart,' like Agatha coming in as the audience and going, 'You guys, this is really crazy what you're doing. It's cut and dry that it has nothing to do with how human beings actually function.'"

The end result is something that feels wholly unique within the genre of YA fantasy and showcases Feig's distinct directorial flair. 

"The School for Good and Evil" is now available on Netflix.