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Producer Paul Feig calls 'Love Life' a 'romantic murder mystery'

Paul Feig produces Love Life on HBO Max. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI
Paul Feig produces "Love Life" on HBO Max. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, May 27 (UPI) -- Paul Feig, director of hit movies like Bridesmaids, The Heat and the female-led Ghostbusters, continues his return to TV on Wednesday with Love Life, an anthology of relationships starring Anna Kendrick.

The show launches along with HBO Max, the network's new streaming platform (a free add-on for many HBO subscribers).

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Love Life shows Darby (Kendrick) at different ages, from her teens into her 30s. Each episode features a man who becomes one of Darby's ex-boyfriends, although Feig hinted at the possibility that one could return to be her true love.

"I refer to the show almost as like a romantic murder mystery," Feig told UPI in a phone interview Thursday. "All the suspects are there, and they keep coming in and out, but you don't know who's going to be the one."

Love Life is the second TV launch this year for Feig, who got his start as a producer on shows including Freaks and Geeks and The Office. He produces Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist for NBC.

With Love Life, Feig hopes that Darby learns to break the bad habits that keep leading her into failed relationships.

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"It's kind of fun to see the co-dependent relationships that lead you to a non-dependent relationship," Feig said.Early episodes run the gamut of different relationships. Darby dates Augie (Jin Ha) in Episode 1, an older man named Bradley (Scoot McNairy) in Episode 2 and has a one- night stand (Gus Halper) who becomes more serious than she'd like in Episode 3. Feig said every episode presents a different dynamic for Darby.

"It's just so realistic in the sense that we always think we know what we want," Feig said. "Then once we attain it, we find out if we really wanted it or not, or if it was right."

Most episodes feature love scenes, although none more explicit than you're likely to see in a PG-13 movie. The language is R-rated, as HBO Max streaming allows the F-word.

As Love Life premieres two months into a pandemic, Feig expects viewers to be nostalgic for its depiction of life before social distancing.

"Handshakes are the new porn, basically," Feig joked. "You're just like, 'Oh, remember we used to do that and it was so nice? Oh look, they hugged and kissed somebody when they met them.'"

Writer Sam Boyd (In a Relationship, The Dictator) brought the idea of Love Life to Feig, who sought to protect Boyd's vision.

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Feig wanted to cast Kendrick, whom he directed in A Simple Favor, but he was not sure she would be interested in a series. But she responded favorably to the material and even contributed suggestions to Boyd.

"She was giving him a lot of ideas based on relationships she's been through and friends of hers have been through and just things that she's experienced," Feig said.

Kendrick's commitment to Love Life is for the first season only. In success, Love Life would become an anthology that chronicles a different character's love life in each season. Seasons might be interconnected through supporting characters, Feig said.

"We wouldn't want to be like, 'The second season is the 1800s,'" Feig said. "We want to keep it in the same world so that characters from other seasons can come in and out if we want them to."

Subsequent seasons could feature a male or LGBTQ protagonists, Feig said: "Our plan is to really just run the gamut of every type of person and every type of relationship that's out there."

Feig has remained busy during the coronavirus pandemic. He hosts a daily cocktail show on Instagram, raising money for charity, and spends the rest of the days attending to movie script rewrites and producing Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

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A third series is in the works, too. Feig filmed one day of an American adaptation of the BBC mockumentary This Country before production shut down.

"That one day we shot enough material to be able to cut a 16-minute pilot presentation for it," Feig said. "So they ordered three more scripts for that."

Feig thinks This Country could return to production sooner than other shows with larger casts and crews might. The show is about a documentary crew following a pair of young cousins through their lives in a small town.

"Being a mockumentary, we actually have a much smaller production footprint than a normal TV show or movie would have," Feig said.

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