‘A Simple Favor’ Director Paul Feig on Having the No. 1 Movie on Netflix and Why It’s the First Sequel He Agreed To

Paul Feig was just a couple of days away from wrapping the sequel to “A Simple Favor” in Italy when he got to share some very good news with the cast – the first film is currently the No. 1 most watched movie on Netflix.

“I sent it to all my main cast saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing the right thing here,” Feig says on a phone call from the movie’s Rome set.

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Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding reprise their original roles for the followup. New cast members include Tony winner Alex Newell and Oscar winner and frequent Feig collaborator Allison Janney.

The 2018 movie stars Kendrick as widowed vlogger Stephanie who takes it upon herself to investigate the disappearance of her friend Emily (Lively). The $20 million crime comedy grossed nearly $100,000,000 in the U.S.

“I’m thrilled,” Feig says about being on the top of the Netflix movies chart. “It makes me so happy because this really is one of my favorite movies. It’s done well in the theaters, but I always feel so many people haven’t seen it yet so now they do get to see it.”

And now the pressure is on even more for the follow-up to do well. “It’s a lot because also if you look at my work, I’ve never done a sequel before just for that very reason,” Feig says. “I’ve always tried to stay away from it but this one I just loved these characters and always felt we can revisit them.”

A Simple Favor
A Simple Favor

They were close to shooting the sequel when Feig decided to trash the script and start over. “We threw out the original draft that was going to get made,” he remembers. “We were like, ‘As much as we like what we have here, we don’t think this is what the people who really loved the first movie are going to 100 percent want.’ We’ve been working on it for two and half years now, almost three, developing it and it getting it right.”

With Broadway belter Newell joining the cast, should fans expect a musical number in the sequel? Kendrick and Janney are also known for having vocal chops.

“I cannot confirm or deny that but I just love Alex,” says Feig, who also directs John Cena and Awkwafina in the summer release “Jackpot.” “But I don’t know. The first movie had a big musical number at the end and test audiences hated it.”

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