Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters reboot can’t escape the “chick flick” label — and the director’s tired of it.
“We still get called in the press as a ‘chick flick.’ We are always referred to as the all-female Ghostbusters,” Feig said at Saturday’s Produced By Conference, The Wrap reports. “It’s just an uphill battle and I can’t believe we are having to deal with it.”
The new Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon, all actresses who’ve had to deal with sexist criticism since the movie was first announced.
“There were a bunch of people that were angry that there was a reboot,” Feig said before addressing the controversy that surrounded Jones’ character, a subway worker.
“I feel bad that many have taken a bad look at Leslie Jones‘ character. We originally wrote it for Melissa, and then when we were putting it together, we figured Melissa had played a role like that before,” he said. “Leslie is so funny at playing this kind of a character that we put her in there. I am the first to admit, while I am a fighter for women, my record for diversity has not been as good and I take responsibility for that.”
Feig is no stranger to working with women — the director previously helmed Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy — but that didn’t stop a male producer from giving him some “advice” on an unnamed female-centric project once.
“I had some male producer say, ‘Oh boy, get ready. It’s going to be tough, you’re going to have catfights,'” Feig remembered. “And I said, ‘Who the f— are you?’ It was the most wonderful experience I’ve had.”
Read more from the conference here. Ghostbusters hits theaters July 15.