Star Apps: 'The Heat' director Paul Feig

Funnyman Paul Feig chats with about the apps he uses for work, play, and a good laugh.

The hilarious, new buddy movie "The Heat" stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as Special Agent Sarah Ashburn and Det. Shannon Mullins, respectively -- two fiercely independent crime fighters who must first forge their own connection and learn to respect and trust each other's abilities if they are ever to connect the dots on a major case. caught up with the film's director, Paul Feig -- best known for directing the Oscar-nominated "Bridesmaids," co-producing the TV series "Freaks and Geeks," and playing science teacher Mr. Eugene Pool on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" -- about the apps that literally flip the script and connect him to the important things in his life.

My two phones: Director Paul Feig shows off his Blackberry and iPhone (Credit: Josh Rotter)

In "The Heat," other than the scene in the FBI office, where we see a poster for the FBI Child ID app and the scene where investigators are using Google's Street View, detectives rely less on software and more on pavement-pounding to solve the case than would be the case in reality. Is it funnier that way?
Yeah, I always feel like the cell phone has ruined movies a little bit because it makes communication so easy, and to me, comedy is a lot about miscommunication or the inability to communicate or having to go out and do something on one's own or confront somebody face to face. That's the interesting thing.

When they're doing movies about hacking or the Internet, the issue always is how do we make it look exciting when someone's typing on a keyboard? So for me, movie-wise, I like bodies in motion. I like people out in the world. At the end of the day, law enforcement is about feet on the ground, going around, and having that personal touch with people. And I think it's funnier that way, too.

One of the funniest lines in the film was about Det. Shannon Mullins' grenade that was bought on eBay. So I'm curious: What are some of the odder purchases that you've made using the eBay app?
I love finding hyper-specific stuff that you can't find anywhere else. I collected fezzes, and over the years, have bought many fezzes on eBay. I'm also fanatical about buying '50s drinking glass sets, because when I grew up, my parents had this rack with a handle and they'd carry these decorative glasses into their bridge party. There's also another great thing on eBay, a store called Hogspear that sells all old bespoke suits and uniforms and top hats and all that. I'm also a fan of old walking sticks, so I'm always looking for those.

So do you ever go out with a fez hat and walking stick?
I never go out with a fez hat, but I do with a walking stick. But I warned people for 10 years that when I turn 50, I will allow myself to use a walking stick when I walk around. On this trip I didn't want to take one, because I can't pack it and didn't want airport security to say, 'Sir, you can't take that on board,' because they're expensive. But I love them.

There's a scene in the movie where there's a meeting between the FBI and DEA, and there's this detective just playing on his phone. What is he doing?
It's funny because Sandra was like, 'Are you texting or playing a game?' and you get the feeling that he's texting someone -- either that or he's on Twitter. I just like the idea that someone's in the midst of a high-pressure meeting and they're completely obsessed with their phone.

Have you ever been that person, yourself?
I always try to be the guy who's not overwhelmed by technology. It's so funny that now that these smartphones exist for everyone, it's almost democratized it too much, because I always say, "Has the person been born yet, who's going to kill me, texting while driving their car?" It's technology in the hands of people who don't process things the way that the rest of us do; they get so focused on stuff like that, so they can be in a meeting about such high-pressure stuff, and then they're like, "Oh, I gotta text" or "Oh, I gotta Tweet."

Sandra Bullock (left) and Melissa McCarthy bring the house down in "The Heat"

There's a joke in the film about the illegal downloading of music. In the days of iTunes took off, there was Napster and Limewire, did you ever download yourself?
No, I never did, and it's not because I was so moralistic, but because I was so stupid with computers and the Internet, so I didn't know how you access it or how you do it. If you did download it, then what do you play it on?

But I have to say I really like iTunes. I'm 50 and you really start to hit a point where you say, "I've got to get rid of all this stuff in my life" and I love that everything can now be on my computer.

Does the same apply to other areas of your life, as well?
We're trying to get as paperless as we can with our office. And how the iPad has changed life in showbiz, because you used to get these giant scripts and you're traveling and I spent years screwing up my shoulder because you had a giant bag of scripts; so having them on my iPad is the greatest thing ever.

Which apps are you using most often on the iPad?
I use GoodReader all the time, because they'll usually send a script out as a PDF and I could do notations on that, and there's also iAnnotate, which is good. I like the way that GoodReader scrolls better than iAnnotate, which kinda rolls, because I just like to have the page come up and be solid. There's also Final Draft Reader, so if they don't want to send me something as a PDF, they can send something as a Final Draft and then I could just load it there. So I have all of those, because I don't know what format somebody's gonna send it in.

How about on set?
When you're directing, there isn't much time. But I've gotten into Twitter and I have a lot of followers; but there's always that thing, a gray area for me about how much I want to Tweet, because on one hand people would really like it if I told them all this stuff that was going on behind the scenes. At the same time, as a director I have a level of trust with my actors and my crew, so I can't and don't want to tell because I don't want them to think, "Oh, if we do something weird, it's gonna show up on Twitter." So I'd like to Tweet from the set and put up more pictures, but I'm just afraid of losing that level of trust with them.

Aside from film and TV you're so known for your sense of style. Are there any apps that you use to stay current?
There's TheCut and PopSugar, and even Zappos, I use to get shoes, occasionally. I also like MR PORTER a lot, and I'm on the style council of that. I also like, which has pictures from all the runway shows. I can check in and be like, "'Oh, Tom Ford's great" or "Is Tom Brown out of his mind, this year?" It's so aspirational.

Having played a science teacher on TV series "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," if you could invent the perfect app, what would it be?
Since I'm so into suits and I love Savile Row tailoring, I would do an app that told me what the style and cut of each house on Saville Row was and if it could somehow take a picture of me standing there and tell me how I would look in each one of those suits.

You recently wrote a satirical guest column for The Hollywood Reporter called "Why Men Aren't Funny." Are there any joke apps that you think would benefit them?
I have enjoyed some of the fart machines, but what I enjoy more is: there are certain assistant directors I'll work with that have a bunch of them and they'll entertain me with theirs when things are slow or they're waiting for stuff.

I was more into a lightsaber app, because it made that VRR VRR sound as you waved it around. This is old school, but I always thought the Zippo lighter one was kinda funny, and Koi Pond, which I found not funny, but interesting.

I'm so fascinated by technology, because I'm still like a caveman, who's like, "Wow, you touch the screen and it responds." But I love it.

About Joshua Rotter

Joshua Rotter is a copy editor for and covers iOS.