Spy is a 2015 American action comedy spy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin, and Jude Law, the film follows the transformation of desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) into a field agent who attempts to foil the black market sale of a suitcase nuke.
Produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Feig and Jessie Henderson, the film was theatrically released on June 5, 2015. It received praise from critics and was a box office success. It was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for McCarthy.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 3.1 Development
- 3.2 Casting
- 3.3 Filming
- 4 Release
- 4.1 Marketing
- 4.2 Box office
- 5 Reception
- 5.1 Critical response
- 5.2 Accolades
- 6 Possible sequel
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Susan Cooper is a 40-year-old, single, desk-bound CIA employee who remotely assists her partner, field agent Bradley Fine, on a mission. Fine accidentally kills arms dealer Tihomir Boyanov as he sneezes during a confrontation before extracting the location of a suitcase nuke from him. Susan uncovers evidence that Rayna, Boyanov’s daughter, has contacted Sergio De Luca, a suspected broker with ties to various terrorist groups, so Fine infiltrates her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead, while Susan watches helplessly online, then reveals that she knows the identities of the agency’s top agents, including Rick Ford and Karen Walker. Susan, who is almost certainly unknown to Rayna, volunteers to track her (she was a top trainee agent, albeit over ten years ago). When her boss, Elaine Crocker, reluctantly agrees, the ultra macho Ford quits in disgust.
With her best friend Nancy providing intelligence, Susan goes to Paris undercover. That night, Ford shows up and tells Susan she will fail because of her inexperience. The next morning, Susan discovers that De Luca’s office has burned down. She finds a photo of a man standing next to the fire. Ford appears, argues with Susan again and leaves. Susan sees the man in the photo follow him and switch his backpack with another one containing a bomb while Ford is distracted. Susan warns Ford in time during a Verka Serduchka concert and then pursues the man into an abandoned building. During the ensuing fight, he falls to his death. When she checks the man’s video camera, Susan learns that De Luca is going to Rome.
In Rome, Susan meets her contact Aldo. She follows Sergio into a casino (in a city without casino), where she saves Rayna’s life. Rayna brings Susan into her inner circle and takes Susan on her private plane to Budapest. In mid-flight, the steward kills Rayna’s bodyguard and pilots, but Susan subdues him. Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA agent, but Susan convinces her that she was hired by her father to protect Rayna.
In Budapest, Susan meets Nancy, who was sent by Crocker. After being shot at, Susan pursues and catches up with the would-be assassin: Karen, who sold Rayna the names of the other agents. She tries to shoot Susan, but an unknown sniper kills her. Susan, Nancy and Aldo accompany Rayna to a party to meet Rayna’s contact. That turns out to be Lia, the woman who distracted Ford in Paris. Nancy creates a diversion (by pretending to be a crazed fan of guest performer 50 Cent) so that Susan can try to apprehend Lia unnoticed. Because of Ford’s inopportune intervention, however, Lia runs off. Susan chases after her. After a brutal fight, as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is instead killed by Fine, who earlier faked his death and is now Rayna’s lover and associate.
Rayna imprisons Susan and Aldo in a bunker. Later, Fine reveals to Susan that he is trying to gain Rayna’s trust to locate the nuke, and he was the one who killed Karen. Susan and Aldo escape. At De Luca’s mansion, Fine, Rayna and Sergio wait for Solsa Dudaev, head of an al-Qaeda-funded terrorist group. Susan convinces Rayna and De Luca that, even though she works for the CIA, she will do anything to protect Fine, admitting that she loves him. Dudaev gives De Luca a suitcase full of diamonds, and Rayna produces the device. De Luca has Dudaev and his men killed, then reveals his plan to sell the device to another buyer (though they also intend to bomb New York City), before pointing his gun at Rayna. Ford distracts him, allowing Susan to kill his men. Sergio escapes to his helicopter with the device and the diamonds, but Susan grabs onto the landing gear. In the ensuing struggle, Susan throws the diamonds and the device into a lake below. De Luca attempts to shoot Susan, but Nancy, following in another helicopter, shoots him in the back before he can. He grabs on to Susan’s necklace (a gift from Fine), but she releases the catch and De Luca falls out of the helicopter to his death.
The nuke is retrieved by the CIA, and Rayna is arrested. Ford, to Susan’s surprise, compliments her on her job. Crocker tells Susan that she will remain a field agent, and that her next assignment will take her to Prague to infiltrate a drug smuggling ring. Fine invites Susan to dinner, but she instead opts for a night out with Nancy.
The next morning, Susan wakes up in bed next to Ford and screams, while Ford claims she “loved it”.
- Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper
- Jason Statham as Rick Ford
- Rose Byrne as Rayna Boyanov
- Jude Law as Bradley Fine
- Miranda Hart as Nancy B. Artingstall
- Bobby Cannavale as Sergio De Luca
- Allison Janney as Elaine Crocker
- Peter Serafinowicz as Aldo
- Morena Baccarin as Karen Walker
- Björn Gustafsson as Anton
- Nargis Fakhri as Lia
- Richard Brake as Solsa Dudaev
- 50 Cent as Himself
- Verka Serduchka as Herself
- Will Yun Lee as Timothy Cress
- Carlos Ponce as Matthew Wright
- Michael McDonald as Patrick
- Mitch Silpa as Fredrick
- Zach Woods as Man in purple tie
- Jessica Chaffin as Sharon
- Katie Dippold as Katherine
- Sam Richardson as John
- Ben Falcone as American tourist
- Jamie Denbo as Casino hostess
- Steve Bannos as Alan, the bartender
- Paul Feig as Drunken guest at Paris hotel (uncredited)
On June 18, 2013, it was announced that Paul Feig was developing Susan Cooper, a female spy comedy, for 20th Century Fox. Feig wrote and directed the film. Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping produced the film under the Chernin Entertainment banner, with Feig and Jessie Henderson for Feigco Entertainment. On November 12, 2013, Fox announced a release date of May 22, 2015. On March 28, 2014, the film’s title was changed to Spy.
On July 25, 2013, it was confirmed that Melissa McCarthy was in negotiations to play the title role. Zooey Deschanel was originally slated to play the role of Elaine Crocker but left the project. On October 17, Rose Byrne joined the cast of the film. Throughout 2014, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Nargis Fakhri, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Serafinowicz, Björn Gustafsson. Morena Baccarin, Allison Janney, Zach Woods and Jessica Chaffin joined the cast, along with 50 Cent, who would be playing himself, and Nia Long, who did not appear in the finished film.
Principal photography and production began on March 31, 2014, in Budapest, Hungary. On May 27, filming was under way in Budapest and was about to wrap up. Apart from tax breaks, shooting was primarily done in Budapest because its architecture and location could allow it to appear as other places where the story took place, including Paris.
The film was originally scheduled to be released on May 22, 2015, by 20th Century Fox. In March 2015, the date was pushed back to June 5, 2015, which was first assigned to B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations and Paper Towns, the former of which being taken off the schedule and the latter moved to July. Prior to its official release, Paul Feig stated that Spy went through about 10 test screenings, a process – which includes recording the audience laughter for each version – he does “religiously”, with Judd Apatow (who produced the Feig-directed Bridesmaids) commenting on its usefulness for a comedy film: “It doesn’t work very well if a movie is supposed to make you feel difficult emotions. If you’re making a David Lynch movie, it doesn’t work at all. But for comedy it’s often the best way to refine jokes.”
Spy received an early release of May 21, 2015 in Australia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and of May 28, 2015 in Israel and May 29, 2015 in Norway.
The first official full-length trailer of the film was released on January 13, 2015.
Spy grossed $110.8 million in North America and $124.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $235.6 million, against a budget of $65 million.
In North America, the film made $1.5 million from its early Thursday night showings and an estimated $10.3 million on its opening day from 3,711 theaters, coming at second place at the box office behind fellow new release Insidious: Chapter 3. It would go on to top the box office in its opening weekend, earning $29 million. The film dropped 46% in its sophomore weekend to $15.6 million, finishing second behind newcomer Jurassic World.
Outside North America, Spy opened in ten foreign markets on May 22, 2015, earning $12.7 million in its opening weekend from 1,810 screens, and coming in fourth place at the box office (behind Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland, and Pitch Perfect 2). In the UK, Ireland and Malta, it opened with $3.9 million. The film had successful openings in South Korea ($4.8 million), Russia and the CIS ($3.1 million), Australia ($2.9 million), Mexico ($1.6 million) and Taiwan ($1.3 million).
Spy received positive reviews from critics, who praised McCarthy and Byrne’s performances, as well as Statham’s surprise comedic role. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 234 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another — and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.” On Metacritic the film has a score of 75 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. In CinemaScore polls, cinema audiences gave the film an average score of “B+” on an A+ to F scale.
McCarthy’s performance was praised by critics. Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun Times called her “as funny and as winning as anyone in the movies these days”. Tom Russo of The Boston Globe credited the film’s success to McCarthy, writing, “part of what makes the action comedy such a loopy blast is the identity shifts she pulls on the audience.” Bill Goodykoontz of Arizona Republic called the film McCarthy’s return to form, writing “Finally, after the promise shown in Bridesmaids, but sold short since by weak scripts in films like Tammy and Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy gets a movie vehicle worthy of her talents.”
In addition to McCarthy’s, many of the supporting cast members’ performances were praised, particularly Byrne’s and Statham’s. John Boone of Entertainment Tonight said Statham “twists his action hero persona into a delightfully delusional version of the same thing”, and praised Byrne’s performance, writing “For every joke that McCarthy’s Susan Cooper ends up as the butt of, Byrne is the one teeing it up with perfectly understated wickedness. She can so easily spit out lines as offensive as, after Cooper delivers a punny cheers, “What a stupid, f**king toast,” but make it…charming?” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Byrne’s comedic timing “bitchy perfection”.
In a May 2015 interview with The Guardian, Paul Feig said he was already writing a sequel, though the project doesn’t have a producer.
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- Official website
- Spy on IMDb
- Spy at Box Office Mojo
- Spy at Rotten Tomatoes
- Spy at Metacritic