'Second Act' director Peter Segal on abandoning his “male-dominated roots" to venture into "the land of chick-flicks"

While it is being touted and anticipated as Jennifer Lopez’ comeback film, ‘Second Act’ also marks Segal’s comeback of sorts


                            'Second Act' director Peter Segal on abandoning his “male-dominated roots" to venture into "the land of chick-flicks"

Peter Segal has the admittedly glamorous task of directing Jennifer Lopez’s comeback film ‘Second Act’ and one would assume it to be an anxiety-inducing responsibility. Segal, however, is excited at the prospect more than anything else, calling ‘Second Act’ the right kind of film for him, based on its concept and, of course, star power. He said these are the two parameters he employs for every project he takes on, and JLo’s comeback was no exception.  

“I loved what the story had to say about second chances and second acts and people's career, and I felt that Jennifer Lopez in that kind of story would be a movie that I would definitely go see myself,” Segal told Meaww. The concept, he claimed, took him back to Melanie Griffith’s character in ‘Working Girl,’ a movie directed by one of his personal idols, Mike Nichols. “To step into their shadow with this kind of a story seems rare in today's climate and so it felt like the perfect opportunity,” Segal said.

While it is being touted and anticipated as Lopez’s comeback film, ‘Second Act’ also marks Segal’s comeback of sorts. His last film, ‘Grudge Match,’ was four years ago. “For me, the theme of 'Second Act' also reflected my career in not only the fact that I am getting older as a filmmaker and a storyteller,” he said, further pointing out this film would be a representation of his evolution as a filmmaker. 

Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens in 'Second Act' (Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher; Motion Picture Artwork ©)
Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens in 'Second Act' (Photo Credit: Barry Wetcher; Motion Picture Artwork ©)

Best known for movies like 'Tommy Boy', '50 First Dates,' and 'The Longest Yard' that take a male perspective on life, Segal, who is now father to two daughters and a son, admitted he delved into a different kind of movie with ‘Second Act.’ “I'm surrounded by women in my life and I decided to tap into another side of me and tell the story from a female point of view,” he said, adding he more or less abandoned his “male-dominated roots and storytelling and went into the land of chick-flicks.”

“It was wonderful to explore this and also tap into some of the themes of second acts in my own life,” said Segal, crediting the success in this approach to his wife and daughters, who have “an opinion about everything” he does, “whether he wants it or not.” 

He gushed: “My oldest daughter is a development executive at Lorne Michaels' company and I gave her every draft of the script that we had and [took] her input all along the way.” Outside of his family, he has "a wonderful producer, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, along with her producing partner who is Jennifer Lopez,” who were the voices of reasoning, encouragement, and opinion during this journey. "I was completely surrounded by female opinions, that encouraged me. It was a nice breath of fresh air for me to tell a story in a different genre,” he added.  

American viewers have proved in recent moviegoing trends they are ready for this breath of fresh air, especially when it comes to movies focusing on minorities. We have seen rom-coms from the male perspective many times over, complete with a one-dimensional female lead, and movies like ‘Second Act’ have been changing the narrative gradually and beautifully.

Check out Segal’s ‘Second Act’ starring Jennifer Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia, Vanessa Hudgens, and Leah Remini when it hits theatres on December 21, 2018.