Paul Feig is piloting femme-driven comedy higher every year. He launched Kristen Wiig to stardom in the raunchy rom com “Bridesmaids.” He revived Sandra Bullock’s funny career and revved up Melissa McCarthy’s in the cop parody “The Heat.” He shot in Budapest so he could turn McCarthy into a globe-trotting Jane Bond in “Spy.” And he’s about to film an all-new, all-female “Ghostbusters” near the New York City locations of the original.

So how does a busy writer/director/author become Hollywood’s go-to guy for strong female comedy characters? As he explained by phone last week, it’s pretty easy. Start with an awkward adolescence, get harassed by high school alpha males and figure out that witty girls make great friends. Then get a job in the entertainment industry (he began directing TV’s “Freaks and Geeks” in 1999) and ask every amusing woman you can, “Hey, is this funny?”

“I don’t want it to sound like a political thing. I guess it’s political in that I got really tired of all the talented women I know not getting good roles. They’d just play the wife, which isn’t funny, or the girlfriend, who’s mean. Yelling at the boyfriend all the time,” he said with a sigh, “guys think that’s funny.”

Feig, who speaks like he’s personally appearing in a fast-paced farce, hates pandering movies, especially when they’re in a form that can be entertaining and amusing. He feels vexed by “so many people who say, ‘It’s comedy; just get a bunch of jokes.’ No. Those jokes have to be driven by a strong story that keeps you invested in the characters. If you’re watching and you don’t care if the characters get ahead and you’re just sitting there going joke to joke, it’s very hard to get invested in that.

“Putting the movies together with my producer partner Jessie Henderson, all the writers I work with and actresses, I’m always looking for any way I can get inside a female audience’s head,” he said. “I go, ‘What don’t you want to see? What have you seen too many times, what are you tired of being spoon-fed? What are you sick of being told by the movies?'”

Feig insists on getting repeated early readings on his projects from female co-workers. “I deputize them. I need them to tell me what isn’t working, what isn’t ringing true. ‘Is this a guy’s version of what a woman would do? Of a girl?’ So they’re vetting me and I’m always going, ‘OK, how would you do it?'”

Those joint efforts produced material for “Spy” that would not have appeared in a guy-focused comedy in eons. Where else would you find the recurring image of McCarthy’s shabby CIA office being beset with mice?

Casting McCarthy as a CIA field agent provides a natural fish-out-of-water quality, but Feig didn’t originally expect her in the part, given her continually busy filming season. Then she read it and pushed for the role, which made him re-imagine its underdog aspects. “That’s my favorite kind of story, about the sort of people who are trying to figure out how to get their life together.”

He’s also so fond of espionage movies that he didn’t want “Spy” to become a spoof or a parody. While it twists the classic expectations of fights and disguises into gag payoffs, he wanted the stakes to still matter.

“A spoof is just like a joke fest. It’s like everyone’s silly and in on the joke, and we’re just making fun of it. I don’t want to make fun of spy movies, I love them!” His aim was to use tension to “rock people back on their heels,” them hit them with pranks.

The success of Feig’s earlier films, the international hit of Scarlett Johansson’s sci-fi comedy “Lucy,” “Pitch Perfect 2” and even the surprising feminist slant of “Mad Max: Fury Road” mark this as “a watershed moment,” Feig said. “It’s great. It gets rid of the arguments I’d heard for years about how this won’t work. Hollywood is not an altruistic town. … It’s about business, and even though this was the largest budget I’ve ever had, we had to fight for every penny. But when these hits start to stack up like cordwood, you can end the debate.”

That’s what he expects from his upcoming “Ghostbusters” movie. He had been approached to direct a sequel but felt the scripts, while good, lacked some special sort of appeal. A much better approach seemed to launch a new group of people fighting the paranormal with hardware. And who better to launch that origin story than a team of four women?

It’s certainly an idea that has triggered vast online commentary, some excited he’s pulling the original story in a new direction, others accusing him of dragging it down. Feig said he hopes a wait-and-see spirit will prevail.

“To me, replanting the flag and making it our own is the most respectful thing to do to the original,” he said. “I know a lot of fans don’t agree with me about that. We’re going into this with the most sincere hearts in the world. Just don’t judge until you see it. If you see it and you hate it, so be it.”