‘Parks and Rec’ writer hits big screen with script starring Sandra Bullock

Katie Dippold. Photo provided by Katie Dippold


By Lindsay Sweeney —

“The Heat,” a new film featuring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as a team of law enforcement officers in Boston, has helped Katie Dippold, J/MS 2002, take her career to great and hilarious new levels.

Beginning as a stand-up comedian in New York City and then a writer on the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” Dippold is the mastermind behind the script for the comedy, set to hit theaters June 28.

In the film, Bullock stars as uptight FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn, who is paired with testy Boston cop Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) in order to take down a ruthless drug lord.

“I actually for a long time wanted to be an FBI agent,” said Dippold. “And I always wanted to see two women playing those kind of roles, where a movie isn’t all about them trying to get some love interest but just being awesome, funny cops solving a crime and being badass in the process.”

Dippold found her big break through taking classes at and eventually becoming a regular improvisational comedian at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. She also interned at “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” where she found valuable insight into how the writers there worked.

During her time at Upright Citizens Brigade, Dippold auditioned twice for MadTV. She was flown to Los Angeles both times and gave them her writing packet the second time. Dippold was hired on as a writer and worked at “Parks and Recreation” for three seasons. It was then that she wrote the script for “The Heat.”

“Getting the email that Paul Feig, director of the film, wanted to meet for lunch to talk about the script was very exciting,” she said. “I almost had a heart attack. It’s a really long and hard process to get a movie made, so I’ve been very lucky this one came together so quickly.”

Sandra Bullock (left) and Melissa McCarthy team up in “The Heat.” Photo provided by Imdb.com

She met both Bullock and McCarthy, who she said were “incredibly nice and warm people” as well as “extremely smart” and “obviously crazy talented.” Dippold remained on set in Boston for the three months of filming for rewrites and editing of the script.

“That’s not always the case, but Paul Feig is the best and very writer-friendly and prefers to have the writer around,” she said.

“The Heat” is not the first script Dippold has written. While she was at Upright Citizens Brigade, she wrote another full script with a fellow comedian and also wrote a script for FOX that was never filmed.

The hardest part of her job has been learn-ing to trust herself and her ideas. Dippold began thinking about what she would like to see as an audience member and wrote from there.

“It took the pressure off what was good and what wasn’t,” she said. “You can’t argue with knowing what you wish you could see in the theater or on television.”

Dippold said her favorite part of her job is working with people who make her “laugh really hard” every day. Her journalism background helped her to keep scripts from dragging on. It keeps her writing sharper and to the point, according to Dippold.

Dippold’s sharp and pointed humor in “The Heat” is scheduled to hit the big screen June 28 nationwide.