Steal­ing the show

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

No doubt you were of­fered lots of come­dies af­ter your role in Brides­maids. Why did you go with Iden­tity Thief?

Well, right off the bat, Ja­son Bate­man. I find him charm­ing. He’s a good fam­ily guy, he’s great with his kids and I think all of that good, nor­mal life comes through on the screen. He has al­ways been one of my favourites. So when I got a call he wanted to go to lunch, I was like, ‘Whaaaat?’ It’s a lit­tle over­whelm­ing. Your char­ac­ter steals peo­ple’s iden­ti­ties and spends up big with their credit cards. How did you go about cre­at­ing her unique style?

I al­ways weirdly start with a wig. It’s my favourite thing to do. I go wig shop­ping and ... I don’t know why it’s where I start. The whole wardrobe be­came such a part of who she was. It was so fun to cob­ble that to­gether. I love the fact that this in­se­cure, lonely per­son pre­tends to be so out­go­ing and it comes out in her clothes; that made me really feel like her. Can you re­late? Is a lot of com­edy about de­flect­ing in­se­cu­rity?

I don’t have the dark side that peo­ple are al­ways like: ‘You do com­edy! You’re ac­tu­ally really tragic and dark!’ I’m like, ‘I kinda like my life’. Where does your fun­ni­ness come from?

I blame my funny par­ents. We had din­ners around the ta­ble and if you could tell a good story that made ev­ery­body laugh ... It’s not like we were all telling jokes, but it was really fun. If you can make peo­ple laugh, it’s such a nice feel­ing.

With all your re­cent suc­cesses, what most ex­cited your par­ents?

My dad fully went bonkers with Brides­maids. In my home­town (Illi­nois), there was a life-size cut-out of all of us in our pink dresses and one day I got a pic­ture – my mum and dad were sit­ting in our liv­ing room with cof­fee, and I was sit­ting be­tween them. They had taken the card­board cut-out. I thought, ‘OK, they’ve gone crazy. It’s of­fi­cial’. What ca­reer moment did you go crazy over?

The first time I got a reg­u­lar job, which was Gil­more Girls, I bawled my eyes out. I couldn’t be­lieve I was ac­tu­ally gonna have a steady job. I’d never, ever had that, not even slightly, not even a show that failed. I felt like it was the first time I could say I was an ac­tor. I had never ac­tu­ally said it. I felt em­bar­rassed: ‘I’m not really, I do all th­ese other jobs ... ’ What jobs did you do be­fore Gil­more Girls?

In New York, I did nine mil­lion waiter jobs in ev­ery restau­rant on Earth, and I nan­nied. When I moved to LA, I worked at the YMCA, at a Star­bucks and I nan­nied a lot. Then I was a PA and a pro­duc­tion man­ager. I did any­thing I could get my hands on. You and Ja­son Bate­man beat each other up reg­u­larly in Iden­tity Thief. Could you take him in a real fight?

I wanna say yes, prob­a­bly be­cause I would fight dirty. That was a lot of fight­ing, es­pe­cially in 41-de­gree At­lanta, over three 17-hour days ... But there’s no way to fake the fight stuff. It’s like a really hard ex­er­cise class ex­cept the class goes for like, 17 hours, and you have to keep your en­ergy up ev­ery time. Did you get hurt?

I bloodied his nose twice and he threw me to the ground really hard. I had bruises ev­ery­where. I kept pulling weird mus­cles. How do peo­ple do full-blown ac­tion movies? They’ve just gotta be a wreck af­ter­wards. I mean, I did like a com­edy with a bunch of ac­tion in it and I al­most killed my­self. Where did you learn your throatchop fight move?

Well, I’m 5ft 2in (157.5cm) – how would I really get away if Ja­son was at­tack­ing me? It’d have to be pretty cheap. I could kick him in the male parts – but we’ve seen that.

Iden­tity Thief opens to­day.

Iden­tity Thief.

So then I thought, a solid punch to the throat would drop some­one. So I kept ask­ing, ‘Can I punch him in the throat?’ and bizarrely they said, ‘Yeah’. Then we ended up do­ing it again and again ... You’ve got a nasty side.

Ap­par­ently. If I was a street fighter, I would just gouge peo­ple’s eyes out. Iden­tity Thief backs up the claim that Brides­maids has widened the op­tions for women in movies.

It was orig­i­nally writ­ten for two men. Ja­son is the one that said, ‘What if it’s not a man?’ I have to say, Brides­maids was a wake-up call, like, you can make all the women funny.

Melissa McCarthy takes the lead in new road com­edy

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