BOSS LADY

MELISSA MCCARTHY TAKES THE REINS IN HER LAT­EST COM­EDY

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

Since the dawn of the mil­len­nium, a strange

Inside Out sce­nario has been play­ing out in Melissa McCarthy’s head.

While ‘Joy’ has mostly kept hold of the levers, one of the other emo­tions has been wrestling for con­trol. Not quite ‘Anger’ – more a blend of greed, delu­sion, self­im­por­tance, tem­per and en­ti­tle­ment.

We’ll call this emo­tion ‘Trump-es­que’.

And now, it has made its move – bust­ing out of McCarthy’s head and on to cinema screens in the de­cid­edly not-PG-rated form of Michelle Dar­nell, the busi­ness mogul an­ti­hero of her new com­edy, The Boss.

“I first did Michelle Dar­nell 15-16 years ago at the Groundlings im­prov theatre,” ex­plains McCarthy. “She came into my head 3D: I knew what she looked like – red spiky wig, state­ment jew­ellery, turtle­neck up to her jaw­line – I knew how she sounded, I knew her energy.”

That energy sees Dar­nell de­scend into the movie aboard a gi­ant golden phoenix, to a packed sta­dium and fire­works. But her em­pire is built on in­sider trad­ing and af­ter a stint in prison, Dar­nell is forced to spit, swear and street-brawl her way back to the top with the aid of a rough ’n’ tum­ble girlscout group sell­ing cook­ies.

The movie is pure, unadul­ter­ated McCarthy – not only did the Os­car-nom­i­nated

Brides­maids star dream up the char­ac­ter, she co-wrote and pro­duced The Boss with her hus­band/di­rec­tor, Ben Fal­cone.

And she does it all in power garb that would make Bron­wyn Bishop green with envy.

If the turtle­neck is ever go­ing to make a come­back, now is the time and McCarthy, who hap­pens to have her own cloth­ing la­bel in the US, is the woman to make it hap­pen.

“I’m gonna do a whole turtle­neck line – noth­ing but turtle­necks and turtle­neck tape to keep it up.”

There’s no doubt­ing McCarthy’s will­ing­ness to put her neck – and boobs – on the line for laughs.

When we last spoke to the ac­tor for 2015’s box of­fice hit

Spy, much laugh­ter was had over a scene in which Ja­son Statham grap­pled with her chest re­gion.

“Then I turned around and did it to Kris­ten Bell. So I didn’t learn, I just be­came the prob­lem,” McCarthy says. (“I didn’t even think about that,” she adds later. “What a weird run­ning theme to have in my movies ...”)

Yes, McCarthy man­han­dles Bell’s boobs in The Boss. She’s also flung off a sofa bed, sword fights Peter Din­klage and – in pos­si­bly the barmi­est scene you’ll see in a movie all year – spends so long wear­ing a ghastly teeth-whiten­ing con­trap­tion that the joke has time to get old then get funny all over again.

“Chris Henchy is one of the pro­duc­ers and his wife is Brooke Shields. She sent him a pic­ture while she was at the den­tist with her mouth in that con­trap­tion,” McCarthy says.

“It made me laugh so hard I said, ‘I have to go find that thing’. I’m so glad I did, I mean, I felt my jaw was gonna come un­hinged, but at the same time couldn’t have kept my mouth open that long – be­cause I was like that all day.”

While it’s de­li­cious to pic­ture a bit of Michelle Dar­nell com­ing out when­ever McCarthy goes into pitch meet­ings with stu­dio heads, her hus­band of 10-plus years sadly puts paid to this vi­sion.

“Melissa’s just very much her­self, very sweet. She’s very Mid­west­ern,” says Fal­cone, who like his wife was raised in Illi­nois, well away from the big city of Chicago.

“She’s got a great smile and she gen­uinely loves peo­ple. Who­ever she’s talk­ing to ... she wants to know how you’re do­ing. She’s never gone into a meet­ing and said: ‘Here’s how it’s gonna go down!’”

McCarthy laughs when asked how much of her ca­reer is based on Dar­nell style bravado. At 45, she sim­ply feels lucky to be “a work­ing ac­tor”.

“The odds of you re­ally mak­ing your liv­ing at it seem so far­fetched. It’s a lot of: ‘You’re not right’, ‘You’ll never work’. Every­body at ev­ery stage tells you all the rea­sons it can’t work. If you re­ally want it you have to put your head down and go: I’ll break right through that wall.

“It could very well be a big part of why I love Michelle Dar­nell so much. She’s not tear­ing peo­ple down as much as she’s say­ing: If you want it and you want to work for it, you can get it. If you don’t want to work for it, get out.”

Melissa McCarthy and Kris­ten Bell in scene from The Boss.

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