MELISSA MCCARTHY TAKES THE REINS IN HER LATEST COMEDY
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.