“I see it as a coming-of-age story for a 35year-old and a 67-year-old,” McCarthy says. “It’s this little story that I thought could be really funny, but also has heart to it.”
Tammy marks a new direction for McCarthy’s career. Despite the backing of New Line parent Warner Bros, Hollywood’s largest studio, the movie is essentially a family affair for the star and Falcone. They wrote it together, she produced it, and he directed it, in his first time behind the camera.
“It was clear from the first draft this was a more personal movie for them, almost like an indie, so everybody rolled up their sleeves to make it for a price,” Emmerich says.
Although also a comedy, Tammy is a departure from The Heat and Identity Thief, which featured Bullock and Jason Bateman, respect-
Bridesmaids, ively, as the uptight ego to McCarthy’s unbridled id. That prompted New Line to budget the new movie at a modest $US20m. ($23m) And because McCarthy and Falcone had creative autonomy, the star — who can command close to $US10m a role — took a smaller upfront salary in exchange for a larger-than-normal cut of the film’s proceeds, according to people familiar with the deal.
McCarthy is continuing to act in other movies, including the recently wrapped comedy Spy by Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids and The Heat. She also has a supporting role in the independent film St Vincent, which premiered in the US last week. McCarthy plans to partner again soon with her husband. Next year he will direct her in the comedy Michelle Darnell, which the couple wrote with a friend and are producing. McCarthy and Falcone also are producing Just Do It, based on a book about a married couple who have sex for 101 straight days. McCarthy plans to star in the film.
McCarthy says she is most comfortable when she is in control. “I am incredibly detailoriented and like to be in on every decision,” she says. “I don’t know if it makes me sound maniacal, but I love it.”
Falcone took the director credit in large part by default. The directors New Line initially pursued dropped out for various reasons and between doing Mike & Molly and two to three movies a year, McCarthy didn’t have time for directorial such as location scouting and postproduction.
“We definitely made it together, but I did more of the roles attributed to a director because her schedule prevented it and she’s in every frame of the movie,” Falcone says. “I could sift through 50 questions, answer most of them, and then come up to her as the actor-producer and make sure we agree on the most important two.”
Seeing herself front, centre and alone in every poster and billboard for Tammy is a little scary, McCarthy says, because she feels responsible for its fate: “I’m more nervous about this one.” She also is trying to shed the “muscle memory”, built up over 20 years as a somewhat successful actress, that her career should be a struggle and no more roles will come her way.
Until that happens, McCarthy seems less intent on crafting a career than taking opportunities to forge her own path while she can.
“I have no goal,” she says. “I can only think of myself as an audience member and I know that if I really love how someone did something, it doesn’t mean I want to see them do it 15 times.”