Sunday, October 17, 2021

Melissa McCarthy wants to make mainstream stories diverse and diverse stories like Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Diverse is the way forward in Hollywood, but it’s more than that: Variety reports that Melissa McCarthy has been one of the most high-profile ones putting this to the test. The Oscar-nominated actress is currently executive producing and starring in Bridesmaids and has starred in The Boss, Life of the Party and Can You Ever Forgive Me? The shapeshifting comedian recently teamed up with James Gunn and Debra Granik to co-produce the dark family-drama The Little Mermaid, a story from the early days of Disney on its first submarine adventure.

McCarthy is executive producing via her her MRC banner alongside Gunn and Granik through the production shingle Rabbit Bandini and the collaboration definitely hit home. “I grew up watching these movies all the time with my parents,” McCarthy said. “I have to admit that I never forgot watching The Little Mermaid, and the wonderful, heartbreaking underwater scenes I could never get past!”

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As a clever artist and tough comic actress, the 46-year-old found the story of the mermaid kidnapping an apt fit to play Saki, a fearless scientist who goes toe-to-toe with a young future queen who’s after her son, Ariel.

“She’s a doer,” the actress reflected. “A veritable optimist who refuses to accept the injustices she sees around her. It’s not a completely far-fetched story! She’s brave and flexible, and risks her life with her own invention. The journey she takes as she tries to save her family and protect them from their evil master – and hers – is a lesson I can relate to. There was a calm beauty in her. I can totally relate to her with Melissa McCarthy.”

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McCarthy also teases the lack of dialogue in an upcoming summer family movie, The Starling: “Every important action takes place entirely through controlled body language. Like holding the film together. And one of the most challenging scenes we shot was a trance-like movement. It took us all, hands over our heads, to really get into the moment, where we’re effectively just reacting to each other. It’s a great example of not doing the script. We take risks, and no one can tell us what to do. When they can do that with a script they have to do all the work, so it frees everyone up and makes for a more fun experience.”

She’s written and directed a comedy in The Kitchen, which is about a gang of women doing dirty jobs in a Brooklyn apartment building. It co-stars fellow SNL veteran Elizabeth Banks, director Catherine Hardwicke and producer Bill Block, as well as Yvonne Strahovski, Nicole Ari Parker and a newcomer to the screen named Tiffany Haddish. It hits cinemas in April.

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Once it was released, McCarthy followed it up with a tour-de-force turn in The Happytime Murders, where she plays a human woman who finds herself paired with two police detectives (Phil Mitchell and Bill Barretta) on the trail of a sociopathic puppet.

The Merry Murders also marks McCarthy’s first on-screen commitment since 2017 and looks set to confirm the Hollywood A-lister as a box office powerhouse once again. “This was so fun for me. I don’t even know what it means. It might be the most fun I’ve ever had on a film set,” she said. “I had my mouth open, laughing, and my blood boiling. We just ran out of the set. Even I was like, ‘Oh, I have to wrap!’ I literally ran into a hallway and went into a restroom and closed the door and couldn’t talk. It’s really rare to get to do that as an actor.”

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