The A-List Interview: Melissa McCarthy
BY Brandon Voss
May 16 2014 4:50 AM ET
Sarandon and McCarthy in Tammy
Your titular character in Tammy takes a wild road trip with Susan Sarandon as her boozy grandma. Did all your Thelma & Louise fantasies come true?
Totally. I kept asking her, “Should we go off a cliff? Is that too on-the-nose?” She is one of the coolest women I’ve ever met, by a landslide. She’s so interesting, so intelligent, and such a great humanitarian. The fact that I got to spend time with her — and now consider her a friend — is pretty surreal. I was having a delightful breakdown during filming.
It’s good to see you two together again after you shared a memorable kiss in an episode of Mike & Molly.
That’s right! She’s a good kisser, by the way. I loved that Molly actually considers it for a moment when Susan’s character propositions her. Molly’s like, Hmm … should I? Nope, I’m married. But the joke on set was that I don’t know if I’d really be able to say no! I mean, come on, it’s Susan Sarandon.
You cowrote Tammy with your husband, Ben Falcone. What inspired the lesbian couple played by Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh?
They’re based on some of my couple friends. They’re the goal. As Tammy and her grandmother spiral downward, we wanted them to see this lovely, adjusted couple and realize that, if they made an effort, they could have that, too. Kathy and Sandra played it beautifully. Sandra and Kathy had known each other from before, so they had this fantastic ease together. I totally bought them as a dreamy couple. They just looked so in love, like they’d been together forever. They didn’t even need to speak; Kathy would give Sandra these looks and I’d think, Aww, that’s the good stuff. They were magical together.
Kathy’s character compares Tammy’s troubles to her own struggles as a lesbian.
Yeah, there’s a scene where she basically tells Tammy to quit bitching about her life. Before we shot it, I remember telling Kathy, “OK, this is when you really hand it to me.” She said, “No, I’m saying it with love to try to help you,” and she delivered the speech so beautifully. She tells Tammy, “Gay hasn’t always been in fashion, my friend,” and she delivers the line with the weight of everything you know can possibly be attached to it. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
Along with the lesbian dance party, I assume.
That was pretty fun, I’m not going to kid you. I wanted everyone to look real and comfortable, because I wanted it to seem like a party I’d actually go to. We had a good mix of real lesbian couples and some that were just faking it, but they were all amazing women. It was about 106 degrees outside, but they’d ask the DJ to keep playing music during our breaks so they could keep dancing. That never happens.