Eye on the Oscars: The Actress - Supporting Role: Melissa McCarthy
Since creating a bigscreen comedy isn’t producing widgets, uncertainty is a constant sidekick. So it might not be a shock to mention that Melissa McCarthy was filled with doubt after she left her audition for “Bridesmaids.”
“I was pretty intimidated, being in the same room with (director) Paul Feig and (producer) Judd (Apatow),” says McCarthy. “It was a little nerve-wracking, too, to be with my friends Kristen (Wiig) and (co-screenwriter) Annie Mumolo. I didn’t want to screw it up for them. The whole way home I was beating myself up.”
As it turned out, her worries were unfounded. She nailed the audition that included an improvisation of her tale about falling off a cruise ship and chatting with a dolphin, and was a scene-stealer in the ensemble cast.
McCarthy has been causing audiences to bust a gut during her years of doing standup in New York, and almost 10 years at the Groundlings in L.A. She’s also a TV star, and Emmy winner, co-starring on CBS’ “Mike & Molly.”
“A couple of weeks ago I did a show at the Groundlings that I hadn’t done for a while,” she says. “I thought I tanked but somebody told me they (the audience) were laughing like crazy. I said I thought they were silent.”
Her improv training at the Groundlings, where she worked with Wiig, Mumolo and Maya Rudolph, came in quite handy when they all gathered together for weeks of “Bridesmaids” rehearsals to hone the characters and story.
“It made it so great, because I guess you could say there’s a shorthand, or less of a shorthand than just trust,” McCarthy says. “We’re used to improvising together. When you really have people who improvise well, no one tries to take the forefront. It’s not a fight for who can get the most jokes in.”
And with “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy had a stronger sense that it would generate laughs.
“The first time I saw it I was with my mom and dad,” she says. “My dad kept hitting me in the arm he was laughing so hard. Nearby were some 19-year-olds laughing. I said to myself, ‘I don’t know that this isn’t hitting everyone in the right spot.’ ”