×

10 Directors to Watch: Ben Falcone’s Debut Stars Wife Melissa McCarthy

Improv comic steps behind camera to helm wife Melissa McCarthy laffer 'Tammy'

Ask Ben Falcone about his directorial debut, and he’s quick to deflect the conversation to his wife and star, Melissa McCarthy, who co-wrote “Tammy,” based on a character she played at L.A.’s Groundlings Theater. Falcone will rave about the rest of the cast, which includes Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Dan Aykroyd. Even the crew. Everyone but himself.

When it comes to describing his role in the whole operation, he says, “I just tried not to mess things up!”
Falcone’s unwillingness to take credit fits with his improv comedy background as an improviser, where the focus is always on the ensemble. Not surprisingly, Falcone has fostered a warm, encouraging directing style, drawing from the playbook of Paul Feig.

“We were writing the movie as we were filming it. The process was very much alive,” says Falcone, who played the randy air marshal in “Bridesmaids.” “It’s the Judd Apatow and Paul Feig school of ‘the film’s not done until it’s done.’ ”

Falcone and McCarthy wrote the script for “Tammy” together, resurrecting her Groundlings character: an emotionally complicated woman who sets off on an impromptu road trip with her alcoholic grandmother after watching her job and marriage evaporate. Its outrageous, character-driven premise caught the attention of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, who signed on to produce along with McCarthy.

Popular on Variety

As a New Line summer release, the comedy is bound to boost Falcone’s profile, but he’s determined to stick to his collaborative roots. He’s writing a script with McCarthy and Steve Mallory, whom he met on the set of “Identity Thief.”

“Melissa and I just really want to work with nice people,” he says. “If somebody wrote a script that I think is amazing, and they’re super nice, why wouldn’t I want to do it?”

Stats:
› Age: 40
› Home base: Los Angeles
› Agency: CAA
› Manager: The Schiff Co.

More Film

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

  • Tresor Plots $72 Million 'Asterix &

    Tresor Films Plots $72 Million 'Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road,' New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    After delivering two of the highest-grossing French films of last year, Alain Attal’s Paris-based production company Tresor Films (“Sink or Swim,” “Little White Lies 2”) is kicking off 2020 with its most ambitious project yet, Guillaume Canet’s “Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road.” Co-produced and financed by Jerome Seydoux’s Pathé, “Asterix & Obelix” is budgeted [...]

  • Anais Bertrand on Producing Sundance Player

    Anais Bertrand on the Obstacles She Faced to Produce Sundance Player ‘Jumbo’

    Zoé Wittock’s debut feature, “Jumbo,” screening in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, is also the first feature film produced by up-and-coming French producer Anais Bertrand, of Insolence Productions, who has cut her teeth on award-winning shorts, including winning the Procirep Short Film Producer Award last year. “Jumbo” is about a young woman, played by Noémie [...]

  • 'Parasite,' 'Jojo Rabbit' Win ACE Eddie

    'Parasite,' 'Jojo Rabbit' Win ACE Eddie Awards for Top Feature Films

    “Parasite” and “Jojo Rabbit” have won the top feature film trophies at the 70th Annual ACE Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Jinmo Yang won the dramatic feature category for “Parasite” over “Ford v Ferrari,” “Joker,” “The Irishman,” and “Marriage Story.” The victory marks the first time in ACE Eddie Awards history that a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content