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Melissa Rauch Talks Fame, Petiteness and Free Pretzels at ‘The Bronze’ Premiere

The cast of “The Bronze” — Melissa Rauch, Sebastian Stan, Haley Lu Richardson and Thomas Middleditch — brought high energy and humor as they hit the red carpet for the film’s premiere on Monday night at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

“I have always been a huge fan of gymnastics,” said “The Big Bang Theory” star Rauch, who also wrote and exec produced the film. “There’s not many athletes I can play, seeing that I’m under 5 feet tall.”

The Bronze” follows one-time bronze medal-winning gymnast Hope Greggory (Rauch) as she trains an up-and-coming gymnast Maggie Townsend (Richardson) to win gold. In doing so, Greggory deals with the pain of having missed her chance to win a gold medal of her own.

Rauch said she was visiting a New Jersey mall with her husband years earlier when an experience with a store manager prompted her to think about fame in a small town.

“I had just started to have a little bit of momentum in the TV world, and the manager at the pretzel place gave me a free pretzel,” said Rauch. “Then, the show was canceled and the same manager pretended like he didn’t know me and didn’t give me a free pretzel the next time I saw him.”

While the R-rated comedy is filled with foul language, sexual gestures and erratic behavior that elicits laughter, more went into the film than a few good jokes.

“Physically, this role was a lot of preparation because I had to train with a stunt coach for two months before we started filming,” said co-star Richardson. “I had to get my body in shape so I looked like a believable gymnast, and I had to learn how to get into the moves so the stunt double could actually do the flips.”

Middleditch underwent a full mental change to bring his character, Twitchy — a small-town guy who can be more gawky than charming — to life. “I wanted to make sure that Twitchy had a certain honesty to him,” the actor said. “He is a naive guy who falls in love with a character that leaves a little to be desired in the morality department, so I wanted to make sure that his naivete felt honest and real.”

Rauch said she hopes fans will see a story of redemption and hope, and that they’ll get a good laugh out of the film.

Indeed, there was no shortage of laughter at the premiere — where Rauch was joined by her “The Big Bang Theory” co-stars including Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Mayim Bialik — or on set. The film’s stars said everything from the script to filming was a comedic experience.

“I think everybody in this cast is very talented, and Melissa and Thomas are so funny,” said Stan. “They are both such witty, off-the-cuff actors, and I felt that being surrounded by them only elevated me.”

“The Bronze” premiered in January 2015 at Sundance. Sony Pictures Classics will release it in New York and Los Angeles on March 18.

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