In person, Melissa McCarthy is everything you would hope for – beautiful, charming, quirky, casual, upbeat, joyful – and chatting with her just like having a heart-to-heart with one of your besties. Thanks to my partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures., travel and accommodations provided, I had the good fortune to attend an exclusive interview opportunity with Melissa McCarthy on the set of her newest film, LIFE OF THE PARTY (in theaters May 11.)
I’ve been following McCarthy’s career from her days as my favorite character, Sookie on Gilmore Girls. Everything about her performance always made me feel like I was watching a real, complex woman who had a wonderful spirit and a whole lot of heart and soul. With every role she’s taken on since, she continues to flex her comedic skills and up the bar of improv.
Everyone from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times touts McCarthy as the Queen of Comedy and after seeing her in action, there’s no doubt, she truly is!
Watching her on set for the LIFE OF THE PARTY was a real treat. We viewed numerous takes on the first scene of the film, fascinated by the interaction and constant revision process taking place. McCarthy says the team never stops writing, not even in the post-process. Until the film is in the theater, she says they continue to write.
McCarthy sat down with us during a break to discuss the film and instantly captivated the crowd with her warm and effervescent personality. She has innocence about her for a mega-star, a humility that is refreshingly honest – from her joyful smile to her genuine gratitude when learning that people are fans and wearing her clothing line, almost as if she’s hearing it for the first time.
The LIFE OF THE PARTY film was her husband, Ben Falcone’s, idea initially. McCarthy said he grew up in a college town and has a “real sweet spot” for universities. Once the movie idea was in motion, she became obsessed with thinking about when and why people got to a certain age and decided they were done growing, learning or shying away from the possibility of doing things like going back to school to obtain a higher education.
“As a woman, it fascinates me that we kind of are immediately sometimes categorized,” said McCarthy. “You know once you’re out of your twenties, you’re done with this and then you’re done. And I just kind of reject that.”
The film, according to McCarthy, is centered on redefining yourself without deserting who you are.
“I think especially for women, when you stop kind of evolving as a person and when you start to kind of only live for other people, which is really easy when you have kids, that you just kind of get waylaid,” said McCarthy. “When do you stop going what do I like? Or what’s new that I like?”
Portraying an authentic character in the film who also looks the part is important to McCarthy. She modeled a lot of her wardrobe after her mom and other people she has known, which helps her to feel more like the character. When she goes through a makeover transition in the film, she worked diligently to ensure that it wasn’t a statement of suggesting the character was somehow a better person just because they may look better.
McCarthy was also able to draw on her personal experience with fashion for an 80’s party scene in the film. She even shopped on Etsy and chose all her fellow sorority girl cast member’s costumes for the scene. Film viewers should keep an eye out for pictures of the McCarthy from the ’80’s, too, in a scene at her character’s parent’s home.
Ultimately, along with being a fun, entertaining comedy, the film offers women hope that life doesn’t end just because you are middle-aged or you now have empty-nest syndrome at home. McCarthy doesn’t buy into the notion that at any age, life is over.
“Even though we do go to bed at 8 o’clock, we’re not going to say we don’t know what we’re going to do,” said McCarthy. “You always have somebody in your life that suddenly does something that you can’t even get your head wrapped around. We should at least keep the possibility!”
ABOUT the LIFE OF THE PARTY
When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into re-set by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.
Alongside McCarthy, the film also stars Gillian Jacobs (“Don’t Think Twice,” Netflix’s “Love,” TV’s “Community”), Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids,” “Sisters”), Julie Bowen (ABC’s “Modern Family”), Matt Walsh (HBO’s “Veep,” “Ghostbusters”), Molly Gordon (“Love the Coopers,” TNT’s “Animal Kingdom”), with Stephen Root (“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”), and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “Animal Kingdom”), Jessie Ennis (AMC’s “Better Call Saul”), Adria Arjona (HBO’s “True Detective,” NBC’s upcoming “Emerald City”), Debby Ryan (Disney Channel’s “Jessie”) and Jimmy O. Yang (HBO’s “Silicon Valley”).
McCarthy and Falcone co-wrote the screenplay and produce through their production company, On the Day Production. Chris Henchy is also producing the film, with David Siegel serving as executive producer.
Falcone’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Julio Macat (“The Boss,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” “Daddy’s Home”); production designer Rusty Smith (“The Boss”); editor Brian Olds (“Central Intelligence”); and costume designer Louise Mingenbach (the “The Hangover” franchises) with music by Fil Eisler “How to Be Single,” TV’s “Empire”), A New Line Cinema production, “Life of the Party” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
It has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material, drug content and partying.