Melissa McCarthy fearlessly goes for laughs in 'Tammy'

Melissa McCarthy in the Tammy trailer. (Courtesy)

Melissa McCarthy in the Tammy trailer. (Courtesy)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:39 PM ET

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – At this point, Melissa McCarthy should be used to the spotlight after getting a best supporting actress Oscar nod for her breakthrough role in 2011’s comedy Bridesmaids.

But McCarthy, 43, says nothing prepared her for landing on the cover of Rolling Stone’s new summer double issue with the headline: “Fearless, fierce and funny,” in the lead up to the Wednesday release of her latest comedy, Tammy.

“That was pretty crazy,” McCarthy told QMI Agency in an exclusive newspaper interview.

“I thought it was a little interview,” she said of the shoot, which found her jetting off to Paris from a film location in Budapest. “Nobody had said anything about the cover. And I had said, ‘Do they really mind if we do it over the phone or can we Skype or something?' And (my team) said, ‘Well, I think it’s pretty hard to shoot a cover over the phone.' And I literally went, ‘Waaaaaa.’ I burst out crying. And (they) said, ‘Oh, my God! Did you not know it was the cover?’ ‘No, I didn’t know it was the cover!’ You need to process that. It came out so casually. There’s a song about it for God’s sake. Things like that, I just think, ‘I grew up on a little farm. The odds of me (being on the cover of Rolling Stone).’ There’s just certain things that happen where I think, ‘Okay, remember where you are.’ I was in Budapest, I was literally looking out on the Danube, chatting with someone after work (on the film Spy) and that came out. I mean you could have knocked me over with a feather.”

It was actually growing up in the Midwest that helped inspire the female buddy comedy about a cheated upon and fired fast food worker – Tammy – who hits the road with her hard-drinking and horny grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) determined to see Niagara Falls.

McCarthy, a native of Plainfield, Ill., co-wrote and co-produced the film with her husband Ben Falcone, who directs as well.

“I think this woman is from where (Ben) grew up (Carbondale, Ill.) and that’s also where I went to college,” McCarthy told reporters at an earlier press conference.

“That was kind of our jumping off place of like if you’re just stuck in this whole little tiny world of things you don’t like, how hard to you have to get hit to bump you out of your kind of vicious cycle?”

Falcone actually had a dream about six years ago about the movie’s plot and told McCarthy he was going to write it.

“He says things and I say, ‘That sounds great!’” said McCarthy at the press conference.

Still, McCarthy told QMI Agency she feels “nervous and excited” about Tammy, more than any other film she’s been in thus far given her and Falcone’s involvement.

“I feel more responsible to the characters,” said McCarthy, who sat through every single audience test screening and Q&A for the first time on a film.

“We were with those characters for so long, the thought of maybe somebody not liking them makes me want to go, ‘Oh, but they’re such nice people.’ Like I know that’s slightly nuts,” she said. “I’d sit there kind of slumped in the back of the theatre and (it was) brutal and exciting and rewarding and terrifying. That first (screening) (Ben and I) both were sitting there in a full flop sweat. At one point I said, ‘I think I’m going to be sick. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.’ And he was just like rubbing his head. ‘Cause you want to yell out: ‘This will be better!’ ... But I’d do it again.”

The couple, who have two young daughters, Vivian, 7, and Georgette, 4, aren’t big “road trip” people themselves with McCarthy's tendency to immediately fall asleep in cars.

However, they did drive back from Niagara Falls, N.Y., after Tammy was done shooting.

“That was a doozy,” said McCarthy.

Added Falcone: “Six or seven days, long, long, long days. I thought (the kids) would enjoy looking out the window at the country. They really didn’t.”

Still, McCarthy will never forget shooting under the American falls over a two-day stretch that her crew said, “‘We’ve never had a harder day filming and we’ve never been more proud that we got through it.”

“Those Falls were amazing,” she told QMI Agency. “I was so glad we went there. I’d never been. And I called my parents and was like, ‘Why didn’t we go? We could drive there overnight!’”

Next up as a non-film sidebar for McCarthy – who has most of her clothes custom made – is producing a plus size fashion line for women.

“Yeah, that’s what I did in college,” she told QMI Agency. “I always thought I was going to do women’s clothing ... and it’s funny I’m kind of circling back to it. After my second baby I was a different size then I’d been before and I was just kind of always disappointed in what I could find. I just thought, ‘Where are the good separates? Where is the cool stuff?’ It’s kind of grandmotherly or trashy 16-year-old. ‘Where is everything in the middle?’ So that’s my goal.”

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Five great female buddy comedies

The new Melissa McCarthy-Susan Sarandon comedy Tammy, in theatres July 2, is the latest in a long line of great female buddy films. Here’s five that made me want to call my BFFs:

Pitch Perfect (2012): This likeable movie about an uptight female a cappella group in college that gets a major shake up when a new music mash-up loving student arrives (Anna Kendrick) went on to become the second highest grossing musical comedy film behind School of Rock.

Bridesmaids (2011): McCarthy hit the big time with a best supporting actress nod in this film about best friends (Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph) and the jealousy that ensues when one gets engaged and seemingly moves on. The scene in the plane en route to a Las Vegas where McCarthy comes on to a plane marshal (real-life husband Ben Falcone) is comic gold.

Mean Girls (2004): Kind of the antithesis of a female buddy film and yet ultimately still one given how Lindsay Lohan’s exchange student eventually bonds with fellow outsiders after realizing the girl gang she hooked up with initially, the Plastics led by a truly terrifying Regina George (Rachel McAdams), are so not “fetch.” Tina Fey wrote the adapted screenplay and provides the film’s highly quotable dialogue.

Ghost World (2001): Scarlett Johansson, before she was ScarJo, actually had the smaller role as one of two best friends and social outcasts – the bigger part went to Thora Birch – post high school whose lives diverge after they meet a lonely older guy (Steve Buscemi). The film, based on a comic book and adapted by indie director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Bad Santa), got an Oscar nod for best adapted screenplay and now has a cult following.

Thelma and Louise (1991): This six-time Oscar nominated film, directed by Ridley Scott and a best screenplay winner, is the grandmama of all female buddy flicks with Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as two women on the lamb in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible fleeing Thelma’s abusive husband, and the FBI for assorted criminal charges. Also notable for serving as Brad Pitt’s breakout role.


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