With the arrival of Tammy in theaters July 2, it is truly a special moment for married couple Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. As teased in the Tammy trailer, McCarthy stars in the comedy that marks the directing debut of her husband and frequent co-star (he can be seen famously appearing with her when you watch Bridesmaids online).
McCarthy and Falcone wrote the screenplay together and the film’s arrival marks the end of an effort that began six years ago.
“Ben came downstairs, just having woken up, and literally said, ‘I had a weird dream, and I think I have to write it. You go on a road trip with your grandmother, and she drinks and sleeps around. I’m going to go write that movie.’ And I thought, ‘All right. Why don’t you do that?’ So, he had it in a dream,” McCarthy told Movie Fanatic of Tammy’s origins.
“That began the whole thing. He says things, and I say, ‘That sounds great!’ I just agree with him, and it all works out.”
The duo, who met while doing improv, dared to dream, and even though it is happening, they are still having a major pinch yourself moment. Heck, McCarthy and Falcone were surprised that people were even reading the script.
“We just thought, ‘What if?’ and ‘Can you imagine?’ I don’t know how concrete we ever thought we could actually take the next step,” McCarthy said. “And then, it all came in stages. When people started actually reading it and I found out that certain people had it, I had a weird moment.”
It was particularly nerve-racking for McCarthy and Falcone when they knew that Sarandon had it -- someone they imagined playing McCarthy’s grandmother and road trip companion as the two try to break out of their mundane lives in a small town. “I was literally coming apart at the seams. I was like, ‘I don’t know if she’s ever going to read it, but the fact that it’s in her house is making me have weird breakdowns, all throughout the day.’ Every step of it is still dreamy to me,” McCarthy said.
Given that Sarandon probably doesn’t think of herself at the point in her career where she’s playing grandmothers, we wondered what her reaction was once the movie got green lit and she agreed to be a part of it.
“Well, one of her first questions when we were first meeting on the phone was, ‘Are you seeing a little, old granny with glasses and a crocheted sweater and up-do bun?’ And we were like, ‘Oh, God, no. She has raging problems with alcohol, and she sleeps around,’” McCarthy said. “And then, it was like, ‘Okay, we’ll be fine. We’re in a real realm here.’”
Both Falcone and McCarthy grew up in Illinois, where Tammy takes place. That is also where they filmed it! “Ben said, ‘I think this woman is from where I grew up.’ We had to base it on real people we know, and what it’s like if you feel stuck,” McCarthy said.
“I think there are people who really love the comfort of their small town, and there are people who feel stuck by it. That’s where our jumping off place was. If you’re really stuck in this rut, and you’re just stuck in this whole little, tiny world of things that you don’t like, how hard do you have to get hit to bump you out of your vicious cycle?”
Tammy is quite the revelation (our review arrives July 2) in that it is not your typical, mainstream comedy that anchors a major studio’s (Warner Bros.) July 4 weekend release. Because McCarthy and Falcone had worked for so long and so closely on this script, they were honestly unwilling to go broader in the humor if that was what a studio wanted. Lucky for them, that was never an issue.
“By the time we were ready to show people (the script), we’d had it for years, and we knew these people. I felt protected with them. So, if somebody wanted a bigger scene or a bigger trailer moment, we just knew that that person maybe wouldn’t do that, or that it didn’t have to be bigger or flashier,” McCarthy said.
“It just had to stay in the right realm of the story. More eccentric characters can push pretty far, but if you stay on the side of reality, it’s always funnier. We tried to let all of these people push as far as they could, but keep it real. Hopefully, the story has more impact that way.”
Lastly, we have been marveling at McCarthy’s success and there is something uniquely special about her brand of comedy. And we think there are very few comediennes working today that can handle physical comedy like her.
“You just have to be willing to basically really bruise yourself,” McCarthy said of her physical comedy skills. “I have bruises. I’m just covered, really!”
One thing that is fun too is watching McCarthy dance. We saw her do it in Identity Thief and she has a few nice moves in Bridesmaids too. We wondered, "What gets her dancing?"
“Oh, my gosh, I have the weirdest mix, but what I keep playing over and over is Skee-Lo’s, I Wish (I Was a Little Bit Taller. I Wish I Was a Baller)! There’s a lot of weird dancing going on in my car. If I ever get caught, it will be very embarrassing,” McCarthy said.
“Hands are up, and not on the wheel. I listen to a lot of '80s hip-hop, but I have a really weird mix. I’ll dance to anything!”
And we’d watch her!