Meghan Markle ‘inspired and impressed me,’ says McCarthy
Nothing illustrates the stark contrast between the real Melissa McCarthy and the characters she plays than the day she was walking with her mother, Sandra. The American actress was spotted by one of her many devoted but slightly overenthusiastic fans who rushed up to the couple and began to let out a volley of hardcore swear words.
“Now, I’ve never used a ‘swear word’ myself in real life, especially not in front of my mom,” Melissa says. “And this guy came over and he kept insulting me because he really wanted me to answer him – and then he started insulting my mother.
“And my mom is this nice woman from the Mid-West, and he kept saying the F-word in front of her, it was bright red, and I kept saying, ‘Please stop fucking. swear, it’s my mother!’ and he just swore some more.
“He meant that as a compliment because he liked the characters I play on screen, but that’s not who I am in real life.”
This person is actually soft-spoken, convent-educated, and raised in no-frills Illinois — a million miles from the barrel of crass, sweary slapstick we’re more accustomed to seeing on screen.
But, as Melissa explains, while she enjoys playing characters like the lascivious sworn maid of honor Megan in Bridesmaids or the vulgar and feisty detective Shannon in The Heat, there’s a lot more to both of her character. and her acting skills than just a loudmouth who does anything for fun.
In Nine Perfect Strangers, a TV miniseries launching today on Amazon Prime, Melissa plays a bestselling author who, despite a few demons, is smart, empathetic, and socially adept.
“I feel like one of the luckiest things about what I do in life is I spend a lot of time thinking about walking through life in someone else’s shoes,” says Melissa. “I hope some of this makes me empathize with all kinds of different people, because even when people behave in a way that I don’t like at all, I still try to think – what is -what scares them? Why are they so angry?
“And I’m trying really hard to catch my breath and remember that most unattractive behavior comes from fear of not being valued, and I think I’m lucky to have a job that appeals to me. helps me remember.”
Melissa, 50, was born on a large farm in Plainfield, Illinois, to Sandra and Michael McCarthy. Her father’s family is from County Cork, while Sandra’s ancestors were also Irish Catholics, with a mix of English and German.
Melissa was born on a large farm in Plainfield, Illinois
In 2011, Melissa landed her breakout performance in Bridesmaids
The actress – who recently did a double act with the Duchess of Sussex in a charity appeal video for Meghan’s 40th birthday – wanted to be a designer and moved to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. Instead, she started doing stand-up comedy and joined The Groundlings, a comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, where she met her husband, filmmaker, comedian and actor Ben Falcone.
Her cousin is actress and former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy, and Melissa made her television debut opposite her in the 1997 NBC comedy series Jenny.
From there, roles portraying funny, klutzy girls in romantic comedies followed until 2011 when she landed her breakout performance in Bridesmaids for which she received her first Oscar nomination. She got a second in 2019 for the drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?. The bridesmaids saw her reunited with husband Ben, but Melissa banned their daughters, Vivian, 14, and Georgette, 11, from seeing a hilarious sex scene the couple performed in one of the bridesmaids shots. “We make a good couple,” Melissa says contentedly of her husband. “He’s a calming guy – although he’s very funny, he’s also very equal to Steven, so whatever the situation, he knows he can handle it.
“I’m not like that. I’m like, ‘Aaaaaah! What are we going to do?’ I’m all great reactions and up and down, and he’s always just, like, ‘Something’s gonna work out, we’re gonna figure it out,’ so we’re good for each other like that.”
Melissa starred in Meghan’s 40th birthday charity appeal video
Although their jobs inevitably involve travel, the two have a rule that if they can possibly avoid it, they won’t spend more than two weeks apart.
“We don’t like to go any further than that,” she said firmly.
“And I know people have to do it, and one day we probably have to do it too, and it’s going to be really tough, but we’re fighting it.
“I love my husband very much. I married him to be with him, and vice versa, so we try to spend as much time together as possible.” But while Melissa may not be as screaming and slapstick as her most well-known roles, she admits that her on-screen persona’s physical comedy can sometimes seep into real life.
“I was in a store fitting room recently where I got stuck in a sundress,” she admits. “My briefs were connected to the wrap dress and I got tangled in them and had to stay there for about 35 minutes because I couldn’t get them back.
“I was literally sweaty and almost crying because I was thinking, ‘I’m going to have to ask a stranger to come in and help me with this.’ was a mess back then.”
It’s a situation that every woman who has struggled with extra curves can sympathize with. Melissa has lost weight since her bridesmaid days – she politely declines to go into details by exactly how much – but has accepted that she will never be slim.
“But I’m in very good health,” she says. “I do Pilates, I cut the caffeine down to two coffees, and I try to do all that stuff. But all of that pales in comparison to what I think is the real secret to health, which is that, wherever I am, I try to be a gift.
“I make a real effort to put my devices down when I don’t absolutely need them. It’s hard in our time not to confuse technological connections with being seen and heard by someone else.
“So my thing is, when I get home, I put my phone in my purse (purse), my purse goes in the closet and it stays there.
Probably some people don’t like that because it means I’m harder to contact. But I want to go home at the end of the day and with whoever it is, whether it’s Ben or my girls, or whether we have friends coming over, I really, really want to be with them.
“Especially these days, where we’re all reimagining everyone.
“I think those times when you get to be with someone else are more important than they’ve ever been.” She says that’s not the only way motherhood has changed her. “I can’t watch horror movies anymore because I think there’s so much danger in the real world that I don’t need to amplify it.
“Being a parent changes you on so many levels. Your kids hold up a mirror to you, and that’s a good thing because when they arrive, you’re never comfortable again — and I mean that in a good way. It makes everything going through life so much better, so much scarier, so much a case of ‘My God, do I do it right, do I say it right, and what will they remember when they have 30?'” Chances are one thing the Falcone girls will remember as adults is the math lessons their mother gave them during lockdown.
“I really enjoyed those,” Melissa said, beaming proudly. “Mathematics is something you can do well, so you feel like you’re getting a prize at the end, like you’re finishing a crossword puzzle.
“I think I enjoyed teaching my youngest math a little too much, actually.
“I was really into it, doing slideshows, and my two girls were, like, ‘Oh, my God, wrap it up, McCarthy! ‘”
Melissa in the new Amazon Prime series Nine Perfect Strangers
When Melissa isn’t working or helping with homework, she can usually be found with her head in a book – “but it has to be a real book,” she warns, “I’ll put some on my iPad if I ‘I travel but I’d much rather have a real book because I want to turn the page, I want to put on the jacket, I want to use a bookmark’ – or buy antiques.
“I like things with a story and a past. I don’t need things to be perfect, I just want to imagine their story, like, ‘Where’s that strange brass Spanish boot that held umbrellas? ‘
“I’m not a brand new big person. I’d rather have vintage stuff in my house. But nothing precious. I have kids and dogs so it can’t be too precious!”
- Nine Perfect Strangers starts streaming on Amazon Prime today