EXCLUSIVE: Melissa McCarthy will soon be offered the female lead in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, the film that Ted Melfi will direct from his script for The Weinstein Company and Chernin Entertainment, with Bill Murray in the starring role. This is a role that all the top comic actresses chased, and it should give McCarthy a chance to show some of her colors as an actress after playing vulgar characters in Identity Thief (which grossed over $116 million domestically) and when she next opens opposite Sandra Bullock in The Heat, helmed by her Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
Murray plays the title character, a cantankerous train wreck of a neighbor who takes under his corrupt wing the 12-year-old son of a struggling single mother who has moved in next door. McCarthy is the choice to play the single mother and she campaigned hard for this. The project, based on Melfi’s Black List script, has been compared to As Good As It Gets or even TWC’s recent Silver Linings Playbook for the way it mixes comedy and human pathos. Much the way that Jennifer Lawrence Skyped an audition that got her the Oscar-winning role in Silver Linings Playbook even though David O Russell initially thought she might be too young, McCarthy auditioned for this role and her work put her atop the list and will win her this job.
McCarthy will first make Tammy, which she’s directing with her husband and co-writer Ben Falcone. She’s got time from her series Mike & Molly, so the scheduling right after July 4 fits into her wheelhouse.
Of the single mom’s decision to entrust Murray’s character with her son, Melfi called it “the worst parenting decision ever made by this single mom, but she works two shifts at the hospital and the guy next door seems harmless enough.” Melfi told me this when TWC acquired his Black List script, which he’d spent two years developing with Chernin Entertainment. “The relationship transforms both the man and the boy and even though he teaches the kid everything about his decadent lifestyle, from fighting to drinking, gambling and how to cheat lie and steal. And the 12-year-old has such a pure soul that he only extracts the good from all this.”
Melfi makes his directorial debut on the $13 million budget movie, which became a big priority all over town when Murray agreed to play the title character. Shooting begins in July. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, Melfi, Fred Roos and Don Cheadle who is producing via Crescendo Prods. TWC production president Dylan Sellers is overseeing it. Read More »
We’ve learned that Melissa McCarthy will host Saturday Night Live on April 6. This will be McCarthy’s second time hosting SNL in two years and she received rave reviews the first time around in October 2011. One of the highlights of that appearance was a reunion with her Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig in The Lawrence Welk Show cold opening. McCarthy currently stars in the box office hit Identity Thiefwith Jason Bateman.
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
As I like to say, you’re only as good as your last gown. And while no one really spilled blood on the red carpet at the Oscars, a few actresses missed the mark today. Mostly because they just didn’t seem to care enough or try very hard. Jennifer Aniston’s matronly tomato-red Valentino reminded me of a sad little bowl of vanilla ice cream when I’m on a PMS snack binge. Yawn. The classic silhouette also called for more effort with her hair and makeup. She looked like she came straight from Zuma Beach. Kristen Stewart’s cream strapless Reem Acra gown felt like a wishy-washy afterthought for the edgy, young star who fronts for Balenciaga. She appeared sullen, like she was heading for an arranged marriage.
UPDATE: Now here’s why Freaks And Geeks creator and Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig is a highly paid screenwriter, and I am not. It’s all about economizing your words. What took me three long paragraphs to convey, Feig does in this simple tweet: @Paul Feig: For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself.
PREVIOUS: I have as thick a skin as anybody, but I must say I’m appalled by New York Observer critic Rex Reed and a review of Identity Thief where he spends all his cleverness on cruel adjectives for the weight of its star, Melissa McCarthy. Here is a woman who probably has been on the heavy side all her life, but who has developed the self-confidence to be comfortable enough in who she is that she is willing to put herself on the screen in most unglamorous ways because it serves the comedy. Having first seen her work in Mike and Molly, where she is pretty glamorous in my book, I remember being put off in early Bridesmaids trailers when I saw her wearing no makeup and looking pretty raw. When I saw that raucous comedy, I felt that, if she didn’t steal the film she came close, playing a grounded character. Her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live put on display some of the best physical comedy skills I’ve seen since the early days of Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, Steve Martin, John Candy and even Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. There are no women on that short list because I just can’t think of any. Like all those guys, McCarthy’s lack of vanity is astonishing.
When I was in college, Rex Reed was described by my profs as one of the new generation of film critics who was changing that game. I read a lot of his stuff and found his writing graceful and bold. I don’t know if he has kids, but I have two daughters. It sensitizes you to many things, including the temptation to obsess about being rail thin. All you want for your girls is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, and McCarthy is a shining example of that. Reed obviously doesn’t even consider that McCarthy is breaking boundaries and making it okay for girls all over to feel good about themselves even if, when they look in the mirror, they don’t see a waif-like Victoria’s Secret model staring back. Read More »
This one provides a little more graphic look at Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as reluctant partners in The Heat, written by Katie Dippold (Parks And Recreation) and directed by Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig:
Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for Identity Thief, the Seth Gordon-directed comedy that stars Jason Bateman as the victim of a woman who has swiped his identity and destroyed his credit. Somehow, his only way out is to apprehend the thief and accompany her on a road trip. She’s played by Melissa McCarthy, and it looks like a strong opportunity for McCarthy to show off some of the sharpest physical comic skills of any actress I’ve seen in forever. McCarthy, relatively refined in her Emmy-winning role in Mike & Molly, let those skills shine in Bridesmaids and practically stole the movie. She did it again in Saturday Night Live, in an outrageous hosting stint. Will a whole movie’s worth of this be too much, or just right? The film opens February 8.
Think this will work? Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy play mismatched officers of the law who are forced together as partners to go after a drug lord. The Heat is directed by Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold (Parks & Recreation). The 20th Century Fox release from Chernin Entertainment opens April 5th, 2013:
EXCLUSIVE: Last season, a last-minute sale at CBS of a comedy co-written by Larry Dorf & Ben Falcone and produced by Melissa McCarthy resulted in a pilot, which was a serious contention for a series pickup. Now, all auspices have reunited for an encore.
CBS has bought Wake Up Call, an ensemble comedy to be co-executive produced by Mike & Molly star McCarthy and co-written/co-executive produced by her husband, actor-writer Falcone, and fellow actor Dorf. It is about a group of friends whose lives are changed when “’til death do us part” comes a whole lot sooner than expected. The studio behind Mike & Molly, Warner Bros. TV, which produced the Falcone-Dorf-McCarthy comedy last year, is also backing the new show. Like at the time of sale last year, Falcone is not attached to star. He ended up acting in the pilot. This year, Falcone is tied to another project — he is set as the lead of TV Land’s single-camera pilot I’m Not Dead. McCarthy earned an Emmy for her starring role on CBS’ Mike & Molly last year and is nominated again this year, along with a guest starring nomination for her hosting stint on Saturday Night Live. McCarthy and Falcone are repped by CAA and Christian Donatelli; Dorf is with Paradigm and Odenkirk Provissiero.
Michael McDonald, a standout performer for a decade on the Fox series Mad TV, has joined the cast of the 20th Century Fox Paul Feig-directed buddy comedy The Heat, which stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. He will play a villain. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark are producing. This comes after McDonald signed a new blind script deal to develop a one hour show with ABC Studios. After his Mad TV run, McDonald has been working behind the scenes, creating and exec producing the hourlong drama spec script pilot Beautiful People for NBC last season. McDonald worked as a director, co-executive producer and writer on ABC’s Cougar Town and will continue directing episodes of the show this season after it moved to TBS. He will also helm episodes of the new ABC sitcoms Family Tools and How To Live With Your ParentsFor the Rest of Your Life. He’s repped by UTA.
EXCLUSIVE: Demian Bichir has joined The Heat, the Paul Feig-directed comedy that stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It is the first studio comedy for Bichir, who was Oscar nominated for A Better Life. He was last seen in the Oliver Stone-directed Savages. In The Heat, he will play an FBI agent. Bichir, who just wrapped the Robert Rodriguez-directed Machete Kills, is repped by CAA and managed by Sekka Scher.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are going to be packing heat. The duo have signed up to do a cop buddy movie. Bridesmaids Paul Feig will direct the as yet untitled project. Katie Dippold of Parks and Recreation acclaim is writing the screenplay. The movie details the strained working relationship between an uptight FBI agent, played by Oscar winner Bullock, and an unconventional Boston cop, played by Oscar nominee McCarthy. The movie is bit of a reunion for Feig and McCarthy, who worked together on 2011 comedy hit Bridesmaids. Feig will executive produce. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark will produce the Fox distributed film. Dippold is repped by WME and 3 Arts. Feig, McCarthy and Bullock are all repped by CAA.
It’s been quite a roll for Melissa McCarthy. This former Gilmore Girls best friend took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in Mike & Molly, but it was her deft and hilarious portrayal of Megan, the Dockers-wearing, secret operative, sexually aggressive sister of the groom in Bridesmaids that propelled her to a household name — plus numerous critics kudos and an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress. She spoke with AwardsLine contributor Cari Lynn about her breakthrough film role, written by Kristen Wiig (who also stars in Bridesmaids) and Annie Mumolo; about the friendships — and romance — that started at the LA-based sketch and improv comedy troupe the Groundlings; and about how she might react if she wins an Oscar.
AWARDSLINE: You got your start with The Groundlings, as did the co-writers and much of the cast of Bridesmaids. Were you at The Groundlings at the same time as Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo? McCARTHY: Yes! They’re two of the greatest ladies I know, really, they’re remarkable. I want them to write 700 more things. I was in with Annie a little longer, and I only did one show with Kristen and then she went to SNL. I was also in [The Groundlings] with Wendi [McLendon-Covey] and Maya [Rudolph].
AWARDSLINE: You had so many scene-stealing lines in Bridesmaids. Do you know if that part was written with you in mind? McCARTHY: It wasn’t, and they had seen quite a few people. Annie told me that they were about to get rid of the Megan character because it wasn’t working out. I came in and, luckily, they did not, because I loved it. Read More »
CBS has given a late pilot order to an untitled multi-camera comedy written by actors Larry Dorf and Ben Falcone and co-executive produced by Falcone’s wife, Mike & Molly star Melissa McCarthy. Falcone, originally not attached as an actor, will also star in the project, about a single 37-year-old man (Falcone) who loses everything he has in the real estate collapse and finds himself back home in the house he grew up in….with his parents. Warner Bros. TV is producing. The project was a last-minute spec buy by CBS made only 3 weeks ago. Falcone, who also had another comedy pilot script with McCarthy in contention at CBS this season, had a cameo in her blockbuster feature comedy Bridesmaids. This is the latest comedy pilot written/co-written by an actor this season where the actor is recruited to also star as part of the pilot order or shortly thereafter following recent acting deals for Josh Gad on NBC’s 1600 Penn and Mike O’Malley on Fox’s Prodigy Bully.
In a last-minute buy, CBS has picked up a comedy spec produced by one of its stars, Mike & Molly leading lady Melissa McCarthy. The untitled comedy was written by McCarthy’s husband, actor-writer Ben Falcone and fellow actor Larry Dorf through Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind Mike & Molly. It centers on David Gell, who learns that there’s no place like home…unless home is your parents’ house and you’re 37 years old. McCarthy will co-executive produce, with Falcone and Dorf serving as supervising producers. The project will be in contention for this pickup cycle, along with another comedy McCarthy and Falcone have at CBS and WBTV about a woman in her mid-40s who has a spectacular midlife crisis. McCarthy and Falcone, repped by CAA and Christian Donatelli, co-wrote that script together. The project marked McCarthy’s first pilot script sale and was set up at the network shortly before the actress won an Emmy for her role in Mike & Molly in September. Dorf is with Naomi Odenkirk.
EXCLUSIVE: Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon is re-teaming with Jason Bateman On Identity Theft, the Universal comedy that will star Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. The script was originated by Jerry Eeten, and then rewritten by Steve Conrad and then Craig Mazin rewrote. Bateman and Scott Stuber are producing and Peter Morgan is exec producer. The premise was originally for a guy whose identity is stolen by another guy, and it was written for Bateman and another actor. That changed after Bateman saw McCarthy’s-scene stealing performance in last summer’s hit Universal comedy Bridesmaids and he pushed for her to be the identity thief.
Thanks to that film, her Emmy- winning work in Mike & Molly and her memorable physical comedy work hosting Saturday Night Live, McCarthy’s become the brightest female physical comedy star to come along in years. The WME-repped Gordon made his mark with the 2007 documentary The King Of Kong, and he’s separately attached to direct the remake of War Games. And Horrible Bosses grossed $209 million worldwide. He’s managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Melissa McCarthy continued to deny that there is any plan at present to go ahead with a film sequel to the feature smash Bridesmaids without co-star and co-writer Kristen Wiig. Appearing in Pasadena at TCA during a session promoting the CBS comedy Mike & Molly, McCarthy said of going forward without Wiig: “That seems like a terrible idea. I don’t know anything about it. But I mean, I would do anything with those ladies (from the film). If it’s a weird play in a backyard, I would do it. Bad blood? Oh no. Not at all.” She went on to comment regarding any Universal plan not involving Wiig, “I don’t think that they are. I don’t think that’s factual in any way.”
New Line has tapped Saturday Night Live vet Beth McCarthy-Miller to helm Tammy, the comedy set up last year as a star vehicle for Melissa McCarthy. The Emmy-winning Mike & Molly and Bridesmaids star wrote the script herself to play a woman who is laid off from her fast-food job and finds her husband is cheating, and chucks her life to take a road trip of self-discovery with her foul-mouthed diabetic grandmother. It’s a hard-R effort. The comedy was set up late last year and was originally to be helmed by The Help‘s Tate Taylor, but that deal never got done. McCarthy-Miller makes her feature helming debut after directing for many years on SNL, where McCarthy recently served a most memorable hosting stint. The director’s repped by CAA.
If anyone were to have told you back on May 13 when Universal’s raunchy female comedy Bridesmaids opened that we would seriously be discussing its Best Picture Oscar nomination prospects a week before Christmas, the status of their mental health would been called into question. But even though it remains a long shot Oscar pundits are actively debating its Best Pic potential. Universal is ratcheting up its campaign with an eye on the prize it never dared dream about, and kudos for the Judd Apatow produced film directed by Paul Feig keep piling up as this awards season gets curiouser and curiouser.
For your consideration:
Bridemaids was recently named one of the year’s top 10 films by the American Film Institute, a prestigious and sought-after honor by awards merchants. It received two key SAG award nominations (a prime indicator of industry sentiment) for Outstanding Cast of a Motion Picture (SAG’s version of Best Picture) and Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy. She also won the Boston Film Critics nod for Supporting Actress and was named in the same category by the Critics Choice Movie Awards (which also nominated the film for Best Comedy and Ensemble). The Golden Globes nominated Bridesmaids for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Kristen Wiig for lead actress. Both Entertainment Weekly critics named the film one of their top three of the year. It made the Best Of lists of both A.O.Scott and Manohla Dargis at the NY Times and its current Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus score stands at 90% … Read More »