Melissa McCarthy on wrestling Jason Statham, landing Rolling Stone cover | Inquirer Entertainment
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Melissa McCarthy on wrestling Jason Statham, landing Rolling Stone cover

/ 03:08 AM July 04, 2014

SHE SHARES a scene with husband Ben Falcone, director of the film “Tammy.”

LOS ANGELES—She gets to wrestle Jason Statham, throw ketchup at her husband, fellow actor and director Ben Falcone, and land on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine’s July issue. Not a bad time to be Melissa McCarthy these days. Not bad at all.

In a recent interview at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Melissa told us how she got to throw action star Jason Statham down on… the dance floor. In Paul Feig’s comedy “Spy,” she and Jason play fellow spies.


“I had two different fights with Jason,” Melissa happily reported. “At a certain point, when I was wrestling him to the ground on a dance floor, I suddenly thought, ‘What am I doing? What’s happening?’ We had been wrestling for so long. We were trying to pretend to dance but we ended up taking each other down.”

The “Bridesmaids” star recalled, “I thought, Jason does this stuff all the time. I was dying. I could barely breathe. It was so hard. At one point, we were both on our knees. I couldn’t get up because it was the 10th or 15th time we had done it. I was too tired. I thought, ‘He’s probably going to be able to spring up and be ready to go.’ I looked at him and he went, ‘I can’t get up.’ That made me feel better. I was like, ‘I am so glad you feel winded too because I am dying.’ It was an absolute blast.”


Melissa promised, “Jason Statham is so funny in it (‘Spy’). I mean, crazy. ‘Spy’ is a wild ride.”

BEN FALCONE looks preppy—because, he said, his wife styled him. photo by ruben v. nepales

On her glammed-up mug splashed on the Rolling Stone cover, Melissa said, “As a kid, you think about it but when you get a little older, you think there’s not a chance in the world of that. I was working on ‘Spy’ in Budapest. My manager Christian (Donatelli) called. I thought I was just going to do an interview. He said, ‘You may have to go to Paris.’ I said, ‘I don’t know when I would do that. We are shooting six days a week. It’s a pretty crazy schedule. Can’t I do the interview over the phone? Would that be okay?’”

The Illinois native continued, “Christian was like, ‘I don’t think they are going to shoot a cover over the phone.’ He thought somebody had told me (that it was going to be a cover story). Nobody told me! I sat there and I just cried like a baby. I looked like a nut. It’s nothing that I could have ever possibly imagined.”

“I had a pretty good giggle,” she said about seeing a copy of the cover for the first time. “I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ I just stared at it for a while. I literally sat there and thought, my God, it doesn’t get a lot cooler than that.”

Good marriage

In “Tammy,” where Melissa plays the title role, she got to do something to Ben, who has a cameo in this road trip comedy, which marks his directorial debut. “I threw ketchup and many other condiments at him,” she said of the scene with her husband. “I went to grab something heavier and he went, ‘Wait, wait! That’s going to hurt!’ So I stopped and I stuck to the ketchup packets. But he’s a calm guy and he is as even-keeled as it gets.”

Ben, looking preppy (Melissa dressed him, he told us) in a separate interview, said with a grin, “A great thing for your marriage is to let your wife throw stuff at you in a movie because she gets it all out. And she’s like, ‘Oh, I love you so much!’ I’m like, ‘Well, it’s because you got to scream mean things to me all day.’”


Melissa agreed that, “There might be something weirdly therapeutic and cathartic about it because I do get to do all these crazy things. Sometimes, afterward, I am like, oh my God, that weirdly felt great! In the next six months, I am quiet as a lamb. I get to go crazy on somebody again and I am good for six months. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I don’t get to scream at people [in a movie]. I may, in a grocery store, just go nuts.”

Melissa’s usually loud, brash characters mislead some people to expect her to be the same way in person. “Sometimes, people think I am going to kick a door, start swearing, throw chairs over and hit them with a beer bottle. I get all that worked out in the movies. I don’t swear that much in real life. I don’t really hit people. I have never thrown a condiment at my husband in real life.”

Proud parents

In a house of two comedians who are parents to Vivian, 7, and Georgette, 3, the mood is “not very serious,” according to Melissa. “You have two little kids who are very [much] into dressing up in weird costumes now, which I am all for. Sometimes, they come out in wigs. A lot of my wigs are like short, curly, older Midwestern wigs. They are not very glamorous. They are like old theater wigs. Once, both of the girls came out. They were talking about being these two women and they were both named Carol. They were talking about how tired they were of their jobs.”

Melissa went on, amused, “Ben and I were just watching them talk about this weird stuff.” She added, laughing, “I had never been more proud. Their imaginations were just going on.”

FUNNY gal is grateful that fame came later in life. “If it came earlier I’d think I deserved it. Now, I think I’m lucky.” photo by ruben v. nepales

Ben shared other examples of fun in the Falcone home: “Long, weird dance parties led by my wife with the kids taking part, and me being forced into the dance party for a while. Then me getting tired.”

He continued, “Just some of the most awkward dancing that you can imagine. I will come in and pull my pants up to about here (pointing to almost up his chest). I’ll interview Melissa as a high-pants interviewer.”

With Melissa’s surging popularity, fueled by “Bridesmaids” (which earned her an Oscar Best Supporting Actress nod), “Identity Thief,” “The Heat” (she denied rumors of a sequel) and the TV series “Mike & Molly,” fame has crept up on the family. Melissa said, “Vivian came home one time and said to me, ‘Are you famous?’ I knew somebody at school must have said something. So we sat and talked about it. I said, ‘All it means is that I do something for a living where people know my face. It’s not different from any other job. Other people do really important stuff and save lives. We just happen to do something that involves our face. That’s the only reason that people know us. It doesn’t make us any better or special.’ She just went, ‘Oh, okay.’”

Melissa relished narrating how she and Ben first met at The Groundlings, LA’s notable improvisational comedy troupe. “We were in a circle [and] I insulted his hometown within the first minute. I said, ‘I went to school at Southern Illinois University. It’s in this little town called Carbondale. Nobody has heard of it and you are not missing much. I didn’t finish school there.’”

 Instantly clicked

“When it got around to Ben, he said, ‘Thank you very much. I am from Carbondale.’ I thought the odds of hearing that in Los Angeles were zero. We hadn’t even been introduced to each other. From that first class, we sat next to one another. He immediately made me laugh. We instantly clicked. We were friends for about a year and a half before we started dating. He became my best friend before we started dating.”

We asked Melissa if she had seen “22 Jump Street” because she and Jillian Bell, who almost stole that movie, would probably make a hilarious team on the screen. “I’ve known Jillian for years,” she said. “We know her from The Groundlings. Ben directed her. She has always been a standout. Her timing is different. I haven’t seen the movie yet.”

She added about another comedian: “I feel the same way about Sarah Baker. She’s having a great moment. She did that amazing ‘Louie’ (guest performance) that got so much press. I get really excited when somebody I know who is amazing starts to get noticed.”

The actress, 43, who will be seen next in “St. Vincent” with Bill Murray and Naomi Watts, and “Michelle Darnell” (with Ben also directing), is glad that her career took off at this stage in her life. “Being in my 40s, having a wonderful husband and kids—all that stuff grounds you,” said Melissa. “I think of it as being really lucky. I get opportunities that I never thought I could possibly have.”

She’s grateful that it did not happen when she was younger. “I would have been like, ‘I must be really good.’ My 20-year-old brain might think that way. I might take it in as, you deserve it or you are special. At 40, I think I am lucky. So I am really glad that it came a little later for me.”

(E-mail the columnist at Follow him at

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TAGS: “Spy, 22 Jump Street, Bill Murray, Bridesmaids, Jason Statham, Jillian Bell, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Paul Feig
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