As a veteran of New York’s standup circuit and venerable improv group The Groundlings, McCarthy will undoubtedly bring the laughs. Her role as an unemployed woman embarking on a road trip with her perpetually hammered and horny grandmother (played by Susan Sarandon) is a McCarthy character for the books. Who else but McCarthy would give a deer mouth-to-mouth and do it without blinking twice? Melissa McCarthy. If it all seems like some wacked-out dream, it’s because it is. Read on to find out why.
Alright. Let’s just dive right into it. How did this mouth-to-mouth with a deer come about?
“[Laughs] It just shows that I’m not very bright. I was thinking about what would Tammy actually do if she hit a deer. She’d feel horrible, obviously, and would do whatever it takes to help save it. And, like any other normal human being, she gets really down there with it to try and resuscitate. Hey, at least she tries!”
Where does an idea like that come from?
“Ben [Falcone] came downstairs having just woken up and said: ‘I had a weird dream, and I think I have to write it. You go on a road trip with your grandmother. She drinks, and she sleeps around a lot. I think I’m gonna go write that movie.’ I was like, ‘All right...’ That was about six-years ago. I just agree with him and it all usually works out.”
How was it writing with your husband [Ben Falcone]?
“[Laughs] I think there are people who love the comfort of their small town, and there’s people that feel stuck by it. That kind of was our jumping off point. Ben thought this woman was from where he grew up and also where I went to college. We based the characters on real people we know, so writing it wasn’t that difficult. We just kept thinking: If you’re really stuck in this rut and stuck in this whole little tiny world of things you don’t like, how hard do you have to get hit to bump you out of your vicious cycle?”
How’d you convince Susan Sarandon to play your grandmother?
“One of the very first questions when we were chatting for the first time over the phone, she asked, ‘Are you seeing like a little old granny with glasses and crocheted sweater and an updo bun?’ We’re like, ‘Oh, God no. She has raging problems with alcohol, and she sleeps around.’ Susan simply said, ‘Okay, we’ll be fine.'”
Does your own grandmother have many things in common with Susan’s character?
“No, nothing in terms of the drinking or the men. But, I love that no matter what, even if they weren’t meshing up at the moment, the bottom line was she loved Tammy, she loved her daughter. I was never at odds with my grandmother — even if I got in trouble with her. She might’ve scolded me when I was little, but I knew she loved me. That was a big part of Susan’s character for me. There’s nothing you can really do to make the love go away, even if they were at odds."