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'We put a lot of love and care in it'

Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy stars in the comedy she co-wrote with husband

Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy (center) plays the lead in "Tammy," a comedy McCarthy wrote with her husband Ben Falcone, about a woman having a really bad day.
Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy (center) plays the lead in "Tammy," a comedy McCarthy wrote with her husband Ben Falcone, about a woman having a really bad day.

PLAINFIELD – When Melissa McCarthy is honored with a Hand and Footprint Ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, she hopes to wear a pair of shoes by another Joliet-area native, Brian Atwood.

“Brian has been my best friend since high school and he makes an awfully pretty shoe,” said McCarthy, a Plainfield native. “He’s the one that invited me to New York City and pushed me to do stand-up.”

The ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday in the forecourt of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, according to information from McCarthy’s management company. This is the same day McCarthy’s new movie, “Tammy,” opens.

“Tammy” is an exciting first for McCarthy. She wrote the screenplay for this comedy with her husband Ben Falcone, the movie’s director. She also plays Tammy, a woman having a really awful day.

To escape her troubles – the totaled clunker car, being fired from a “greasy burger joint” and finding her husband frolicking with the neighbor – Tammy grabs her boom box and joins forces with her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), who has the cash, the car and “an itch to see Niagara Falls," the news release from McCarthy's management group stated.

Because she and Falcone created plausible characters and pulled their ideas from real-life situations who aren’t “perfect and shiny,” McCarthy is certain audiences will relate to Tammy’s struggles and bewilderment.

“It’s really, really funny,” McCarthy said

McCarthy said “Tammy” was a six-year project for her and Falcone, as they hand-picked each member of the cast and crew. Everyone they asked wanted in, dispelling their doubts of “there isn’t a chance in the world this person would read it.”

“We got the cast of our dreams,” McCarthy said. “We put a lot of love and care in it and everyone had the same vision.”

According to the news release, “Tammy” also stars Allison Janney (“The West Wing”), playing Tammy’s world-weary mom, Deb; Gary Cole (“Veep”) as ladies man, Earl; and Mark Duplass (HBO’s “Togetherness”) as his son, Bobby.

There’s also Dan Aykroyd (“The Campaign”) as Tammy’s dad, Don; Academy Award winner Kathy Bates (“Misery,” “Midnight in Paris”) as Pearl’s fun-loving cousin, Lenore; Sandra Oh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as Lenore’s partner, Susanne; Oscar nominee Toni Collette (“The Sixth Sense”) as Tammy’s neighbor, Missi; and Pat Faxon (“Bad Teacher”) as Tammy’s husband, Greg.

McCarthy credits her extended family with molding her unique brand of humor. McCarthy said she grew up in household that was anything but serious and she’s simply carrying on a good tradition.

“My dad can tell a story 15 times – 50 times – and every single time, it’s hilarious,” McCarthy said. “At mealtimes, we would tell stories about what happened in our day. The goal was to make everyone else laugh.”

Other great memories include attending the former St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy), enjoying high school football games, stopping for a sandwiches at the former Sub Diggity on West Jefferson Street in Joliet and “all the crazy things I did with my friends.”

Drawing on her experiences, McCarthy’s entry into show business was through stand-up comedy. She eventually transitioned into TV and film. Humor, McCarthy said, can help people forget their troubles.

“Tammy,” McCarthy is certain, is no exception.

“I just want them to have a great time,” McCarthy said, “and hopefully, their stomachs will hurt from laughing.”

Melissa McCarthy at a glance

• She received an Oscar nomination for her role as Megan, the confident sister of the groom in the comedy, “Bridesmaids," an Emmy for her starring role on the hit CBS comedy “Mike & Molly,” and two Emmy nominations for her memorable guest host turns on “Saturday Night Live.”

• Last year, McCarthy starred in “The Heat,” opposite Sandra Bullock and in the comedy hit “Identity Thief,” alongside Jason Bateman.

• She is currently filming “Spy,” scheduled to be released in May 2015.

• IN October, she will appear in the comedy “St. Vincent,” starring alongside Bill Murray and Naomi Watts.

• McCarthy’s voices the character of Watts in the animated comedy "B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations,” set for release in June 2015.

• Aside from developing numerous film and television projects, McCarthy is designing her first clothing line.

Source: McCarthy’s management company

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