- Category: Interviews
- Created: Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:05
- Published: Friday, 27 June 2014 12:50
- Written by Lupe R Haas
The making of TAMMY is a family affair with Melissa McCarthy starring, producing and co-writing along with her co-writer and husband Ben Falcone who directs the new comedy. CineMovie sat down with the TAMMY director and actor to talk about his first time directing and why he and McCarthy make a dynamic duo on screen and off.
Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy have been inseparable since meeting in 2005 as members of The Groundlings. The two have worked together in "Bridesmaids," "The Heat," "Identity Thief" among other projects. TAMMY marks a first for both Falcone and his Oscar-nominated wife as the creative team behind the new comedy also McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy"). The husband and wife duo co-wrote the screenplay from an original idea of their own, and shepherded it to the big screen with Will Ferrell as one of their producers. Melissa McCarthy plays a down on her luck woman who loses her job, her car and her husband in the same day which prompts her into running away from her small town with her hard-partying grandmother played by Susan Sarandon.
Ben Falcone tells CineMovie he didn't intend on directing TAMMY but it worked out that way. Falcone has experience directing stage plays and videos, but this would be his first time taking the director's chair on a feature film. He has no regrets on taking the helm as it proved an enjoyable experience. However, he was most surprised at how much a director is responsible for including the smallest of details such as choosing the type of fork for a dinner scene or the pattern for the background. He found a solution to all the questions being asked of him. "I really quickly learned to say, 'Well what do you think?'"
Falcone says his primary goal on set was to focus on the performances including his own. Falcone plays Tammy's boss at a burger joint who fires her, and the two insult each other. Not only could he not hold back his laughter when his real-life wife is throwing insults at him, but he had the hardest time directing himself because he couldn't contain himself.
"I was having so much fun with Melissa. We were improvising a lot and saying really terrible things that are making me laugh. As a director I had to yell 'hold.' 'If Ben would just get his act together.'"
Acting and directing in a couple of scenes in TAMMY proved more difficult than he thought. He can't imagine himself directing himself as the lead in a movie as other actors have done in the past like Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson ("Braveheart") or Kevin Costner ("Dances with Wolves").
"That was scary. It was distracting. Jason Bateman directed himself all over 'Bad Words' and he did a great job. People do it all the time. I don't know if I can. It's not for me. I don't have those skills."
During our interview, Falcone talks about his wife in such an endearing and supportive way that we asked the actor/director if he considers Melissa McCarthy his muse.
"She's the first person I want to tell any idea to. She certainly doesn't always say 'perfect' because that wouldn't make any sense. She's kind of a live wire in terms of what she's seeing, she's reacting. What she's hearing to, she's reacting to. That's what makes her a good actress. She's really honest, really positive and she's so talented and funny that it's .....sure she's my muse. Yeah!"
Not only did Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy have the responsibility of making a major Hollywood movie together, but the parents of two children made time for their family during the production. Falcone made sure that their days were reasonable so that they could run home to their daughters for playtime and dinner. But that's not to say they left the set and stopped working. On the drive home, they made some business calls, and once the girls were put to bed, Melissa learned her lines for the next day and Falcone enjoyed a glass of wine while breaking down the sides for the next day's shoot.
While he may not be interested in directing himself, directing is certainly something he would do again. Falcone and McCarthy are currently working on another project which they hope to shoot next year. "We love writing our own material," he says and credits Melissa with providing a lot of the dialogue for their scripts.
Melissa McCarthy certainly brings the funny to TAMMY, and if the film proves a success over the July 4th weekend, they may be become Hollywood's next power couple.