*Melissa McCarthy defied all odds growing up. Her father moved the family from the South side of Chicago to a farm thinking she would live her life in the calm of the country.
As soon as was old enough, she took off to New York City with only $35. Melissa was back in New York this past weekend at the Whitby Hotel where she talked about her explosive role as Lee Israel, a part unlike any other in her comedic career.
Based on a true story, “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” tell the story of Lee who hits hard times while living in Manhattan and resorts to forgery.
Melissa, in what way did this role speak to you?
First of all, it’s a fascinating story. It’s not even the area that you expect a crime to happen. You don’t expect that type of person to end up with the FBI after them. It’s not that she’s smuggling drugs. It is for literary forgery. I know it is a crime. But I think especially at a time like now, I loved how she did not require anyone to tell her what she was. I think we’re in a current state where people really need to have other people validate who they are.
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So in essence, her story speaks to the times?
I think it’s a very current issue. Lee was an incredible writer. To suddenly be told that you are no longer valid, that you’ve come to a certain age, it was devastating. She was on welfare at one point. She was going to lose her apartment and be homeless.
The thought that at a certain age, instead of people being revered for your experience, It’s now like, ‘What about that 20-year- old, or what about the person that’s more fun at the party?’ It certainly doesn’t make them the better writer or artist, or fill in the blanks of whatever profession you may be in. It’s a strange thing that more experience has become outdated.
Did you ever face any kind of opposition?
An agent once told me, ‘You’ll never work looking like that.’ I was a size six! I was like, ‘You’re working out of your studio. Maybe you’re not the most business savvy, either.’ I was young then and don’t know where that came from. Now, at 48, I’m so glad I said it.
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