Melissa McCarthy Talks Dating Gay Men, Crushing on Lena Dunham and Kissing Susan Sarandon
The "Mike & Molly" actress told The Advocate that she owns 25 wigs at any given time and based the Kathy Bates-Sandra Oh couple in "Tammy" on her friends.
Melissa McCarthy's got a girl crush.
"The more I watch Girls, the more I realize I'm crazy about Lena Dunham," she told The Advocate in an interview published Thursday. "She's my girl crush. She's smart, funny, confident, and she isn't afraid to look awkward. She's exactly who she is, take it or leave it. Nothing's more charming than someone who doesn't take herself too seriously."
The actress of the upcoming summer comedy Tammy and CBS sitcom Mike & Molly noted that one of the best nights of her life was sneaking off to gay bar Berlin in downtown Chicago when she was in high school. "I remember being undressed and then redressed by two drag queens up on a pillar, and at the end I looked like Bea Arthur," she said, adding of the LGBT community: "It was just my world. I was a little odd, and I found them to be the most accepting group. We were a band of outsiders who went downtown and realized, 'Oh, we're all right.' There were tons of creative people doing their thing, and it was only the scared people who wanted to shut it down. … They accepted me as a woman trying to be a man who's trying to be a woman. I wanted to be a drag queen so badly. I'll bet I still own more wigs than any drag queen -- I love me a wig." (She has about 25 wigs at any given time, she said.)
McCarthy also noted in the interview that, like her Mike & Molly character, she has dated gay men. "There were so many. In my early 20s I was like the last stop before a guy said, 'Yep, it's official: I'm gay.' I'd be like, 'Really?!' I'd think, But he's so funny, so charming, and such a good dresser. I never saw it coming." She also apologized for the show's use of the slur "shemale" last year: "Had I known it was such a sensitive topic, I would've had them change that. So many people get blasted on the show, and I feel like everyone should get equal slaps, but I'm never for comedy that turns mean-spirited."
And in Tammy, McCarthy and Susan Sarandon go on a road trip together, reuniting the two after a smooch on a Mike & Molly episode. "She is one of the coolest women I've ever met, by a landslide. She's so interesting, so intelligent, and such a great humanitarian. The fact that I got to spend time with her -- and now consider her a friend -- is pretty surreal. I was having a delightful breakdown during filming. … She's a good kisser, by the way. I loved that Molly actually considers it for a moment when Susan's character propositions her. Molly's like, Hmm … should I? Nope, I'm married. But the joke on set was that I don't know if I'd really be able to say no! I mean, come on, it's Susan Sarandon."
Tammy, co-written with husband Ben Falcone, also features a lesbian couple played by Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh. "They're based on some of my couple friends," McCarthy said. "They're the goal. As Tammy and her grandmother spiral downward, we wanted them to see this lovely, adjusted couple and realize that, if they made an effort, they could have that, too. Kathy and Sandra played it beautifully. Sandra and Kathy had known each other from before, so they had this fantastic ease together. I totally bought them as a dreamy couple. They just looked so in love, like they'd been together forever. They didn't even need to speak; Kathy would give Sandra these looks and I'd think, Aww, that's the good stuff. They were magical together.
"There's a scene where she basically tells Tammy to quit bitching about her life," McCarthy continued of Bates, whose character compares Tammy's troubles to her own struggles as a lesbian. "Before we shot it, I remember telling Kathy, 'OK, this is when you really hand it to me.' She said, 'No, I'm saying it with love to try to help you,' and she delivered the speech so beautifully. She tells Tammy, 'Gay hasn't always been in fashion, my friend,' and she delivers the line with the weight of everything you know can possibly be attached to it. It's one of my favorite scenes in the movie."
Read The Advocate's full interview with McCarthy here.