By: Donna Freydkin
Melissa McCarthy knows it when she sees it.
When the superstar actress first created blowhard business titan Michelle Darnell during her early days with the Groundlings in Los Angeles, she had a vision for the woman. Shellacked hair. Turtlenecks. Makeup that never smudges, no matter what.
"Sixteen years ago was the first time I did her. I love that kind of confidence," says McCarthy. "She's harsh. She's demanding. There's a powerful, positive thing behind it."
Her appeal was clear: "Michelle meant the best and even when she was doing things incredibly wrong, the intention was good. I kept my love for her," says McCarthy.
Now, her fully-realized vision is in theaters as "The Boss," opening Friday. McCarthy co-wrote the script and her husband and co-scribe (along with Steve Mallory) Ben Falcone directed the movie. The two have their own production company now, and an actual office where they work.
"For a while we worked out of a backroom in our house with our kids crawling on us," says Falcone, who has two daughters with McCarthy.
The story centers around a woman who's rich and mean, and gets her comeuppance when she loses her fortune and goes to jail. But like a scarlet-lipped phoenix, armed with brownies, she rises again. Michelle has been long in development, with a detailed, specific outline written and shopped around seven years ago. "We tried to get people to hear the pitch. We had no takers," says McCarthy. "No one wanted my goods."
That's changed, with McCarthy being one of the most lauded and in-demand comedic actors working today; she's in the all-female reboot of "Ghostbusters," and last year's "Spy" was a smash.
"She works harder than anybody I know. She literally sets the bar," says Falcone.
But here's something you likely didn't know about McCarthy.
"She never checks her email," says Falcone.
"I have something like 14,000 emails," says McCarthy. "I still write letters. I'm a dinosaur."