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Melissa McCarthy

She’s done excellent work on TV for years — and now she opens movies; director Paul Feig, who helmed the 42-year-old’s Oscar-nominated performance in ”Bridesmaids” and then reteamed with her on the buddy-cop smash ”The Heat,” explains why McCarthy is the perfect movie star

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1. Her Inventiveness ”She has an utterly fresh take on characters who could be standard or stereotyped. Vocally, visually, in attitude — she’s a great performer who takes material and makes it better.”

2. Her Decency ”She’s a wonderful person. What’s so funny is, she plays these extreme characters who have this aggressive streak, and that’s so not her. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her swear in real life.”

3. Her Gratitude ”She took 20 years to become an overnight success. That’s the difference if you become a big star in your teens or 20s. Melissa knows this could all end tomorrow.”

4. Her Chops ”Take the comedy out of it. She’s just a great actress. She can be outrageously funny, yet there are these heartfelt moments, too. She’s like Steve Carell or even Peter Sellers or Katharine Hepburn, who did comedy, did drama, and you just bought it. Melissa, to me, is among the greats.”