Step 1: Invite 150 Awesome Lesbians
In Tammy, the road-tripping title character (Melissa McCarthy) and her boozing grandma (Susan Sarandon) score an invitation to a raucous Fourth of July BBQ thrown by their pal Lenore (Kathy Bates) and Lenore’s partner (Sandra Oh). The revelers include about 150 of their closest (mostly female) pals, all decked out in their summer-casual finest. The extras weren’t necessarily lesbians, though. ”We just wanted people who looked like they’d be invited to this awesome party,” says Ben Falcone, who directed and co-wrote the movie with McCarthy, his real-life wife.
Step 2: Secure A Sweet House
Falcone’s team found a gorgeous waterfront estate near Wilmington, N.C., which subs for Louisville in the movie. ”That house was so beautiful,” says Bates. ”By the end, everyone wanted to buy it.”
Step 3: Set The Mood
Falcone let the music roll between takes to keep energy up during the six night shoots. And while the party looks boozy on screen, the set was totally dry. ”If it looks like wine, it’s grape juice,” says Falcone. ”Beer was iced tea.”
Step 4: Blow Up A Jet Ski
It isn’t a party until somebody sets a watercraft on fire. In the original script, Bates’ character throws a tiki torch javelin-style to set fire to the vehicle. So the movie’s F/X team rigged it with pyrotechnics and moored it 25 feet out in the water. ”I’m like, ‘Oh, Christ, what am I gonna do?”’ Falcone says. But never doubt the arm (and aim) of an Oscar-winning actress. Bates grabbed the torch and nailed her target. ”I managed to hit it four times in a row!” she says. But because of technical glitches, all four times the Jet Ski failed to ignite. ”The fifth time Kathy nails it again, and it goes whoosh up in flames,” says Falcone. ”I was like a caveman, I was so excited by fire.”