STARRING Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne
DIRECTED BY Paul Feig
RELEASE DATE June 5
Melissa McCarthy, action hero? No joke. (Okay, kinda.) In Spy, a spoof that marks her third collaboration with writer-director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat), the actress stars as Susan Cooper, a top-of-her-class CIA agent who’s been stuck in an office job, guiding agents in the field (including a smarmy Jude Law) as the voice in their earpieces. But when she gets an unlikely shot at espionage, she disguises herself under frumpy old-lady wigs and garish cat T-shirts, fights bad guys with stale baguettes and poison darts, and teams up with an ultra-serious (and ultrahilarious) rogue spy played by Jason Statham, all in an attempt to take down a villainous aristocrat with very, very big hair (Rose Byrne). So before going undercover for good, McCarthy sat down to share a few state secrets.
No matter what character you play, we always seem to root for her. Watching Spy, we really want Susan Cooper to discover her own power.
MCCARTHY I love Susan Cooper. It seemed real that somebody could be smart and maybe not so confident. I loved that the audience got to see her trying to push herself beyond anything she ever thought she was capable of.
Plus, you got to wear some funny—and pretty unflattering—disguises. How much did you and director Paul Feig collaborate on those?
MCCARTHY Two days after Paul said, “Yes, let’s do this movie,” I sent him a picture of me in this short curly gray wig and I was like, “Are you against this?” I don’t think it’s exactly what he had in mind. [Laughs] But I love to fiddle with wardrobe. I always start with the wig. You look so different that it changes your posture, how you carry yourself. It’s my favorite thing: building how they look. I just love it.
This is a comedy, but you do some hardcore action. There’s one sequence where you’re dangling from a helicopter and Jason Statham is clinging to you.
MCCARTHY Yeah, it’s just crazy. My hands are going numb, I have no upper-body strength, Jason Statham is hanging on my boobs. I just kept thinking if someone told me 10 years ago that Jason Statham would be hanging off of me, primarily holding on to my chest, I would have said that’s crazy. And there we are, and he’s laughing, saying, “Sorry, luv,” and I’m like, “Just do it!”
Did any of the stunts scare you?
MCCARTHY I love anything physical. I’m an idiot that way. If there’s a staircase [to fall down], I’ll yell out, “I’ll do it!” I don’t know why. I’m going to regret it later. The scariest thing is running on cobblestones in heels at night when it’s wet. That’s the thing where I was like, “I’m going to go down hard.” And I would. And I would be running, yelling, “What idiot put me in a heel?” And they would yell back, “You did!” I would respond, “Got it!” I fell so many times.
This is the second time you’ve worked with your Bridesmaids costar Rose Byrne, who plays your high-haired frenemy here.
MCCARTHY I hope it’s the second of, like, 50. She always plays a strange beat of what the joke is, which is so enjoyable. Something in her energy and her timing always catches me off guard. I always think, “Oh, that’s really funny and smart. I would have done that the more obvious way.” And her hair—I desperately wanted her hair to have its own billing.
It sounds like you want to go back and do it all over again.
MCCARTHY It was the greatest playground ever. There wasn’t a day when I didn’t come home saying, “We did the craziest thing!”