“Bridesmaids” costar Melissa McCarthy is laugh-out-loud hysterical and grew up on a farm in Plainfield. Her new show “Mike and Molly” has been doing very well and was picked up for another season. Here’s part of my interview with her from last Sept. 20, 2010.
McCarthy was in Chicago on a press tour the day her new TV show “Mike and Molly,” aired on CBS-TV (Channel 2) last fall. Unfortunately, I was in New York that day and didn’t have the opportunity to meet her in person. We did chat by phone and I was very thrilled to interview her.
“Mike and Molly” revolves around a teacher who finds love with a Chicago cop when they meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
McCarthy didn’t need to look far to find inspiration for her role as a fourth-grade teacher on her new TV show,
she just had to go back to grade school, where Mrs.
Breen, her fifth-grade teacher at St. Mary’s Academy in Plainfield, remains in her memory.
Interestingly, McCarthy had little interest in acting while she live in Plainfield and went to high school at Joliet Catholic Academy.
“I was in one play and that was it,” says McCarthy, 40. “My focus was art; in particular fashion and textiles. I wanted to attend the Art Institute in Chicago (but) ended up majoring in textiles at Southern Illinois University.”
It was there that she met New York shoe designer Brian Atwood, a Joliet native whose shoes have become a recent favorite with celebrities. The two were so close that they ended up moving to New York together to pursue design careers, McCarthy says.
“Brian got me started in comedy,” she says. “He told me that he’d booked my first open mic time slot and basically, I better show up.”
That began a stint in stand-up comedy, which she followed with acting classes and eight years on the New York stage. When McCarthy decided to give Hollywood a try, she joined the renowned comedy group, The Groundlings, which led to TV work, she said.
Her big break came in 2000, when she landed the role as quirky chef Sookie St. James on the “Gilmore Girls,” which she played for seven years. She also had a recurring role for two years on “Samantha Who?” which starred Christina Applegate.
McCarthy says she’s excited about the writing of her character, who’s portrayed as a strong woman and one who’s similar to so many people she knows.
“(Molly) takes care of all these people,” she says. “She’s confident, gritty – but with substance. She likes herself and for the most part thinks, ‘I’m doing a pretty darn good job.'”
These days, McCarthy lives in LosAngeles with her husband and two daughters, ages 3 and 7 months. Her cousin, actress Jenny McCarthy, also lives in L.A. Her parents, Mike and Sandy McCarthy, still live in Plainfield.
“You know my town of Plainfield back then was a sweet little farm town,” she says. “Now, when I visit, I see that it’s grown so much.”
Sarah Adamson© September 20, 2010 −Rewritten May 18, 2011.