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Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd on dealing with grief in ‘The Starling’



Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd on dealing with grief in ‘The Starling’


Melissa McCarthy has two children with Ben Falcone, her husband and longtime collaborator. Chris O’Dowd and his wife, producer and host Dawn O’Porter, also have two children.

McCarthy and O’Dowd had to envision the unthinkable for their new drama The Starling, in which they play a grieving married couple following the death of their young daughter.

“You have to be willing to commit fully and go all in. And at the same time, you have to kind of make sure you come out of it at the end of the day,’ McCarthy said during a recent virtual interview with O’Dowd on the difficulty of working with such challenging material.

After starring in 2011’s Bridesmaids, 2012’s This Is 40, and 2014’s St. Vincent, O’Dowd says, “There’s no real way of imagining that happening without imagining it happening. And that’s just a very difficult mental state to put yourself in. And I found increasingly a hard one to get out of. I would find that you would need to kind of like put on music and also distraction techniques to just shake you out of your job mindset and remind you that you’re going [home] to do bath time and your kids are okay.”

While O’Dowd’s Jack is admitted to a psychiatric facility, McCarthy’s Lilly must keep her cool while waiting for him to return, which includes dealing with a belligerent bird that has taken over her garden.

The script wasn’t written that way at first, but McCarthy thinks director and producer Theodore Melfi made the proper decision to modify it.


“He (Melfi) always said, ‘I was raised by a single mother, I have two daughters, I have a great strong wife.’ He couldn’t envision the woman being weak. And for me, I loved that,” the Illinois-born actress said in a video interview. “But I also loved that it gave Chris the opportunity to play a male character that was also vulnerable and broken … I mean to only portray men as macho, ‘I have no emotions,’ it’s just not any men I know. So I think this is much more grounded and real.”

McCarthy was joined in the interview by Irish actor O’Dowd, who concurred.

“There’s a lot of conversations about the fragility of men and feeling like it’s some kind of modern inconvenience. The truth is that men’s hearts give up on them so much earlier than women, they commit suicide in much greater numbers; men are fragile. It felt very useful to be able to talk about it in a film like this, where they’re going through something very, very real. And at the same time, exploring how women have become this kind of driving force.”



Melissa McCarthy doesn’t understand the Ghostbusters backlash 5 years later



Melissa McCarthy has reacted to the negative press surrounding the Ghostbusters reboot.

McCarthy spoke with Yahoo about the 2016 picture “Ghostbusters” and how poorly it was received. For those who don’t recall, the negative buzz surrounding the film began with a previously unheard of negative response to the first trailer on YouTube, followed by what seemed like an endless stream of vitriolic hate directed at everyone associated with the film, including racist and sexist comments.

“There’s no end to stories we can tell, and there’s so many reboots and relaunches and different interpretations, and to say any of them are wrong, I just don’t get it,” McCarthy explained.

“I don’t get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled. Everybody should be able to tell the story they want to tell. If you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to see it.”

Many criticized the picture for bringing four female stars to the franchise, and Jones received a lot of racial abuse as well. Following the response, she abandoned Twitter, requesting that Twitter intervene and halt the comments she was getting.

“Twitter I understand you got free speech,” she wrote in 2016. “But there has to be some guidelines when you let [it] spread like that.” adding, “I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now. I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this ’cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today… wrong.”

When compared to how the upcoming “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is being received, the reaction to the 2016 revival is also interesting. Though the latter has yet to be released, there appears to be a lot of favorable hype about it, as it is a genuine sequel to the original franchise and is directed by Ivan Reitman’s son, Jason Reitman. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how the “Ghostbusters” fans reacts if the picture is a flop. It may not be a pleasant sight.

McCarthy lauds The Starling director Ted Melfi’s commitment to understanding how and why the film’s parental roles could be reversed.

“This one was a wonderful switch,” she says. “This was Ted’s idea. He said when he read it, he was raised by a single mother, he was like, ‘I didn’t buy the woman falling apart. In his life, it’s always been the females that have kind of kept it together and kept trudging.

“I also think a man could be vulnerable and broken in a way that we’ve not traditionally seen.”

The Starling is now available to watch on Netflix. The new Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is a continuation of the original film franchise and has no relation to the 2016 remake, will hit cinemas on November 19.

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