Melissa McCarthy & Tiffany Haddish Will Star in Mob Wife Drama ‘The Kitchen’

 

In one of the most exciting and unexpected casting announcements so far this year, Deadline reports that Melissa McCarthy has been cast alongside Tiffany Haddish in The Kitchen, a gritty drama that centers around the lives of Mafia leaders in New York City in the ’70s.

It will mark the directorial debut of Andrea Berloff, who received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton. Berloff wrote the new script based off of a 2014 comic by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle for DC’s Vertigo.

McCarthy and Haddish will play mob wives who must assume their husband’s positions in the family business after an FBI sweep captures several Mafia leaders. They’ll prove to be even more ruthless than the men they’ve replaced. It’s an unusual film for such a major studio, being as it is produced in partnership with New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment.

Both Haddish and McCarthy have mostly stuck to comedy so far – the former won the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Girls Trip, and McCarthy scored an Oscar nom for 2011’s Bridesmaids. 

Bill Murray on All-Female ‘Ghostbusters III’

With his St. Vincent premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend (out in theaters October 10), Bill Murray took a break from being the coolest man in comedy to offer up his casting suggestions for Paul Feig’s rumored all-girls Ghostbusters III:

It sounds great to me. It sounds as good an idea as any other! There are a lot of women that could scare off any kind of vapor! No, it’s a grand idea, I don’t know who they’re talking about, but it’s a good idea, I would watch it! I mean, I love Robert Palmer’s videos, so why wouldn’t I love the female Ghostbusters?

Melissa [McCarthy] would be a spectacular Ghostbuster. And Kristen Wiig is so funny. God, she’s funny. I like this girl Linda Cardellini a lot. And Emma Stone is funny. There are some funny girls out there.

While it wouldn’t take much to convince me to go see a female Ghostbusters, the fact that Bill Murray is on board with it makes it even better (fingers crossed for a cameo appearance).

Celebrate the 30 year anniversary of Ghostbusters with some classic Murray moments:

CADDYSHACK (1980)

STRIPES (1981)

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

RUSHMORE (1998)

COFFEE & CIGARETTES (2003)

LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003)

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (2004)

ST. VINCENT (2014)

The trailer for St. Vincent features the always-lovable Murray as a South Brooklyn schlemiel tasked with watching the child of his neighbor, played by Melissa McCarthy, and an almost unrecognizable Naomi Watts as a stripper. His St. Vincent role came about, said Murray at TIFF’s Bill Murray Day, “because they couldn’t get Jack Nicholson.”

 

Rex Reed, ‘NY Observer’ Reviewer, Slammed For Sexist Snark On Melissa McCarthy

Justifying it for God only knows what reason, flailing New York City newspaper the New York Observer published a movie review of the comedy Identify Thief which called its Oscar-nominated star Melissa McCarthy a "hippo," "tractor-sized" and said she’s made her career on being "obese." In the days since, reviewer Rex Reed has taken an absolute pounding in the press.  

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig minced no words, informing Reed he could go fuck himself:

Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet, himself an actor who is on the husky side, also singed the reviewer:

A bunch of other Hollywood types came to Melissa McCarthy’s side, which the Hollywood Reporter has rounded up here. Frankly, I still this this McCarthy/Jason Batemen flick looks hilarious:

 

The question remainds why the Observer — felt it was the proper editorial decision to publish these sexist, fat-shaming comments. Do they actually believe that calling one of America’s most beloved actresses a "hippo" would spur ad sales? Increase subscriptions? Is the paper’s web site that badly in need of pageviews that they allowed this offensive trash to be published? Is this what the Observer is going to be like under new editor Ken Kurson, described by WWD as  a personal friend of Kushner’s who has more recently been involved in political consulting."

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Funny Person Melissa McCarthy Possibly Directing

It looked for a while like Melissa McCarthy, like so many funny actresses with big breakout films before, was going to fade out of the spotlight after Bridesmaids and into the comfortable banality of CBS comedy forever. Thankfully, that has not been the case, and she has a big spring with two comedy features coming out (with several more vehicles in the works)—the recently-released Identity Thief with Jason Bateman and The Heat, a buddy-cop comedy where she kicks ass alongside Sandra Bullock. (The trailer for the latter is intriguing and generated a few laughs from the theater, but I’ll be damned if everybody else sitting there didn’t think it was going to be another Miss Congeniality movie.)

Anyway, this has been a good week for news about funny women getting opportunities behind the camera, with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack signing with Fox to write a number of projects. Now, it looks as though McCarthy is in talks to star and co-direct a raunchy New Line Cinema project called Tammy alongside her husband, Ben Falcone. After Beth McCarthy, Rob Reiner and Tate Taylor were tied to direct the project at various points, Melissa McCarthy and Falcone may be taking a stab at the road trip comedy.

Tammy centers on a woman who, after a string of bad luck (laid off from a fast food job, cheating husband), hits the road for a trip to Mount Rushmore alongside her foul-mouthed, hard-drinking grandmother, a part that may go to Shirley MacLaine. This would be McCarthy’s second road-trip-related project in a short span, and there’s only so many directions you can really take that in, but a McCarthy-MacLaine R-rated buddy comedy would be pretty fun. 

Personal Faves: Maya Rudolph Hosts ‘SNL’

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Joe Reid writes about Maya Rudolph’s return to Studio 8H as host of Saturday Night Live.

Since the beginning and the "Not Ready for Primetime Players," Saturday Night Live has always boasted something of a familial atmosphere. Even when—as has been documented often—those families were fucked-up and quarrelsome. The eras of SNL close ranks around themselves in our memory, though, and even when the reality resists it, we write these narratives anyway. This is why I will never not be fascinated by what goes on during the goodbye hugs at the end of each episode. Such a great peek into family dynamics. This sense of family on SNL has been especially strong on the last several years. The overlapping Tina Fey/Seth Meyers eras have been characterized by constant opportunities for crossover—on 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon—and a sense that graduated cast members are welcome back at Studio 8H any time.

And yet even by those standards, Maya Rudolph’s hosting gig last February felt especially familial. In the nearly five years since Rudolph ended her time as a cast member, she’d been back several times, but this was her first gig as host, and the sense of rallying around her for her big moment was palpable. Despite the fact that she was already starring in a sitcom on NBC, there was no reference made to Up All Night (the same would be true of Christina Applegate’s hosting gig in October, helping to cement Up All Night as one of the great "is that still on?" sitcoms of our time). It was the previous summer’s Bridesmaids that provided the boost in stature for Rudolph to host herself. Bridesmaids was a big influencer on SNL last season. Melissa McCarthy had been on to host in October, and the success of the film was probably that last push that Kristen Wiig needed to declare this her last season on the show. Which meant, in addition to Rudolph experiencing an old home week, there was also a sense that she was helping to usher Wiig into that great Beyond-SNL phase of her career, a sense that was only galvanized by Amy Poehler’s extended cameo.

Everybody figured Poehler would be back for a reprise of Bronx Beat, her and Rudolph’s popular recurring sketch. Betty and Jodi fell right back into their world-weary rhythms (it feels like Hoarders was a phenomenon created specifically to be gabbed about on "Bronx Beat"), and it only felt appropriate that their guests would be the sound guys played by Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake (one of the more popular recurring hosts of the Fey/Meyers era, keeping us on trend). 

NEXT: "The 2011-12 season had turned into Senior Week at high school."

Both Poehler and Timberlake would show up again during the show: Timberlake as Bon Iver in an "At Home with Beyonce and Jay-Z" sketch (though he would later TOTALLY puss out by carrying an "I <3 Bon Iver" sign during the goodbyes), and Poehler in her triumphant return to Weekend Update, and specifically to "REALLY??!! With Seth and Amy." That Beyonce and Jay-Z sketch was one of those treasure boxes filled with random fantastic celebrity impersonations, specifically Taran Killam’s Brad Pitt and Nasim Pedrad’s Nicki Minaj (which tragically was never paired with Kristen Wiig’s Bjork before Wiig left the show). But it was the return of "REALLY??!!" that sold the homecoming theme better than anything else. Seth and Amy had such great chemistry together, and his happiness at having her back for a week was practically radiating through the TV.

With Wiig and Samberg on their way out the door (and Jason Sudekis rumored to be as well), the 2011-12 season had turned into Senior Week at high school, with sketches seeming loopier and more likely to devolve into a pile of giggles. Wanton character-breaking like that can often test an audience’s patience with the show (see: the entire Jimmy Fallon-Horatio Sanz era), but for viewers who knew what was up, the season felt like watching fantastically funny old friends have a well-deserved goof-off day. (That day lasted 22 episodes, but whatever.) Thus the appeal of something like "Super Showcase," which consisted entirely of Wiig and Rudolph using weird voices to make them (and Bill Hader) laugh. The fact that Vanessa Bayer—new, still-trying-to-prove-herself Vanessa Bayer—was the only one to hold it together only strengthened the "Senior Skip Day" impression. 

NEXT: "The entire episode was consistently strong, a near-impossible feat for SNL."

The entire episode was consistently strong, a near-impossible feat for SNL. At 90 minutes worth of crammed-together sketches, perfection is an unattainable goal. (It also means that even the worst episodes can be redeemed by one great sketch, so it works both ways.) But Rudolph’s episode was remarkably steady: the cold open about racist "Lin-sanity" is so much more dated than anybody ever thought possible (it’s only been ten months but feels like ten years) but it also nailed that moment in time. The "what would it take for African Americans to not support Obama?" sketch was better than what usually gets tossed out at 12:45 AM. "What’s Up With That?" is never going to be for everybody, but it manages to get me every time, if for no other reason than the gleeful look on Sudekis’s face while he’s doing the running man. But, fine, say that’s the one "bad" sketch of the night. It’s more than redeemed by something like Maya Angelou’s prank show, if only for the part where Angelou assures Dr. Cornel West that her goof on him was not an act of malice but an act of whimsy. 

But really, what are we even talking about? Why did I just spend all that time talking about the rest of the episode when the show attained perfection via 30 short seconds in the second-last sketch? Not even the full "Obama Show" sketch. Just those perfectly calibrated Cosby Show opening credits. My favorite moments from those credits, in order: 1) Maya as Michelle Obama as Clare Huxtable, wagging her index finger at the camera; 2) Maya as Michelle Obama as Clare Huxtable dancing; 3) Jason Sudekis as Joe Biden as Theo Huxtable dancing; 4) Fred Armisen as Barack Obama as Cliff Huxtable doing the thing with the fingers; 5) Fred Armisen as Barack Obama as Cliff Huxtable dancing around Agent Conners. In the months since, I have watched those credits roughly seven thousand times. They don’t lose their luster. I only regret that the tag at the end of the sketch, where Poehler shows up as Hillary Clinton to lip-sych Ray Charles in parody of the greatest moment in Cosby Show history, isn’t available online due to the scourge of our time: music rights. MUSIC RIIIIIIIGHTS!!! [shakes fist]

It was only fitting, really, that this particular episode of Saturday Night Live was highlighted by a parody of one of television’s great families. Here’s hoping there’s one more of these homecoming episodes before Meyers, Hader, and company all move on. When does Kristen Wiig’s next movie open, anyway?

Follow Joe Reid on Twitter.  

Melissa McCarthy And Jason Bateman Team Up For ‘Identity Theft’

You didn’t even know you needed a Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman pairing, did you? But you do and Identity Theft is here. Or rather, here in February 2013.

Identity Theft stars Bateman as Sandy Bigelow Patterson, a buttoned-up office drone in Colorado who pays his bills ontime and is startled when he’s told the credit card he uses only for coffee and gas has reached its limit. McCarthy also stars as Sandy Bigelow Patterson, the Florida succubus who has ganked his identity and is carpet bombing his credit score.

McCarthy is done up to perfection with a wild mess of flyaway ginger hair, garish Floridian-inspired makeup, and tacky outfits that must have been so much fun for the wardrobe department to put together. She has self-righteous obliviousness down pat. It occurred to me — as a person who writes for a living online — that her next great role might be "Internet troll." (She might have too good personal hygiene for that, however.)

 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

America Proves Undying Love For Melissa McCarthy in ‘Identity Thief’ Trailer

Jason Bateman is Sandy Bigelow Patterson. Melissa McCarthy is Sandy Bigelow Patterson. Melissa McCarthy was not initially intended to appear as Sandy Bigelow Patterson in Bateman and Seth Gordon’s Identity Thief, but after she made us all fall out of our chairs with laughter in Bridesmaids, the two rewrote Bateman’s foil in the film to be a female character so they could give McCarthy the part.

And from the looks of the Identity Thief trailer, it was a good casting call. From McCathy’s struttin’ in florals to Rick Ross’s “Hustlin’” to her livin’ it up at The Sharper Image to the ensuing throat-punching, car-slamming confrontations she has with Bateman (whose identity she stole), it looks like a potentially fun ride. Watch the trailer below.

2011 Oscar Nominations Go More or Less as Expected

With the speed of a lumbering engine powered by critical hubris and self-importance, the 84th Academy Awards nominations dropped into our newsfeeds this morning with predictable result. Did you know that people liked The Descendants this year, The Artist as well? Brad Pitt and George Clooney scored the requisite Hollywood heartthrob acting votes (they will lose to the no-name French guy who doesn’t talk), while Meryl Streep got her due for sticking around. Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese were also nominated, just like they always are. It’s another Oscar ceremony, y’all!

But not to sound cynical or anything. It’s somewhat surprising, though definitely nice, to see Terrence Malick get official recognition for The Tree of Life, even if there’s almost no way the hype-happy Academy will give their highest awards to a movie with more than a handful of inscrutably artsy scenes. Equally surprising on the other end is the inclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a movie that no one seemed to like but not for any inscrutably artsy reasons, simply because it’s kind of schmaltzy and not very good. Why not give the spot to something innocuous like Bridesmaids or even the last Harry Potter movie, if they’re trying to go commercial? Madness, it’s all madness. (I won’t even get started on Albert Brooks’ snub for Drive.) You can look at the important nominees below, or go to the Academy’s website for the full list.

Best Picture
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir – A Better Life, George Clooney – The Descendants, Jean Dujardian – The Artist, Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis – The Help, Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Directing
Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist, Alexander Payne – The Descendants, Martin Scorsese – Hugo, Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branaugh – My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill – Moneyball, Nick Nolte – Warrior, Christopher Plummer – Beginners, Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo – The Artist, Jessica Chastain – The Help, Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer – The Help

‘Bridesmaids’ Opening the Door For More Female Comedies

There’s a lot riding on the success of Bridesmaids. If it fails, it will probably mean Hollywood will never make a “girl comedy” again. If it succeeds, it’ll prove once and for all that women are funny (which, alas, shouldn’t even be a question, but here we are). Luckily, we can all breathe a sigh of relief — Bridesmaids pulled in $24.4 million its opening weekend, performing much better than expected. Furthermore, Bridesmaids actresses Melissa McCarthy and Annie Mumolo have already sold a comedy pitch to Paramount. Both bits of news bode well for the future of female comedy.

It sucks that so much had to depend on this one movie. But the fact is, Hollywood thinks every single movie has to be aimed at teenage boys, so Bridesmaids even getting made is progress. Nikki Finke was astounded:

I was so convinced that this rare R-rated event comedy featuring women burping and farting for our female amusement wouldn’t make over $13M, even $15M tops, that I promised Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson that I would leave Hollywood reporting forever if Bridesmaids did the $20+ million he thought it would. Well, I’ve called the moving vans because I clearly have no idea what works at the domestic box office anymore.

McCarthy and Mumolo’s pitch is about a woman (McCarthy) who devises an elaborate plan to steal the Stanley Cup for her ill husband. Who cares what it’s about! More girl comedies all the time, please.