Identity theft is not exactly a comical act. In fact, stealing someone's identity is a serious crime that can result in jail time. However, when Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman deal with the crime in Identity Thief, opening in theaters Feb. 8, only laughs will result.
"She [Melissa McCarthy] makes it very, very difficult [to keep a straight face when acting in scenes]," Jason reminisced as he talked to SheKnows. "When you get used to the line, and after shooting, take seven, eight or nine takes, she will then — on take ten or eleven — say something totally different just to make you laugh or make the crew laugh.”
While this might have been the case behind the scenes during the filming process, Jason's character, Sandy Bigelow Patterson, sings a very different tune.
In the movie, Sandy realizes that a spendthrift has stolen his identity in order to pay for her purchases. Sandy decides to find and confront this con artist, but of course, it's a lot easier said than done.
"I had to endure a full night with a seven-foot king snake — one that wrapped itself around my neck, one that crawled up the leg of my pants — while I pretended to be sleeping on the dirt," explained Jason, not hiding the fact that he was extremely terrified of the extra-large serpent.
Regardless of the fact that Melissa enjoyed watching this snake "make a beeline for Jason when it was released," and playing other pranks on him (including one involving a panini maker) during filming, Jason was adamant about having Melissa cast opposite him.
"I went to the premiere of Bridesmaids [starring Melissa McCarthy] and really loved Melissa's work. The following morning, I asked if we could change the thief in Identity Thief from a guy to a girl and [said] that Melissa would be the perfect fit for the role," Jason confided, with a smirk on his face.
When offered the role, Melissa wasn't about to say no because she had a vision of her character, Diana, that she wanted to perfect on screen.
"I think what was interesting about the character [Diana] to me — and I wanted to make sure she wasn't just a one-dimensional, mustache-twirling villain — was that she's not stealing from people to be menacing. She's just so lonely. [When I realized this,] I felt like I found the heart of her, something interesting. I found what made her tick," Melissa said to SheKnows in a surprisingly straight-faced manner, considering her reputation for constant comedy.
Over here at SheKnows, there is no doubt in our minds that when you see Identity Thief, you will not be able to keep a straight face because this dynamic comedic duo doesn't disappoint. While the actors believe Seth Gordon's direction (he also directed Jason in Horrible Bosses) and the writing had a great deal to do with the comedy and timing, we can't help but think Jason and Melissa's acting chops and crazy chemistry helped as well.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures