Melissa McCarthy May Join Bill Murray in 'St. Vincent De Van Nuys’
by Ethan Anderton
March 12, 2013
Now this is exactly the kind of movie that Melissa McCarthy should be doing. After the amusing but lackluster comedy Identity Thief hit theaters last month, and McCarthy had a barrage of projects announced, many with her husband, I was worried audiences were going to get tired of the comedy actress quickly. After all, The Heat is still coming this summer and she also has a small role in The Hangover Part III. Well, Deadline reports she's getting a less goofy comedy and more of a chance to display both her acting and comic talents in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, a new film at The Weinstein Company with Bill Murray.
A whole slew of top comedy actresses went out for the role, but McCarthy is the one getting the offer, and it's unlikely that she'll turn it down. For those just joining us, Ted Melfi (I Want Candy) wrote the script and will direct the film which follows a 12-year old boy who, in the wake of his parents' divorce, forms an unlikely friendship with the misanthropic retiree (Murray) living next door. Murray's character is a war veteran well-seasoned in drinking, gambling, prostitutes and more, but that doesn't stop him from becoming an unlikely mentor to the adolescent boy. McCarthy would play the boy's struggling single mother, and she reportedly campaigned very hard to get this role.
The script actually received the same number of votes on the 2011 Black List as Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained before the project officially made moves towards production, so it must be damn good. Some comparisons have been made to Academy Award nominated films like As Good As It Gets or the more recent Silver Linings Playbook for their seamless mix of comedy and emotional drama and human relationships. It sounds like the script is just as big of a deal as Murray and McCarthy starring in the film together. Melfi recalls how Murray got involved with the project:
“I’m driving one day, the phone rings and it’s Bill Murray, and he says, ‘Ted Melfi, I don’t know who you are, but I love your script.’ He asked me to meet him at LAX and go for a ride as he returned home from a golf tournament. I met him in baggage, we got in a town car. He pulls the script out of an attache case. It’s dog-eared and there are notes all over it. We stop at an In-N-Out Burger, and spent a three-hour drive to I don’t know where discussing the script. He understood everything about the character, and his notes were simple, direct and to the point. He said, this character is who I am at times, and this is how I talk, at times. It was one of those days where you think, if I died tomorrow, it would be OK.”
Three hours working with Bill Murray, having him love your script, and In-N-Out Burger? Melfi just lived through heaven. As for the unlikely dynamic between the young boy and this drunk grump that Murray will bring to life, Melfi says, "The relationship transforms both the man and the boy and even though he teaches the kid everything about his decadent lifestyle, from fighting to drinking, gambling and how to cheat lie and steal. And the 12-year-old has such a pure soul that he only extracts the good from all this.” This is quickly becoming one of my most anticipated movies. Stay tuned for more.