What does it mean to Melissa McCarthy, mom of two girls, that she will forever be a role model to girls after her great turn in the new Ghostbusters?
“It means the world to me,” she said during a press conference last week. “Every time we put something out into the world where they can see themselves, and that they won’t even have the realization, “‘Why wouldn’t it be me? Why wouldn’t I be the hero? Why wouldn’t I be the Ghostbuster?'”
“It’s incredibly impactful.”
McCarthy was with her Ghostbusting pals Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones (both of Saturday Night Live) along with director Paul Feig (Spy, Bridesmaids), co-writer Katie Dippold (Heat), and the director of the original Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman. Kristin Wiig wasn’t available.
Being a role model to girls is special for Leslie Jones as well. She recalled seeing Whoopi Goldberg on television for the first time and crying.
“I remember telling my dad that I can’t believe there’s someone on television that looks like me,” she said. “For some little black girl to see me doing this…Yeah, I’m pretty much very proud of that.”
McKinnon, who is just as perfectly strange in person as she is on SNL, said she felt it wasn’t just important for girls to see female Ghostbusters. It’s just as important for her male cat. “To think of him playing with women action figures and growing up not thinking of that difference…”
She was serious when asked about the women she admires who have had an impact on her life. “Any women comedian who has dared to, you know, wear pants and not care how she looks or what we think of as feminine. So many of my heroes fall into that category.”
For McCarthy, her greatest influence to becoming one of the funniest women in Hollywood was her mother who told her she could do anything as long as she worked hard. Her comic heroes are some of the great female comedians, Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn, and other strong women who ignored convention. “Anyone who says I will not be bound by what I should and shouldn’t do.”
“I thought, “Why not me?” And that’s the cumulation of a lot of great women.”
My review is coming tomorrow, but I honestly thought Ghostbusters was really funny and the chemistry of the four women (Chris Hemsworth) was perfection. And I’m a fan of the Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroid and Ernie Hudson. The group was asked what the original Ghostbusters meant to them.
Both McCarthy and Feig said they weren’t quite sure what they were seeing, but they knew it was special. Feig saw it with his comedy pals and he said if only he could make a movie like that. For McCarthy, she thought it multiple times in the theater, which was a special treat for her then. “It just made everything seem possible and cool.”
Ghostbusters opens in theaters today.