Melissa McCarthy says it was "satisfying" when audiences hated her latest film character.
The actress stars as Diana in Identity Thief, about a woman who is confronted by a man called Sandy, whom she has ripped off. She was drawn to the character because she isn't wholly likeably, which she hopes shines through during the movie.
In one scene Diane and Sandy, portrayed by Jason Bateman, come to blows and Melissa believes there is no question about whose side people should be on.
"I hoped the audience would be like, ‘Hit her!'" she laughed to British newspaper The Telegraph. “I wanted people to shout, ‘Hit that b***h! Take her down!’ And in the States people really have been shouting that, which is very satisfying for me as a performer.”
Originally Melissa's role was supposed to be for a man, although it was reworked specifically for her. She is delighted about that, not least because she thinks it makes the character fresher.
"When I heard about it, I was like, ‘Great, maybe it’ll be a good character," she said. “Because bizarrely, to me, characters written as female are often not that interesting.
"I was so thrilled to get the chance to play someone who’s doing terrible things. She’s ruining this guy’s life, and she’s unapologetic about it in an unpleasant way. To me, that’s so much more interesting to watch than someone walking around being perfect."
The film has done well at the box office so far, although that has been overshadowed by remarks made by a critic about Melissa's weight. She is unaffected by them, but thinks they are symptomatic of a lot of what is wrong with the industry.
The star is bored of seeing women looking perfect on screen and firmly believes there needs to be more variety in Hollywood.
"You need to be able to look ugly, and act ugly... and then come grovelling back. So when actresses are cleaned up to the point that they look perfect, and dress perfect, and never act inappropriately, and never say the wrong thing, you’ve taken away every tool they have," she fumed.
"And then they’re told: ‘And now be funny.’ Well, no wonder so many comic roles for women are just a wife standing there with her hands on her hips and sighing, ‘Oh, Jim’. What else can you do? You have no personality left."
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