LOS ANGELES, July 2 (UPI) -- Kathy Bates says Melissa McCarthy inspired her to join the cast of Tammy.
The 66-year-old actress portrays Lenore in the upcoming comedy film. The character is a first cousin, twice removed to Tammy (McCarthy), and McCarthy co-wrote and produced the feature. Bates spoke to Tim Lammers ahead of Tammy's release, and credited the actress for her involvement with the movie.
"The main reason for doing it was Melissa McCarthy," Bates reveals. "I had seen her in Bridesmaids, and I wish I could be as clever, wonderful and physical in comedy as she is. I wanted to get to know her; -- I really wanted to understand her secret. I wondered, 'How can she stay so real yet push the envelope the way she does, physically and comedically?"
"I can see a comparison in her and Lucille Ball in the way Melissa fearlessly goes places that a lot of actresses wouldn't go. She's nimble, quick and fearless," the actress lauds. "When we were all doing our improv scenes for the film, we were just shameless trying to be as good as Melissa because she raises the bar -- but of course, we fell short."
The film follows the title character, a fast-food worker who experiences a string of bad luck. Allison Janney and Susan Sarandon also star as Tammy's mother and grandmother, with Sandra Oh as Lenore's girlfriend and director Ben Falcone as Tammy's boss. Falcone and McCarthy married in 2005, and have two daughters together.
Tammy debuts in theaters July 2. Bates will next appear in Boychoir and The Great Gilly Hopkins.