During a Q&A following the finale of Hulu miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers, Melissa McCarthy opened up about how Jennifer Coolidge helped her land her first film role in 1999. The legendary character actor and scene stealer vouched for McCarthy during the casting process for Doug Liman’s cult classic Go—even though, as McCarthy recalled, they never interacted during their time with the LA-based improv comedy troupe The Groundlings.
“I didn’t know her. I was just a student and she was a company member at the Groundlings,” McCarthy recounts. “And she contacted a casting director—I didn’t know she knew I was alive—and said, ‘I think you should see this girl.’ And [casting director] Joseph Middleton, he’s like, ‘She doesn’t do that ever.’”
We love to see women supporting women. Coolidge herself only had a few smaller television and film roles under her belt. After she was rejected by SNL in 1995, she went on to have roles in A Night At The Roxbury and of course American Pie. Following her small role in Go, McCarthy went on to snag roles in films such as the star-studded Drowning Mona, Disney’s The Kid, and Charlie’s Angels.
“I went in, and I got Go, which was my first movie. And then I got an agent, and I was able to join SAG, and it’s all... before you ask Jennifer, she goes, ‘I didn’t do anything,’” McCarthy adds with her best Coolidge impression. “But she did. She went out of her way and just was really kind to me.”
Dang Coolidge, that’s pretty cool.
McCarthy’s break out role was Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls, which she played starting in 2000 until the show’s end in 2007. Throughout the 2010s the Academy Award nominee became one of the most prominent comedy actors, starring in features such as Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, Tammy, The Boss, Spy, and the women-led reboot of Ghostbusters (2016). In recent years, McCarthy’s flexed her drama acting muscles in The Kitchen, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and most recently the grief-centric The Starling.