Melissa McCarthy dishes on working with Kathy Bates and Kristen Bell on ‘The Boss’

Star actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy stopped by The Howard Stern Show to discuss her new film The Boss, which she co-wrote with her husband Ben Falcone and friend Steve Mallory. In the film McCarthy got to work with two of her favorite actresses, Kathy Bates and Kristen Bell.

McCarthy first worked with Bates while filming Tammy and said it was an unforgettable experience.

“She’s a force of nature, she’s like a magical being,” McCarthy said. “I’ve done two movies with her now and the first time we did ‘Tammy’ together and, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel this again, she did a scene and I literally thought there were lightning bolts coming through my body.”

McCarthy said she would cry after each scene they did and had to give herself a pop-talk to regain her composure. She has a special affection for Bates, whom she views as her inspiration.

“She’s been a hero since I was 20 years old and followed her,” McCarthy said. “But literally that’s what it felt like to be opposite her, she can take all that energy and channel it, and it’s a palpable feeling… I think there’s some things certain actors can do when they can channel that energy and they can focus it. I think they can focus it through the lens, and I truly was rattled by it.”

McCarthy also enjoyed starring alongside Bell, who played the second lead character. Despite McCarthy’s heavy use of adlibs and improvisations, Bell was easily able to adapt.

“I think you just feel it. I think everybody knows we have the scripted version down, we’ve done that once. Now, let’s just kind of see where it goes,” she said. “Kristen is the kind of actress that you can say anything to her, and she will stay in character and respond.”

Bell was McCarthy’s first choice for a co-star, but because of the birth of her second child, it didn’t seem like she’d be able to play the part. Once McCarthy’s team got the confirmation, it was a no-brainer.

“We didn’t know she would do it because she just had another baby, and the first thing we heard when we asked was that she’s not gonna come back to work just yet,” McCarthy recalled. “Then we were trying to think of other people and we got a little thing of like, ‘She might consider doing it,’ and we were like, ‘Go to the Bell!'”

McCarthy also revealed how she came up with the character of Michelle Darnell, a titan of industry who’s sent to prison after being convicted of insider trading,

“16 years ago I had a little Leona Helmsley in my head, a big pushy know-it-all who’s actually good at it,” she recalled. “It was so weird, I did it for four months at a Groundlings show, and then I couldn’t get her [out of my head]. Literally, two years later, I would say something about her, four years later I’m like, ‘I think Michelle’s an orphan.’ Ben was like, ‘My God, who are we talking about, Michelle who?’ And I said, ‘I think Michelle Darnell had a really awful childhood.’ He’s like, ‘Are you talking about the character from four years ago?!’ This went on for 12 years and he’s like, ‘Before you’re a full sociopath, you should write it.'”

Listen to McCarthy’s full interview with Howard Stern below, where she also discusses her work on the movie Ghostbusters, why she won’t be in the Gilmore Girls reboot, her tennis skills and more!

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