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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

 

When you hear the names Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy, chances are that drama isn’t the first thing to come to mind. While Melissa McCarthy has dabbled in drama, she hit it big in comedic roles in films like Bridesmaids and Spy, and Haddish has more recently exploded in films like Girls Trip and Night School, both of which leaned heavily into comedy.

So why is it that writer-director Andrea Berloff decided to go with such unexpected actors for her gender-bent gangster film and comic adaptation The Kitchen? Our own Daniel Tafoya had a chance to speak with Berloff on the phone, and asked the very question. Here’s what Berloff told him.

“You know, it evolved organically that we finished the script, they hired me as a director, and just as we were beginning the casting process, Girls Trip opened. The Monday after Girls Trip opened, our producer, Mike DeLuca called me and said, “I just had lunch with this woman who I think is going to be a major star. You need to go see Girls Trip and you need to go meet with her.” I went and saw Girls Trip and saw just how talented Tiffany was, but I was like, “Okay, maybe she can do it. I don’t know.” Then I met her and saw what Mike saw, which is that she is so smart and so thoughtful and has such depth to her and is so soulful and charming. It is no surprise to me that she has become a major star because the world is now seeing what Mike and I and many other people saw two years ago. I just knew the second that I met with her that she could handle the role of Ruby. 

“Once we had Tiffany locked in we began a search for Kathy, the role of Kathy. It’s actually someone at CAA who said to me, “Melissa McCarthy might be great for the role.” At that point, Can You Ever Forgive Me was still in post-production, so nobody had seen it. I didn’t know that she was looking to do different kinds of work. We approached her and she said yes, which I was just so excited by. We might have paused for 45 seconds about the idea of casting two comedians against type, but that was it because all you needed to do was sit with those women and know that they were going to knock this out of the park and that they wanted the opportunity to do these roles and that they were going to do a great job at it. Period. I think also you have to create a reason for people to go to the theater right now. People are not going to the movies in the numbers that they used to. What is the reason to go to the theater? I think a big reason to go is to go see two of your favorite actresses do something that you’ve never seen them do before. It creates a conversation point. It creates a buzz. It creates a reason to go to the theater, which ultimately is what we need.”

RELATED – The Kitchen Review

All in all, it seemed to work out. Our own Fox Troilo recently reviewed the film, giving it an amazing A grade, so clearly, there’s something that was done right there. 

How do you feel about Haddish and McCarthy being cast against type? Based on what you’ve seen in the trailer so far, do you think it’s worked? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.