Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Terrible Bosses) as Sandy, and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) as Diana, a woman living the high life after stealing Sandy’s identity.
Originally envisioned with two male leads, Bateman (who also is one of the producers of the film) suggested changing the character of the thief to a female, a decision that played out when McCarthy jumped at the chance to play Diana. “I liked that Diana was scrappy and gets physical with [Sandy]. I can’t think of a comedy where you see a man and a woman physically fighting and it’s not slapsticky. In this film, it’s more like ‘I’m going to kill him,’” she notes.
Director Seth Gordon says, “Many of the stunts are either Jason or Melissa doing it themselves. They preferred it that way, and there’s something about it when an actor does a stunt that makes an audience feel it.” Nonetheless, “there were so many times that I had to try to talk Melissa and Jason out of doing their own stunts,” Gordon continues. “There’s one scene where Diana gets hit by a car and it’s not a subtle hit. There was a parkour artist we brought in to do the stunt, and Melissa watched her rehearse and how she rolled off the car and then said, ‘I think I can do that and take the hit.’ There was no way I was going to let her, but I think she was serious that she wanted to try it.”
McCarthy relished the physical challenges of making the movie, explaining: “I’m a physical actress. Struggling with things is so much better, and it’s a big part of how I work. I love that there’s so much physical stuff going on with Diana. I’ve never taken it to this level where you’re shooting a fight scene for five days.”
For Bateman, even the scenes without stunts had physical challenges. “I loved the scenes where Melissa and I were sitting in the car and my character has to deal with all of her absurd behavior and endless stories. During those scenes, I would pinch the inside of my thighs so I wouldn’t laugh in the middle of the take. It was somewhat effective, but by the end of the film, my legs were covered in pinch marks.”
Identity Thief is available starting June 4 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2013 Universal Studios
Credit Guy D’Alema