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Melissa McCarthy on drinking with Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’ and how we all need a good laugh

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Walt Disney Pictures

In a chat about her career with The Guardian, The Little Mermaid star Melissa McCarthy describes her real-life relationship with her character, the villainous Ursula.

The twice-Oscar-nominated star recalls working as a babysitter in New York City in the ’90s and watching the original animated Disney classic every night with the kids in her care.

“My God, I’d like to have a drink with Ursula,” she recalled thinking.

The actress said she lobbied hard for the plum part. “Having just gone through Covid, I was like, ‘Aha, this is [a] character who has been in isolation for long enough that she is not in the healthiest mental state.’ I started to love her in a whole new way. And she’s also been alone for years with two eels? She’s not solid on her tentacles, so to speak.”

While Melissa is about to launch Little Mermaid Friday, she and her husband and frequent collaborator, Ben Falcone, are still hard at work on their own projects. “It’s a fist fight to try to get comedies made right now. And I don’t know why, because we’ve never needed to laugh more,” she says.

“Comedy allows you to sit next to somebody whose ideas don’t match up. And maybe you come out a little closer,” McCarthy expresses.

She adds, “I can’t do a lot of useful things. I don’t know how to clean up the oceans, or stop our violent tendencies. But I can hopefully give someone who’s had a bad day an hour and a half to go into a different world where bills or illness isn’t the top thing on their brain. That’s the only skill set I really have. So I have to keep trying.”

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