Melissa McCarthy 'wormed her way in' to husband's new film

The actress struggled with the lack of information available about Lee Israel's background.

Melissa McCarthy "wormed" her way into new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? after becoming fascinated by the project her actor/director husband had just landed.

The Bridesmaids star, who is better known for her comedy roles, portrays real-life author Lee Israel in the new biopic, which chronicles her efforts to revitalise her failing writing career by forging letters from famous deceased artists to make a living.

Israel, who lived in New York, ended up pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property and served six months under house arrest in 1993. She died in 2014.

Melissa admits she would never have heard of the story had it not been for her husband Ben Falcone's casting in the film.

"He was cast first, and then I wormed my way in," the actress confessed. "That's what he gets for showing me the script!"

"I felt a little disappointed in myself that I didn't know who she was," she added to breakfast show Good Morning America. "I lived in New York during this time period, and I thought, 'I should have known her.' Then to find out the FBI got involved and she was convicted..., I was like, 'Why don't I know the story?'"

Once Melissa scored the lead, she began researching Lee's background, but she found that task to be harder than imagined.

"The research was slim to none," she said, "because true to Lee's form, she did not want people in her business; it's not there, really."

Luckily, Melissa had Lee's memoir, on which the film is based, to study as she developed her onscreen persona and she enjoyed exercising her dramatic skills.

"It was fantastic. I know that it is tonally something that I'm not really known for.. but for me it's like, I still fall in love with the character, I fall in love with the story," she shared. "The process for me in playing Lee Israel was just finding all her little quirks and ticks, of which there were many - she is not an easy person by any stretch, but I still became really enamoured with her early on, and it was really fun to play."

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which also stars Richard E. Grant, opens in theatres this week (19Oct18).

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