Kathy Bates names ‘Tammy’ co-star Melissa McCarthy one of her acting inspirations

Melissa McCarthy is becoming an A-list actress, and her impressive comedic talent is inspiring other renowned actresses to attempt to follow in her footsteps. Kathy Bates has been a fan of McCarthy’s ever since watching her in the wildly successful 2011 comedy Bridesmaids, and attributes her decision to join the cast of McCarthy’s latest film Tammy to her desire to meet and work with the actress.

“The main reason for doing it was Melissa McCarthy,” says Bates. “I had seen her in ‘Bridesmaids,’ and I wish I could be as clever, wonderful and physical in comedy as she is. I wanted to get to know her — I really wanted to understand her secret. I wondered, ‘How can she stay so real yet push the envelope the way she does, physically and comedically?”

“I can see a comparison in her and Lucille Ball in the way Melissa fearlessly goes places that a lot of actresses wouldn’t go. She’s nimble, quick and fearless. When we were all doing our improv scenes for the film, we were just shameless trying to be as good as Melissa because she raises the bar — but of course, we fell short.”

Tammy, which McCarthy co-wrote and produced, follows McCarthy’s title character, a fast-food worker who experiences a string of bad luck. Bates portrays Lenore, Tammy’s first cousin, twice removed. Allison Janney and Susan Sarandon also star in the film as Tammy’s mother and grandmother, and Sandra Oh plays Lenore’s girlfriend. Director Ben Falcone, whom McCarthy married in 2005 and has two daughters with, stars as Tammy’s boss.

The film releases in theaters on July 2.