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Melissa McCarthy famously stole the show in the 2011 blockbuster Bridesmaids. And she’s since become one of Hollywood’s most dependable stars with Identity Thief, The Heat, and next week’s Tammy. But it was the inventive 1998 short film God that first showed off McCarthy’s devilish charm and bubbly-subversive comedy style.
McCarthy plays Margaret O’Reilly , a chatty and catty Jamba Juice employee who talks to God via long cordless-phone chats. (It was 1998 after all.) She and the Supreme Being are besties, but when their relationship hits a snag, God makes Margaret’s life a living hell with acts of vengeance both big (an overturned car) and small (bad hair days).
God was written and directed by John August, who’d later go on to write Charlie’s Angels, Big Fish, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. August had met McCarthy during the casting process for his first feature screenwriting credit, the Doug Liman-directed comic thriller Go. McCarthy landed the giddy supporting role in the clip below — and firmly nabbed August’s attention.
In an interview with MovieWeb years later, McCarthy said that she and August ran into each at a coffee shop after Go finished filming. “I couldn’t believe he actually remembered me — it was a small part,” she said. “And he said, ‘Hey, I have a short I’ve written for you.’ And my eyes just went to, like, saucers.” Both of them obviously maintained their belief in God: McCarthy and August would later resurrect the Margaret character for his feature directorial debut, the 2007 sci-fi genre mashup The Nines. (He even included God as an extra on The Nines DVD.) And McCarthy told Collider.com that she used the short as a demo reel early in her career. “I liked everything about it, better than a lot of things that I’d done,” she said. “So I was like, ‘Why not?’”