Let's Get Physical
"I've been beating people up for two months; it's very cathartic," joked Melissa McCarthy during the production of THE HEAT.
A favorite target of Mullins is Rojas, a small time dealer and pimp, portrayed by YouTube sensation Spoken Reasons (aka John A Baker Jr.). During an early encounter, Mullins throws a watermelon at the fleeing crook. The unique takedown speaks to Mullins' determination and quick thinking -- and to the film's no-holds-barred humor. "I mean, who throws a watermelon at somebody?" asks the still incredulous Spoken Reasons.
Being felled by an airborne watermelon is only the beginning of Rojas' problems with Mullins and, ultimately, with Ashburn. Seeking information from the hapless hood, Ashburn and Mullins give Rojas some incentive to cooperate...by dangling him, upside-down, off a balcony. The young performer's acting was also incentivized by the fact that he actually was hanging three stories above ground, with only a special wire keeping him aloft.
Feig, for one, appreciated Spoken Reasons' agreeing to eschew green-screen/CGI. "He had never been in a movie, and I was impressed by his wanting to make the scene feel as authentic as possible. I've never met anybody who just walked in front of a movie camera for the first time and taken command of it so masterfully."
Perp beat-downs are only part of the film's comical physical set pieces, which also highlight Ashburn and Mullins bustin' some moves at a Boston dive, in a scene that has the two cops bonding over booze. "Yeah, we carefully choreographed the scene...for all of three-and-a-half seconds," admits McCarthy. "You can't choreograph it," adds Bullock, "because it had to look as stupid and made-up as possible."
The improvisational nature fueled the fun and on- and off-screen bonding. "Melissa has great moves," says Bullock. "When I saw her dance, I knew we were going to be fast friends."
McCarthy adds: "Yeah, I got the moves, but I don't have the sense to stop whatever's going on."
Prepared for action of any kind, Mullins is dressed to kill with a hip-hop/Patti Smith look, along with an ever-present vest as functional ("to put stuff in," says Feig) as it is cool. Ashburn, the buttoned-up over-achiever, is encased in a business suit, with something underneath that completely mystifies Mullins: Spanx. When Ashburn explains to the fashion-backward Mullins the purpose of the shapewear, the shocked cop exclaims, "What's gonna come f***ing popping out?"
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