Melissa McCarthy Reveals a ‘Hostile, Volatile’ Set Left Her ‘Physically Ill’ and the Crew ‘Weeping’: ‘My Eyes Were Swelling Up’

Halle Bailey recently praised her “The Little Mermaid” co-star Melissa McCarthy for teaching her how to speak up and say what works for her on set, but there was a time when McCarthy herself wasn’t always so vocal. In a recent interview with The Observer, McCarthy revealed she once became sick due to working on a toxic set that left many of the cast and crew “weeping.” The experience led McCarthy to realize she can’t remain quiet amid inappropriate working conditions.

“I did work for someone once who ran such a volatile, hostile set that it made me physically ill,” McCarthy said. “My eyes were swelling up, I was absorbing all of this nuttiness.”

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“There were people weeping, visibly so upset by this one person,” she added. “And I think that’s why the manipulation worked, because to get to me this person would fire people I loved, which kept me quiet. It was very effective. Then one day, I was like, ‘It stops today!’ I just kept saying to them, it stops, it stops. And I know now I’ll never keep quiet again.”

McCarthy plays the sea witch Ursula in Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid.” It’s the Oscar nominee’s first big Hollywood musical. She’ll next return to comedy in a Christmas-themed movie for Peacock.

“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,” McCarthy told The Observer. “Comedy allows you to sit next to somebody whose ideas don’t match up. And maybe you come out a little closer. I think that’s what I’m supposed to be doing in this world.”

“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,” she added. “That’s the only skill set I really have. So I have to keep trying.”

“The Little Mermaid” opens in theaters May 26 from Disney.

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