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BWW Interviews: Local Actor Hits Big Screen in TAMMY

Related: Tammy, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Sarah Baker, Rich Williams, Louisville, Kentucky, Todd Zeigler, Wilmington
BWW Interviews: Local Actor Hits Big Screen in TAMMY

This space is normally reserved for the shows and stars of local stages. But chances are that if you also watch a lot of TV, you've been seeing one of those local faces a lot lately.

Local stage and screen actor Rich Williams has been one of the featured faces in the commercials and promotional work for "Tammy," the new film from "Mike & Molly" star Melissa McCarthy, currently in theaters. Williams is Larry, the man behind the counter of the Topper Jack's fast food restaurant getting McCarthy's character apple pies at gunpoint in the commercials.

It's big exposure for the character actor who came to acting later in life and has been making the most of his second profession since jumping in 25 years ago.

Williams landed the role in the film, co-written by McCarthy and her husband, director Ben Falcone, through his representation in Atlanta. The production team was looking for local talent to film in Wilmington, N.C., and Williams made it through the audition process to put on the Topper Jack's uniform and visor.

Williams plays in the scene opposite McCarthy and Sarah Baker, an actress who recently received critical acclaim for her role in the FX comedy series "Louie," playing a character with a lot of brutal truth to share about the realities of dating as a plus-sized woman over 30. According to Williams, McCarthy and Baker actually pulled him a bit out of his comfort zone into the world of improvisation.

"Ben is a great writer," Williams said. "He wrote an outline, but he was also confident enough to let us (improv) - mainly Melissa, because she can ad-lib with the best of them - and I was a little afraid to do that at first, because I'm the new kid on the block.

BWW Interviews: Local Actor Hits Big Screen in TAMMY"In Wilmington, Melissa started ad-libbing a little bit and no one said anything," he said. "So I said, 'Well, I'll just try this one line.' I made up 'You can't shoot me! I'm a veteran!' They said 'Cut. let's shoot it again,' and I sort of nonchalantly asked 'Well, do you want to leave that in or take that out?' Ben said 'Leave it in. It's funny.'"

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Todd Zeigler Todd Zeigler is Artistic Director of The Alley Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, his home base for performing, writing, and directing. He is the "Stage Reading" local theatre columnist for The Voice-Tribune and voice-tribune.com.



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