Jason Bateman On Recruiting Melissa McCarthy For Identity Thief

While he’s had a string of comedies about guy pals in recent years, in “Identity Thief,” Jason Bateman is paired up with Melissa McCarthy — and it was all his idea.

“I, just like everyone else who saw ‘Bridesmaids,’ was just blown away by her and wanted to work with her immediately and the project that I had in front of me at the time was for two guys,” Jason told Access of helping to bring Melissa on board the new big screen romp. “It made sense to maybe change the thief into a woman and [I] talked to people who we we’re making it with [to see] if they’d be on board with that and they were very excited.”

In the film, Jason plays Sandy, a man whose life ends up in ruin after a sneaky woman named Diane (Melissa) steals his identity.

After tracking her down, Sandy and Sandy end up on a road trip back to his home base (they can’t fly because their IDs have the same name!) where he hopes Melissa’s Sandy character will come clean over her misdeeds, helping to repair the life of Jason’s own Sandy character.

Melissa called working with Jason “dreamy,” adding, “he was funnier and nicer and smarter than I hoped he would be, which was already pretty good.”

Filled with plenty of hilarity and physical comedy, “Identity Thief” does carry a message.

“That people aren’t all bad,” Melissa said. “Your actions don’t fully define you that you could change. I think that’s in there a little bit.”

“Well, she brought it home right there, didn’t she,” Jason said, impressed by Melissa’s summary. “She’s the best.”

“Identity Thief” hits movie theaters on February 8.

-- Jolie Lash

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