“The things you worry about now, they mostly won’t matter," Melissa McCarthy tells PEOPLE

By Dana Rose Falcone and Kate Coyne
March 01, 2018 09:00 AM

Between earning eight Emmy nominations for her turns on Saturday Night Live and Mike & Molly, and her scene-stealing Bridesmaids moments, Melissa McCarthy long ago solidified herself as one of Hollywood’s funniest talents.

Now she’s spending more time behind the camera, most recently directing a commercial for Walmart that will air during this year’s Oscars on ABC. In the 60-second ad (a longer version will run online), a woman opens a box and finds inside a portal to her past.

“If I could go back in time and tell my 10-year-old self anything, I would tell her: Don’t worry about what other people think, or about whether you’re doing what they think is the right thing,” McCarthy tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue of her new Walmart commercial. “The things you worry about now, they mostly won’t matter. So just follow your heart.”

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McCarthy in her Walmart ad
| Credit: Hopper Stone

The Gilmore Girls star has also gained some perspective since becoming the mom to daughters Vivian, 10, and Georgette, 7, whom she shares with her husband, actor Ben Falcone.

“I would tell my 16-year-old self, in a few years, you’re going to go nuts,” says the comedic actress, now 47. “Just be nicer to your mom and dad when you do.”

But she’s still learning in other ways. “I’m used to lengthening things, and to improv and ad libs,” admits McCarthy, who stars next in Life of the Party alongside her husband of 13 years. “So the real challenge was to do this in 60 seconds. I’ll always give you more; I’m not the gal saying, ‘Let me give you the shortest possible version of this.’ ”

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McCarthy took some pointers from Falcone, 44, to make the adjustment.

“I stole one technique from my husband Ben,” she reveals. “We’d do one take that was however we wanted, and then I’d say, ‘Now, let’s do the version that hurts our hearts.’ The one that maybe doesn’t include every last little bit you’d want to include, but which gets the job done in an economy of time.”

  • For much more on Melissa McCarthy, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The Illinois native ultimately appreciated working under the new time constraints.

“From now on, when I’m filming full-length features, I’m going to be looking at my watch going, ‘Come on, let’s go, this is taking forever! More dialogue? More scenes? Let’s go already!’ ” McCarthy jokes. “In all seriousness, it’s actually going to be a very good lesson for me, I think, to simplify, and get to the bare bones, the essence of a moment.”