Melissa McCarthy almost had a run-in with the law, she reveals to PEOPLE and EW

By Nigel Smith
September 09, 2018 04:55 PM

Melissa McCarthy plays a con artist in her acclaimed new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? — which begs the question: Has McCarthy, 48, ever done anything illegal?

“I feel like I walked out of a store with something recently,” the actress revealed to PEOPLE and EW at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie just screened. “But I’m too lame because I noticed it and I went running back in and was like, ‘I stole this!'”

McCarthy, who received an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids, is back in contention this year for her performance as Lee Israel, a real-life once celebrated celeb biographer (she profiled the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead and Estee Lauder), who finds herself out of work as publishing tastes evolve. Unable to make a living doing what she loves, Israel turns to fraud, selling letters that she has forged that appear to have been written by deceased writers, playwrights and actors.

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The movie marks director Marielle Heller’s second big screen effort after 2015’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl, starring Kristen Wiig.

“I like telling stories about women who would otherwise be [ignored],” Heller told Entertainment Weekly of her two movies. “[Lee] wishes…. that she could have been a part of this great intellectual roundtable of people back in the day, but she finds herself living in the ‘90s where that culture is kind of dying and people don’t think writing books about Fanny Brice is interesting anymore…. we tried to tap into the essence of this woman who was very specific in her idiosyncrasies.”

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, also starring Jane Curtin, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, and Anna Deavere Smith, is set for release on Oct. 19.