Melissa McCarthy plays forger Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me? trailer

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

If you're only used to the Melissa McCarthy from BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT, TAMMY, and THE BOSS, then you'll likely be quite surprised with the more dramatic turn she takes in CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, a biopic based on the true story of Lee Israel, a struggling author who turned to forgery in order to pay the bills. During the 1970's and 80's, Israel had made her living writing biographies of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder, and Dorothy Kilgallen, but after falling out of step with current tastes and finding that she can no longer get published, Israel turned to forging letters from deceased writers and actors, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant).

Director Marielle Heller spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the film and said that although she diligently researched Israel’s life, she's not about to call her film a biopic. "There are pitfalls to biopics that are hard to get away from," Heller said. "There’s an expectation that you’re doing a certain amount of journalistic storytelling that’s going to give an exact play-by-play showing someone’s entire life from cradle to grave. This does none of that." Heller added that she enjoys telling stories about "women who would otherwise be [ignored]," and Melissa McCarthy's take on Lee Israel certainly fit the bill. "[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," explained Heller.

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? is set for a October 19, 2018 release.

Source: Fox Searchlight

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.