Wendi McLendon-Covey’s role in the Larry Charles-directed film Army of One brings new meaning to the term “supporting actress.” Her character, Marci Mitchell, stands by her boyfriend through his ridiculous—but kind of endearing—quest to find and capture Osama bin Laden. Portrayed convincingly by Nicolas Cage, Faulkner is a real person whose incredible story was publicized in a 2010 GQ article.
Here, we caught up with McLendon-Covey to chat about bringing this bizarre true story to the screen and the exciting project she has on the horizon.
How did you envision your character’s thought process? Why did she put up with Gary?
She probably lives a very lonely life because she takes care of her special needs niece. Her sister overdosing, that’s a big burden, to probably have to stop her whole life to take that on. So I thought outside of this small world she probably doesn’t have a lot of happiness, she doesn’t have a lot of time for herself and she just gets through it one day at a time. The fact that [my character and Gary] had gone to high school together, or something like that, I thought that was a fun jumping-off point. If there was already kind of a history, maybe she would be more inclined to go on this ridiculous journey.
What would you say if your husband in real life wanted to go on a quest like Gary Faulkner’s?
You know, my husband in real life is so practical that if he came up with something this outlandish I would know something was wrong – I would take him straight to the emergency room.
Did working with Larry Charles (“Seinfeld”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) live up to your expectations?
Yeah, he is really good with improvisers. He gets it. He doesn’t just talk the talk. Once we get it where emotions come across and the comedy comes across, and then that’s it. Edit as you go.
Is it true that you are writing your own show?
Yeah! I pitched a show along with Brian [Gallivan] to the ABC, and it’s based on the experience I had working at a hotel near Disneyland. Just far enough from Disneyland to be inconvenient, but ripe for comedy. We had a lot of interesting things happen there. It was just a little Ramada Inn, but our owners were trying to turn it into a destination resort but that’s not going to happen in industrial Anaheim. But boy did we try.