What's With Melissa McCarthy's Tee in TAMMY?

Sometimes movies have a statement piece that kind of puts the movie over; makes it more memorable.  Like The Dude’s bath robe in The Big Lebowski, or those awful technicolor tuxedos in Dumb and Dumber.  In Tammy, McCarthy sports her own little outfit that helps to convey her lot in life, and the man behind that “mahalo t-shirt, Hugo Maldonado, talks more about the process:

On find out the shirt was going to be featured heavily in the film:

Extremely surprised. Originally, I just thought it was going to be worn for just a scene in the movie, which was cool by me. Later, Melissa and her husband, Ben Falcone, the director of

Tammy, told me it was a pivotal part in the movie and Tammy wears it throughout the film.

On working with Melissa:

First, let me just say she’s incredible to work with and I was very happy to have creative freedom when developing the Mahalo tee. I’ll always be grateful that Melissa McCarthy invited me to contribute to Tammy and to be able to work with her on an artistic level. I made artwork for her daughters in the past and she also owns some of my art. I also made a few logos for her business and some original designs for clothing. Next, she told me the she and Ben were making a movie

they had co-written called Tammy…

The idea was that Melissa’s head was to be the head of the animated character. She pretty much gave me free range to create a character for her. The character is a California bear on a Hawaiian vacation sipping on a coconut drink and wearing flip-flops. Once I showed her the final draft, she

was happy with it and that was that.

On the idea to use “Mahalo”:

Actually, we tried a bunch of different phrases for the bear character but ultimately she decided
that “Mahalo” was the best for the t-shirt. It’s kinda catchy!

I’m actually a fan of his art after checking out several pieces.  I can see why Maldonado’s so sought after.  Check out more of his pieces here.

Tammy hits theaters July 2nd.