Stephan Lee
October 28, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Comedy fans know Melissa McCarthy is game for anything to get a laugh, and her performance on the set of this week’s cover shoot was no exception. EW came up with the idea to picture the Bridesmaids and Mike & Molly star as Queen Elizabeth II, and McCarthy — who knows how to build upon a joke — suggested also posing as the Queen of Hearts. The 13-hour shoot with photographer Robert Trachtenberg was a lavish production, requiring a wig master, jewelry provided by Swarovski, and a corgi named Chloe, but McCarthy was a delight throughout. ”It’s a joyful thing when you get talent that’s amenable and gives you great ideas,” says EW photo editor Michele Romero. ”She did everything we wanted her to do and more.”

Melissa McCarthy photographed exclusively for EW by Robert Trachtenberg on Oct. 18, 2011, in Los Angeles

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