July 22, 2011

Kristen Wiig in BRIDESMAIDS

Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her closest friend, Lillian, and a group of colorful bridesmaids-Helen, Rita, Becca and Megan-on a wild ride down the road to matrimony.

Annie's life keeps coming up short. But when she discovers her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian's maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie dives into all of the required rituals as she gets to know the other ladies in the bridal party, including one particular rival (Helen) who is perfectly poised to fulfill all the duties that Annie struggles through. As she brings Lillian's bridesmaids along on an escalating series of disasters, Annie realises the person who knows her the best has introduced her to four strangers who will shake up her life for good.

What is BRIDESMAIDS about?

My character Annie goes through a little bit of self reflection and a little bit of a breakdown when her best friend gets married. It doesn’t help that the other people in the wedding are people that she feels she should be like. From the engagement to the wedding, they all go on a journey together.

What would you say was the most challenging scene for you in the movie?

Probably the airplane scene. Just knowing that I had to act like I was under the influence… That’s such a challenge for me because I’ve never really played drunk or high before. It had to look real and I was trying not to make it too silly. I had to make it seem real and had to do it in front of 40 extras, time after time. I didn’t really know what I was going to be doing that day, so I was the most nervous for that scene.

How long did it take before your dream of making BRIDESMAIDS into a movie, become a reality?

My writing partner and I started writing it over four years ago. After I did KNOCKED UP with Judd Apatow as a director, he asked me to write something that he could produce. I had always written with Annie. At The Groundlings (stand up theater in LA), we wrote a lot of stuff together. She was just the first person I thought of and I was like, ‘Do you want to write this with me?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been thinking of ideas. What about this thing where you are a bridesmaid and your best friend gets married, but it focuses sort of on your life falling apart, while you are trying to be happy for her.’ We also pulled from some of the experiences she had in weddings. We just kind of started there.

Was it an easy process?

We wrote the original script pretty quickly, mostly, because we had never written a movie before. We thought you just sit down and write it, and turn it in a week later. I think we literally worked on it for six days, and then sent it to Judd (laughs). He was like, ‘What is this?’ (laughs) We were like, ‘We are done; are we shooting it?’ That was over four years ago. So we definitely did a lot of rewrites and table reads, but the hardest thing was taking things out that you really like. Judd was right to warn us about how sometimes you can’t be too attached to things in the script, because if they don’t help the story, you’ve got to just let them go. We did get pretty good at that, but even then, it’s hard.

What scene would come to mind if you had to choose one clip from the film?

I would say one of my favorite scenes is when Rose Byrne and I are giving the speeches at the engagement party. Just that idea of wanting to have the last word, it’s kind of where I realized how close these two girls are. That was one of our earlier days in the shooting schedule, and it was one of the first days that we really got to play. I just remember thinking that night, this is going to be really fun.

Is it easier than people would think when it’s a bunch of girls together?

No, I guess in some situations. It would depend on the girls, but in this situation, the whole thing was a dream. We genuinely love each other and we still talk all the time. I mean, we got really close on this movie. We were so lucky.

How similar are you to your character?

I think there are definitely similarities between me and my character… I’ve probably dated a guy in my past that maybe I shouldn’t have (laughs). I think most women have dated that guy that they know doesn’t really feel the same way, but for some reason you just stick it out a week longer than you should. I have definitely related to her struggling financially, and being in a job that you know is not where you want to be.

Why should the audience go and watch BRIDESMAIDS?

I think you’ll laugh and a lot of the humor in it is pretty universal. You also get to see Jon Hamm from Mad Men with his shirt off…

That’s a seller!

Right? I think it has a lot of heart. Ultimately, it’s about female friendships, and I think that anyone can relate to that. It’s good for guys too and I think they will enjoy it as well.

Why do you think guys should go and watch BRIDESMAIDS with their wives or girlfriends?

I think for the same reason why girls enjoy comedies with guys starring in them. I think that sometimes funny is just funny and I don’t think that guys should stay away from it because it has women in it. It’s not going to be a bunch of jokes about women getting their periods and stuff. It’s just funny. It’s about real life, and I think there are definitely themes in the movie that guys will like and relate to as well…and there is puking in it (laughs).

We know that Jon Hamm can be funny. Did you have to persuade him to say yes to the project?

Well, we told him about it and I’m not sure if he read the whole script or not. He knew that there would be a lot of improvising. Jon knows Judd and we’ve known each other for a while, so I’m just grateful that he said yes (laughs).

What was the environment like on the set?

When we were on set shooting, it was us having fun, improvising, and having a good time. The work came before we started shooting, between scenes, and at the end of the day when we had to do rewrites and outlines for scenes…Ultimately, we did a lot of rehearsal beforehand and so when we started shooting, it wasn’t even like work. It was just like hanging out with your girlfriends all day. I hope I get to experience that again. It was really fun.

Did you spend time with your cast mates when you were not shooting?

A: Yes, we did, we spent a lot of time together. We all went out before we even started filming. We rented a party bus and went to a male strip club in LA… And then we went to a bar after that. It was the most fun night that I’ve had!

What’s a party bus?

A party bus is a large bus, you have a driver, and there are seats all around the perimeter with lights, drinks, and music. It’s basically like a room inside of a bus, and you just drive around. So we went to a male strip club and it was hilarious! It was amazing! It was so different than when a guy goes to a strip club.

Did you go onstage?

No, oh wait, actually I did go onstage (laughs). At the end of the show, you can go up and get a mini lap dance. But it’s so not the same ambiance as a strip club with female dancers, because here, we were laughing and screaming the entire time. The strippers were dressed up like the guys from TOP GUN or THE MATRIX, and it was a full show. It’s not full nudity or anything like that, it’s more of a performance.

So was the idea to bond before you started filming?

Exactly. It was such a great way for all of us to get to know each other too. Just being on the bus was so much fun, because we were all just talking, dancing and drinking. It was a great way to kick off the summer.

Have you kept in touch with everyone since the end of filming?

Oh yeah, all of them. In fact, we all just did a photo shoot together. It was the first time we were all together since shooting. We did the shoot and then immediately hung out afterwards because we wanted to see each other. We are all really good friends. I’m happy to say that they all had a good time shooting the film. At least that’s what they told me. It means so much to me to hear from them that it was a very welcoming and nurturing environment, and that they felt safe, it was just fun, and it didn’t feel like work. For me, that’s the biggest compliment I can get.

What would surprise people about you?

Probably that I’m a little quieter than people think I am, socially. I think people do have the perception that if you are on SNL (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) or if you are a comedic actress, that you are just always on all the time. I do find that some people sometimes look at me, like, ‘are you the same person?’ (laughs)

Are people expecting you to be funny?

Yeah, that happens a lot, in interviews especially. They kind of expect you to be telling funny stories, joking and talking in different voices. In a way you feel like you are disappointing them. I’m pretty quiet and I don’t go out that much, (laughs), but that’s just who I am.

Your last name, Wiig, is Scandinavian. Do you have close family there or is it from way, way back?

Yeah, it’s pretty far back. I have some Viking blood from Norway. That’s all I know (laughs).

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