Time Out São Paulo

Kristen Wiig: interview

The co-writer and star of 2011's funniest film talks to Time Out

Take the raunchy, scatalogical, male-centric humour of The Hangover or any Judd Apatow flick – but make the central players all women. The hilarious result is Bridesmaids, whose US run this year enjoyed both critical and box-office success – and skyrocketed the profile of its star and co-writer Kristen Wiig. In Bridesmaids, the Saturday Night Live favourite gradually, and spectacularly, loses it as Annie, maid of honour for best friend Lillian, played by fellow SNLer Maya Rudolph. We caught up with the comedienne-turned-actress to find out more about the film.

Judd Apatow’s films, both those he directs and those he produces, mostly concern men, which is no secret. Bridesmaids feels like an Apatow comedy, but about women. Did you and your co-writer, Annie Mumolo, ever have that in mind?
No, not really. When we wrote the movie, we didn’t say specifically what kind of movie we wanted it to be, or even the tone. We just sat down and wrote something that we thought would be fun to make and that had good, juicy roles for women.

Was there ever a sense that ‘chick flicks’ have certain kinds of storylines and you wanted to do something different?
No – I mean, I don’t really consider it a chick flick.

No, we don’t either – that’s why we’re asking.
Oh good, okay. Again it wasn’t really in response to anything else. No scenes were written with the mindset of, ‘Oh, this has never been written before. Let’s do that.’ It really was just sitting in Annie’s apartment and typing for 10 hours a day and laughing and, you know, just writing.

You both wrote and acted in the movie, so what about the autobiographical underpinnings? Did your own bridesmaid experiences inform the story?
For me, not so much. I haven’t had that many nightmarish experiences. Annie more so than me, so some of the ideas and themes we drew from were either things that have happened to her or just stories that other women have told her. But there’s nothing specific in the movie that actually happened to us.

What kind of experiences or stories did you draw on?
A big part of a wedding is the financial obligation, and that’s something that people don’t really talk about. But if you’re asked to be part of a wedding, you’re gonna have to fork out some cash. A lot of the time the bridesmaids dresses are decided and they just tell you how much it’s gonna cost – sometimes you get an email saying what’s happening and ‘please contribute X amount of money’. Annie was a bridesmaid at a wedding and couldn’t afford to go to the bachelorette party weekend. They were going away for the weekend and it was like, ‘Well, okay, everyone needs to pay X amount because we’re paying for the bride and then we’re going to the spa and then we’re going to shows.. And she’s like, ‘I can’t do this; that’s a huge chunk of change.’

But you’ve avoided that kind of thing?
I have to say I’ve been lucky. The weddings I’ve been involved in have been pretty mellow.

Have you been a maid of honour?
I was when my mum got remarried, but that doesn’t count because I didn’t take her to a strip club or anything, which would’ve been funny. Other than that, I’ve just been a regular bridesmaid.

How would you describe your friendship with Annie?
It’s just easy. I’ve been friends with her for 10 years. We’ve been writing this movie for almost four and a half years. I don’t think we’ve ever been in a fight. We have our own language.

You guys met in LA-based improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings…
Yeah, we did, and we wrote a lot in The Groundlings, so when this project came about I called her and was like, ‘Do you want to write this with me?’ [Laughs]

So the project came to you, then.
Yeah, from Judd [Apatow]. After I did Knocked Up, Judd asked me if I wanted to write something starring myself, and he said, ‘You can write it by yourself, you can write it with a friend, whatever you want.’ So I called Annie. It was her idea, so we wrote a little outline and some ideas and pitched it to him, and he just asked us to go write it.

Your co-star, Maya Rudolph, is one of the funniest people we’ve interviewed.
She’s hilarious. Casting that character was important because the movie really is about our friendship, and you had to believe that these two people finish each other’s sentences. I immediately clicked with Maya when we worked together on SNL, and we became even closer during the shooting of Bridesmaids.

It wasn’t even like work. If you got married, who would you want as your maid of honour?
Maybe my mum, so I could return the favour. But I would make her take me to a strip club. [Laughs]

Is marriage on the cards for you?
Uh, not at this time. I’m in a relationship and we feel like we’re married, but we don’t feel the need to go through with a ceremony.

Read the review of Bridesmaids

By Novid Parsi
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