Kristen Wiig plays a thirtysomething professional who is in a personal and romantic slump in “Bridesmaids.”
Suzanne Hanover, Universal Pictures
'Bridesmaids' is a bit sad and a bit real, Wiig says
- Article by: Colin Covert
- Star Tribune
- May 12, 2011 - 3:52 PM
Like a slalom skier, Kristen Wiig has avoided all the traps and pitfalls Hollywood puts before funny actresses. She has avoided the painful alleged romcoms that besmirch many a résumé, earning a reputation as a fine character actor with brilliant cameo appearances rather than pursuing ill-conceived starring roles. With appearances in raucous guy comedies, and five years of playing strange, silly characters on "Saturday Night Live," she has endeared herself to the crucial male demographic. She is, in short, the anti-Heigl.
Now, as the star, co-writer and co-producer (with Judd Apatow) of the smart, raunchy female buddy comedy "Bridesmaids," Wiig appears to be on the cusp of a breakthrough. On a recent stop in the Twin Cities to publicize the marriage comedy, Wiig said that much of "my poor, poor character" was observed from real life or improvised on the spot.
Apatow encouraged Wiig to create a script for herself after her brief, indelible cameo as a backstabbing TV executive in "Knocked Up." She and writing partner Annie Mumolo delivered their first draft four years ago, and have been coaxing it through the production process ever since.
Wiig plays Annie, a thirtysomething who's in a professional, personal and romantic slump. She is drafted as maid of honor for a friend engaged to a rich guy. The script is full of spot-on gags, from the eye-searing thrift-shop tennis outfit Wiig wears to the country club, to her frugal girls' night of wine and magazines -- party planning on the cheap. "That's what girls do," she said, "they don't just go shoe-shopping."
While the humor can be very broad -- there is an outrageously scatological scene after a tainted bridesmaids' lunch -- much of it is rooted in bittersweet, recognizably human envy and pettiness. "You have to think that you're watching real people. If you're watching someone try not to get sick in a bridal shop it strikes a different funny chord if you think that's a real human being," Wiig said. "Truth is funnier than a written punch line."
Although Wiig is a fearless performer while in character, she verges on shy in conversation."I very much relate to the part of Annie that is lost and doesn't know what she's going to do with her life, and is surrounded by people who look like they have everything together. For a woman in her 30s, that's really common. No matter what you look like on the outside, or what you have," she said, "maybe someone who looks like they have it all cries in their empty bathtub every night."
On some level, Wiig said, her painfully funny new comedy "is kind of sad. It was always important to me to have a little drama in there. It's about a friendship changing, which can seem like a breakup. The challenge was having those scenes where you tear up a little bit, and then someone says something that makes you laugh."
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