Posted June 7, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features
 
 

Bridesmaids Interview


The highly anticipated Bridesmaids hits the screens on Friday 24 Jun. Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, the film

The highly anticipated Bridesmaids hits the screens on Friday 24 Jun. Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, the film is centred around Annie (Wiig) and Lillian (Rudolph) are best friends since childhood.
When Lillian gets engaged she asks Annie to be her Maid of Honour but
her broke and down on her luck friend struggles with the
responsibilities required and fumbles through the organisation of dress
fittings, bridal showers, and hen party hijinks. Facing fierce
competition from Lillian’s new friend Helen, an organiser par
excellence, Annie is forced to confront her problems if she is to turn
her own life around and give her friend the perfect wedding. Alasdair Morton went along to meet the cast and crew to talk about the film.

There have been many comedies about weddings, what were
the things you wanted to avoid?

Kristen Wiig: When we
were writing it we really didn’t think about any other movies. We didn’t watch
any ‘wedding’ movies, we just wrote what we wanted to write. The film wasn’t
written in reaction to anything.

Paul Feig: Most
wedding movies are about the wedding, and there’s not really much you can tell
about a wedding so you have to amp up all of the emotions and so on. What I
liked here is that it is really a story about a woman going through a terrible
time in her life and this duty of maid of honour just throws it all off. What
the wedding does is bring together a bunch of characters who wouldn’t normally
be together.

It’s a project that has been hanging around for a while –
did it feel like a real collaboration?

Kristen Wiig: The
collaboration started at the very beginning, we worked with Judd and then Paul
came along and it was all very collaborative, there was never anyone telling
anyone ‘take this out’ or anything like that. And then when the cast came along
it was sort of the same thing, we were all comfortable playing our characters
and improvising. Annie (Mumolo, co-writer) and I didn’t swear by every word in
the script, we wanted people to feel comfortable.

How much room was there for improvisation?

Paul Feig: The script
has to be a very strong blueprint for emotional story as well as for comedy.
You can never just go in to a scene and say ‘Hey, let’s see what happen.’ It
was more “Here’s a scripted version that is great anyway now you guys can go
and play with it, and make it your own.” A lot of romantic comedies are very
scripted and very written and so it doesn’t feel ‘in the moment’ so even by tweaking lines it feels like people are actually having a
conversation and they can surprise each other.

Are you accustomed to working like that?

Kristen Wiig: I’ve never had that sort of freedom before…

Paul Feig: It’s a
style that Judd brought in to movies, because it is what we play around with on
television, and it keeps the freshness and surprise, for the performers and for
the audience.

Did you have that experience from working in TV, Chris?

Chris O’Dowd: No, not
really, and it is because Americans have so much more money! What I liked about
this project was that it was a really great script and it wasn’t improvising
for the sake of improvising, and so we got the script and did a little improv –
Kristen is the greatest improv I have ever worked with – then you go back to
the script and try and make the script better using the improve you have got,
rather than it being an either or.

With so many people involved, was there any competition?

Paul Feig: When you
work with real comedy professionals it should be chaos but it’s not, because
everyone knows what they’re to do, their timing, when to back off and when to
go forward. So my job is to stay out of the way and not interfere with that
natural rhythm because there is nothing worse than a director that cuts in all
the time. It throws it all off so all I would do is sit back and say ‘maybe try
this or…’ My job’s to steer the ship as it is going along, and it is much easier
if you have the right people.

Kristen Wiig: It’s
chaos of you have people with different goals, and I think we all had the same
goals.

Paul Feig: I have
worked with competitive comedy people and it is usually because someone is
trying to showboat. But what we found in the improv is that you are so reliant
on the other person that if you’re shutting them down it is only hurting you.
It was more like ‘Oh, remember that bit you did? Do it and I’ll set you up for
it.’

Who are your comedy heroines, Kristen?

Kristen Wiig: I
watched a load of old movies when I was younger, I was obsessed with Abbot and
Costello and Dean Martin, and typically a lot of the women that have been on
Saturday Night Live.

And what were the sex scenes with John Hamm like to shoot?

Kristen Wiig: Well, if I say they were a lot of fun
then I sound like a great big perv, but honestly we laughed through the whole
thing. Paul made me laugh, he was shouting out things for him to do to me. We’d
write everything out on paper first, it wasn’t really like ‘OK, now what do we
do?

Paul Feig: It was
like choreographing the world’s hardest fight scene…

Did any real life weddings you had been to serve as
inspiration for of influence the film?

Melissa McCarthy:
There is this one, and I had totally forgotten about until Paul was telling a
story the other day. Someone had a wedding in Palm Springs, and Kristen was
there…

Kristen Wiig: Yeah, I
was actually in the wedding…

Melissa McCarthy:
That’s right, and Palm Springs is like, the centre of the sun and she had [this
wedding] in August…it was 115 degrees, at 1pm in the afternoon! Mid-ceremony
people were cracking open bottles of water and pouring them over themselves,
over their head. It got to the point where it was like “I don’t even care if it
works out.” Kids were going down. And I was worrying and thinking ‘If I pass
out, please don’t let me wet my pants.’

Chris, have you suffered the romantic frustrations of
your character?

Chris O’Dowd: Oh
yeah, yeah. A lot of women…being really unimpressed… is something that I grew up with. And something I lived with
on a daily basis…

And how do you find being referred to now as a sex
symbol?

Chris O’Dowd: The sex
symbol thing is so fleeting, I can’t wait to play like a bald monk next. And
really, if John Hamm had tried like only 10% to get the girl, he would have!

When you read the script Rose, you wanted to play ‘the
bitch’…

Rose Byrne:
Initially, I was going for ‘Lillian’ and I said to them “What about Helen?”
They said, “You wanna have a crack at the bitch…” and I said ‘Yeah’. And they were very kind and let me
audition for both.

Paul Feig: It was
important for all of us that the character didn’t become the arch villain,
because that is where these movies fall apart, with all the cat-fighting and
all of that. And also, Annie is at this point in her life where she is grafting
some of her own angst onto Helen.

Was your character’s outfit your own idea Melissa?

Melissa McCarthy: The
first time I read the script I had that exact image of her. There were all of
these clothes, in different varieties, but I just kept begging for cropped
dockers and a lumberjack shirt. Which was not a good idea visually – it was not
a good look!

Was there any real life inspiration for the film,
particularly for some of the over the top scenes like the puppies at the bridal
shower?

Kristen Wiig:
Thankfully, not much of what happened in the movie actually happened to me. A
couple of things touched on things that had happened to my writing partner
Annie (Mumolo – who plays the nervous women sat next to Annie during a scene
where the girls fly to Las Vegas). And the shower was actually really fun for
us to write because we had to have this over the top bridal shower scene and so
we were thinking ‘What are we going to do?’ and that’s how the puppies came
along. And it is also a really bad gift to give to someone, without asking them
first.

What about the opening sequence, where Annie gets stuck
on the security gate?

Kristen Wiig: I don’t
know really, that was just another humiliating thing that we thought of. But I
think every woman can all relate to the walk of shame!

Where are you at with the sequel?

Paul Feig: There has been no official talk, but it would be a
crime not to reassemble an amazing team like this. But we would only do it if
we could make it as good as or better than the first one, because there is
nothing worse than a sequel that lets everyone down.

Bridesmaids is out on UK theatrical release on Friday 24th Jun.


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.