So how did "Bridesmaids" come to be?
Well, I did a show in Australia that I wrote and produced also called "Bogan Pride" that was a musical. It was just a little show in Australia, but industry people saw it in America and so I came over and got representation at WME. In order to get the visa, you have to get a job offer. And I actually got offered "Party Down," that show that Lizzy's [Caplan] in.
Yeah, both Lizzy and Adam Scott from "Bachelorette" star in that show.
Yeah! I was going to play Ken Marino’s girlfriend. So you have to go back to Australia to get your visa. It's a whole mission. They don't let anyone work in America. I got the visa called "Alien of Extraordinary Ability," which is hilarious sounding. And so I went back and I called the Australian consulate, I’m like, "Former Youth Ambassador Rebel, can you like…"
But there was a system: someone at SAG has to watch your showreel. That’s one of the requirements. That and something else held up the time and I missed it by two days to come back and do "Party Down." I was like, "Nooo my first job! I may never get offered a job in American again." But soon after that, they got me auditioning and one was for "Bridesmaids." I went in and I improvised for like an hour.
With "Little Britain" star Matt Lucas, who plays your brother in the film?
No, he wasn’t there. Kristen [Wiig] had flown from New York and she was just there sitting on a chair. And I was late to the audition too and then Judd Apatow was there and Paul Feig, whom I loved from "Freaks and Geeks." And so I went in and I had prepared the Melissa McCarthy role. It was a stand-out role -- when you read the script, you’re like, "Oh my god, that role is excellent. Anyone who gets that is going to be shot."
They just had me improvise. Judd goes, "Tell Kristen about your love life. Go." So I just started talking to her and also being comic and stuff, to start formulating jokes. And they just kept me going… it was insane. I was like, what is going on? The next day, there was an email coming through saying, "We’re going to give that part to Melissa McCarthy but we’re going to add Rebel in and do this thing with Matt Lucas."
So, did they actually write a part for you and him based on your audition?
Yeah -- instead of one roommate, it was one male roommate, and then they added me.
You must have felt pretty honored.
Yeah, because Paul had written "Freaks and Geeks" and it was so good, it was really my style, that show. And then Judd of course, his movies -- we just watch them in Australia and go, "Oh, that’s so funny, that’s so modern." I remember thinking, "Wouldn’t it be so cool to be a part of that gang?" And then the first job I get is with them.
The pairing of you and Matt together was so perfect. You seem to share similar comic sensibilities.
He’s British but bizarrely people thought I looked a little bit like his character in "Little Britain" because I love wearing tracksuits. It's weird and coincidental that we get to play brother and sister.
Since "Bridesmaids" you haven't stopped working.
Yeah, I’ve got six movies coming out this year, which is really good.
"I pick up the roles other actresses don’t want."
In "Bachelorette" you play the character who dramatically anchors the film, a total departure from your breakout role.
Usually, I’d be the crazy, zany sort of character. When I read the script, I actually wasn’t too sure because there were some really dark bits. In the original script, Becky was bulimic. I loved everything but I'm not that sane and don’t know whether I could play a character that glamorized bulimia. She had this big speech about how awesome it was. Thankfully, it got cut.
Of the films you have coming up, which one are you most exciting to share with your fans?
"Pitch Perfect," I think.
Do you sing in it?
Yeah. Jason Moore the Broadway director directed it. He did "Avenue Q." He ’s really funny. And my character in that is called Fat Amy.
I know, I pick up the roles other actresses don’t want [laughs]. When there’s movies where there are two sisters and one’s the uglier sister, there’s always no actress that wants to go for it. I’m like, why not! They’re the best roles!