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Kristen Wiig, Judd Apatow, Maya Rudolph & Paul Feig Talk Making The Female-Driven ‘Bridesmaids’

Kristen Wiig, Judd Apatow, Maya Rudolph & Paul Feig Talk Making The Female-Driven 'Bridesmaids'

We did it. We made it to May 13th. And now anyone with a nearby megaplex can head out and see the long awaited “Bridesmaids,” because this hilarious, heartfelt opening to the summer comedy season is totally worth those hard earned Andrew Jacksons. With a solid cast of some of the funniest voices in comedy from both sides of the gender line (that’s right ladies, Tim Heidecker makes an appearance), anyone with a sense of humor will find something to love about this movie.

Or maybe not. But we genuinely enjoyed ourselves and recommend giving it a shot. If it helps to convince you at all, following are some of the highlights from the “Bridesmaids” press conference a few weeks back, where we had the chance to hear insights on: how the project came together, barf, not eating crackers, male revues, being in your late twenties and more. “Bridesmaids”! This weekend! Have fun out there!

The Apatow crew has got the right idea. Include funny jokes in the trailer, but don’t use the same ones in the film so you actually have something to look forward to.
“That’s why a lot of trailers that you watch have lots of jokes that aren’t in the movie because we have this wealth of jokes,” director Paul Feig said.”But better that you get to see a new batch of jokes when you go see the movie.”

As simple as the title is, it did take careful consideration.
“To get the guys we were going to call it “Naked Boobs and Guns,’ Kristen Wiig quipped. “But we didn’t have either one of those things so we changed it. [But] we had a really hard time trying to think of the title, to be honest.” And Feig added, “We gave up. I think the feeling was it’s always going to play in previews that it’s about a wedding and it’s women, what we didn’t want to do is alienate the female audience by pretending that it wasn’t what it was.”

“Bridesmaids” features the last performance by the late Jill Clayburgh who plays Kristen Wiig’s mom in the film.
Wiig: Oh yeah, I mean I felt an honor the moment she signed on, she was just what you would think. She was a very maternal, nurturing spirit, she was also game for anything. There were times that she would say things and I would just start laughing, I’d be like oh my god I’m making Jill Clayburgh talk about motor boating, it didn’t end up in the movie, but it was amazing and I feel honored to have worked with her.
Judd Apatow: We took some dirty Jill Clayburgh jokes out because I just thought, that can’t be the last thing she says. That’s funny but that could be questionable. So she was the nicest woman, we were also influenced by her work and her acting style, because we appreciated the real naturalistic acting style and that movie was influential to what we were doing anyway before we even thought about having her in the movie. She was a great woman and awesome every day.
Feig: One of my favorite moments, it’s on the outtakes on the DVD when you go I can’t believe we’re making you say this, but then she goes, oh I love it, and she was so sincerely happy to be doing this kind of comedy that it’s a special memory for me.

Apatow doesn’t want to sound too pretentious, but he believes Paul Feig brought a Robert Altman-esque freewheelin’ dynamic to the picture.
Apatow: The acting is always very grounded and it’s about something emotional. These movies work best when there’s an emotional idea that someone is very passionate about, and then the comedy is built over something that has been figured out dramatically. What I like best when I watch the movie and watch Paul’s direction is that he just found a way to tell this story, and give them the ability to improvise and breathe, and some of the funniest things in the movie are these little pick-up lines after the punchline. There are some really sweet, connected things that you can tell happened on the set. It is a little bit of a Robert Altman way to approach the scenes, where you know what you want, but you just hope something else happens.”

The utterly gross, and utterly hilarious scene displaying the results of eating at a shifty Brazilian restaurant didn’t really phase any of these professionals.
Maya Rudolph: I’ve done a lot of fake barf in my time. I’ve put a lot of room temperature corn chowder in my mouth. A lot. I think when it comes to scatological it’s best to be unseen and referenced to because who really wants to see that?
Feig: That’s what’s so great about working with really funny women is vanity comes second and they’re just willing to do whatever makes it real and funny and they’re going to go for it and it’s just great.

For Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo, the personal experience they added to the film was less wedding hijinks and more the dynamic between friends as they grow-up
Mumolo: I think more our experiences came from the relationship and friendship stuff where you have… that dynamic between Annie and Lillian.
Wiig: And also having those people in your life that you feel are moving on to this great big, quote-unquote, normal life and you’re like ‘what’s wrong with me’ because being an actor and going to auditions and having odd jobs in my late twenties, early thirties and then going back to my hometown and visiting people that have houses and babies and cars and stuff and I was like, what’s wrong with me?

The air marshall in the film was really Melissa McCarthy’s husband.
McCarthy: I just remember on set one day Judd was giggling and said you know who should play the air marshal? Ben. He doesn’t look anything like an air marshal and watching me laughing I was like I hope you mean that, I really hope you mean that. And then they hired Ben. That was so fun to do. When I thought it couldn’t get any better they said oh we’re also going to have your husband accost you on the plane. This can never end!

Rose Byrne originally auditioned for the role of Lillian that eventually went to Maya Rudolph. Also, her character is not a bitch.
Byrne: She’s not a bitch, she has a heart of gold (Byrne stressed when a reporter asked) I went in for Lillian originally and then I said can I have a crack for Helen please and I auditioned for both. It was just fun because every time she came on the page your skin would kind of crawl and I personally have several Helen’s in my life that I’ve come across so there was something familiar about her and I asked if I could audition for both and they said yes.

McCarthy was glad that her character Megan wasn’t just “the crazy woman that eats flowers”
McCarthy: “I think that Megan appears one way from the start and she’s kind of like oh god it’s the crazy relative, that Mike’s character had to put in the wedding and I love that they wrote, that Annie and Kristen wrote a character that seems this way as she kind of develops, at least what I think the transition is that surprised me, was that she’s really confident, she’s probably the most together one out of all of them, she loves what she does, she’s good at it, she knows it, she has relationships with men when she wants them, she likes her life and makes no qualms about it. And then you know I think most people wouldn’t write that full character, you’d get the crazy woman that’s like she eats flowers or you know she only eats crackers. There’d be some like bizarre thing and it wouldn’t be like what does she do, where does she work, all those things they kind of let us explore and then I loved at the end when you know I think at some point we’re talking about it because the scene, when I bite Kristen in the ass, that wasn’t in there originally. And I feel like we were talking one time and I said I wish that I went to Annie’s character and I think I kept saying like I wish I said god you’re being a dick, like you’re just blowing it and then they put that in and I think it’s such a nice balance to see…even though she is so confident and she’s a force to be reckoned with. It comes from somewhere and she has a sensitive side to and I don’t know I think it’s just a really really rare moment when you get to do a character that’s that fun, that interesting and that fully developed and I just hope that this movie’s like a game changer for what women can do in comedy because I sure think it worked like a charm with everybody up here.”

Judd Apatow doesn’t think about or concern himself much with the Judd Apatow brand
Apatow: I don’t know I don’t think about it too much. I just think about what I’m interested in, what makes me laugh and what performers I’m working with. A lot of times it starts with performers. You know Kris and I had so much fun on “Knocked Up” and “Walk Hard” and I think who do I want to be around and talk to for a couple of years, because it takes a long time to make these movies, and a lot of debate. Even now I’m trying to cast a movie that I’m going to direct and a lot of it is just, you know who do you want to see everyday? Who personally makes you laugh. I never think in terms of the audience and what they expect. One because you try to do something different every time, you want to feel like you’re breaking some sort of new ground and challenging yourself.

Before filming, the female members of the cast had a bachelorette party of their own.
Mumolo: We took the cast and crew of women to the Hollywood Men.
Wiig: It’s a strip club.
Mumolo: All male revue.
Wiig: That’s better way to say it… but it’s a strip club. And we did that right before we started shooting, we rented a party bus and a went to a strip club.
Feig: And Judd and I stripped.
Wiig: They had themes like the fighter pilot guy and the firefighter and they invite a girl up and they revive because she’s hurt and she’s dying.
Apatow: The hairy Jewish comedy-writer guy.
Wiig: It starts out with him writing and he can’t figure out the title and he just whips his shirt off and takes a shower on stage and then he eats Fritos on the couch.

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