SNL's Wiig hopes to show that women can be as raunchy as men

Kristen Wiig and Wendi McLendon-Covey
Kristen Wiig and Wendi McLendon-Covey put on their game faces for a "Bridesmaids" press junket in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr

The movie star life can be a real grind. Not so much the moviemaking, but the movie-selling.

Just ask "Saturday Night Live" star Kristen Wiig.

It's early morning when Wiig and one of her Bridesmaids co-stars, Wendi McLendon-Covey, slip into a conference room at KARE-11 TV in Golden Valley. There's exactly 10 minutes for the interview. Two other journalists wait outside for their 10.

Welcome to the glamorous world of movie publicity.

As they sit down they admit they have been traveling so much they only got five hours sleep the night before.

They're here to talk about the movie, which Wiig also co-wrote.

They were all business.

"You saw the movie?" Wiig asked. "Just wanted to make sure. Sometimes people can't."

"We've encountered a people who have not," McLendon-Covey interrupted. "They've not done their homework, is what we are saying, as reporters," she laughs.

Everyone is laughing, but the publicity drive behind "Bridesmaids" is no joke.

The movie stars Wiig and her former SNL colleague Maya Rudolph. It's directed by Paul Fieg and produced by Judd Appetow, the name behind a bushel of high-grossing movies in recent years including "Knocked Up," "40 Year-old Virgin" and "Pineapple Express."

However, those were all "guy" movies. "Bridesmaids" is all about, well, bridesmaids.

It's the story of a how Annie, played by Wiig, tries to fulfill the duties of maid of honor for her best friend, Lillian, played by Rudolph.

Wiig admitted it's complicated to explain.

"Cause, in one way, I want to talk about my character and all the stuff she is going through," she said. "And then you want to talk about how it is to lose a friend or feel like you are losing a friend, and then there's the whole bridesmaids side of the story, and all the stuff we get into. So, yeah, it's kind of hard to explain in a way."

In other words, it's kind of like real life for many women -- if you're life is filled with comedians bridesmaids. But then McLendon-Covey adds an important detail.

"It's not a chick flick," she said.

In recent years, chick flicks -- movies as seen as aimed at women -- haven't done well at the box office. Wiig and her team faced the challenge of making a film which will tell the female story she wanted to write, but lure the all-important teenage male demographic that is the lifeblood of movie theaters.

And that is where improv came in. While the cast followed the script, they also re-shot almost everything as improvisation. On the first day Wiig and Rudolph did a scene in a diner where they talked about their lives and loser boyfriends.

"You know what, he's honest. He told me we are what we are, and we are just having fun, and I like that," says Wiig as Annie.

"He also told you you needed dental work," Lillian replies.

Wiig smiles sweetly to reveal a huge piece of spinach in her mouth, which makes it look like she's missing three teeth.

"I don't need dental work," she says solemnly as Lillian sniggers.

"They just let us go, like all day," said Wiig. "We just tried to make each other laugh, and put food in our teeth, and it was really really fun."

"Bridesmaids" is filled with strong female characters and a host of strong male in support. There is also a healthy mixture of raunchy and scatological humor that will likely satisfy fans of "The Hangover."

For Wiig, it's been a very different experience from her weekly work of "SNL" sketches.

"You have four minutes to get as many laughs as you can, and you know when people are laughing because you can hear it," she said. "With making a movie, we would wrap every day and be like 'OK, I hope that worked.' We won't really know till we are sitting in a theater. You know, its a different muscle."

And that question will be answered when "Bridesmaids" opens nationwide this weekend.

The 10 minutes are up. As I leave the room, I said the movie appealed to one particular demographic -- the 50-year-old male critic.

McLendon-Covey shots back the demographic they are after is anyone who's alive.

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