In Bridesmaids, Maya Rudolph’s Lillian is getting married and is faced with the task of choosing her own wedding party. She selects Kristen Wiig’s Annie as her maid of honor at the beginning of the film and then the audience is treated to the cast of comic crazies that are the Bridesmaids.
Maya Rudolph along with a few of those Bridesmaids — Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy — recently sat down to discuss their hilariously funny film and added their own insight into the madness that is the bridal party cast of characters.
Bridesmaids is one of those rare comedy films with no weak links. The comic chops of every player are impeccable in the story of one woman’s wedding and the mayhem that ensues simply by rewarding her friends with being in her wedding party. Rudolph, Byrne and McCarthy (who steals every scene she’s in) bonded over shared wedding stories and clue us into why Bridesmaids is so brilliant.
SheKnows: Do each of you have any unique bridesmaid stories from your past?
Maya Rudolph: I am part of a crazy bachelorette party story that’s actually sad. My girlfriend was getting married and we were going down to Baja. We had this whole trip to Mexico planned, and my girlfriend arranged the whole thing. She put in money for the place to stay and took care of the airplane, and everything. And then, my girlfriend, who was the bride-to-be, got so sick that she was on antibiotics and was instructed not to fly, but everything was already paid for, so we all had to go. So, we all went without her. We were all friends and we made a trip out of it, but we had presents with us that we didn’t give her, and nights planned. It was pathetic. She missed her bachelorette party, but she got married.
Rose Byrne: I’ve never been a bridesmaid, so I can’t answer that question [laughs].
Melissa McCarthy: I was only a bridesmaid for my sister, and it was very calm and small, so I didn’t have any tragedy. Somebody ripped their pants open at my wedding, dipping my mother. My mother is not a lady who throws herself into a dip that often, so I don’t think he thought she was really going to do it. She’s a very cute, quiet, Midwestern woman, and she had had a glass or two and threw herself into it. Somebody dipped her and ripped their pants out, so the rest of the night, somebody was busting a move with his panties out. It’s always tasteful.
SheKnows: Rose, we hear you originally auditioned for Maya’s role of the bride. What was it about playing the evil bridesmaid that appealed to you?
Rose Byrne: Yes, I originally went in for Lillian, Maya’s character. And then, I said, “Can I have a crack at Helen, please?” So I auditioned for both. Personally, I have several Helens in my life, who I’ve come across, so there was something so familiar about her and formidable. There was just something so delicious about her, on the page. Every time she came up, your skin would crawl. So, I asked if I could audition for her and they kindly said yes, so I feel lucky.
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The comic Bridesmaids balance
SheKnows: Now Bridesmaids pushes the envelope on the funny, how do you know as a comic when you are going too far? Like the bridal store scene…
Melissa McCarthy: You don’t want to see the whole thing [laughs]. In terms of threshold, as long as it’s based in reality, you can go pretty far, as long as you buy that it’s really happening. In this movie, the fact that we’re all horrified and embarrassed by what was happening, and at no time were we like, “Yeah, let’s enjoy it!” is what would really happen. All of those events could really happen. We always just wanted to make sure there was an element of reality. Then, things are just funnier.
Maya Rudolph: I don’t know my personal and professional cut-off for scatological dos and don’ts. I’ve done a lot of fake barf, in my time. I’ve had a lot of room temperature corn chowder in my mouth. That’s my go-to. When it comes to scatological humor, it’s best unseen and referenced to. Who really wants to see that?
SheKnows: Melissa, your character is so deep. And she’s not at all what you think. Is that what appealed to you about her?
Melissa McCarthy: Megan appears one way, from the start. It’s like, “Oh, God, it’s the crazy relative that I have to put in the wedding.” What surprised me was that she’s really competent. She’s probably the most together one out of all of them [laughs]. She loves what she does. She’s good at it and she knows it. She has relationships with men when she wants them. She likes her life and makes no qualms about it. Most people wouldn’t write that full of a character. I think it’s a really, really rare moment when you get to do a character that’s that fun, that interesting and that fully developed. I just hope that this movie is a game-changer for what women can do in comedy because I sure think it worked like a charm, with everybody in the film.
SheKnows: Did you have any say into her look? It was priceless.
Melissa McCarthy: I thought she still probably wore her confirmation pearls from her dad. I don’t know why, but in my head, that was it [laughs]. I also gave her really long acrylic nails, which don’t really show up in the movie, but they’re there. I always had a French tip [laughs]. I just thought she was incredibly utilitarian. I had just had a baby and I was like, “I should put me in a cropped Dockers with an athletic sandal,” which was just the worst idea ever. Because so many of us knew each other from the Groundlings, I just kept doing what I did there. I was like, “I look horrible in this. Give me a really unflattering belt.” And then, half-way through the filming I was like, “Oh, God, this is going to be on a large screen with no make-up.” [Laughs] I wanted her to look like Guy Fieri, from the Food Network. Right when I read it, I was like, “I think she dresses just like him.” That was my go-to.
Bridesmaids: A reunion
SheKnows: Maya, reuniting with the SNL team and some of your friends from the Groundlings, what was that like?
Maya Rudolph: Yeah, it’s like getting the band back together. For me personally, Melissa [McCarthy] and I actually go back further because we used to perform together at the Groundlings, back when we were young. And then, I thought I had just met Kristen [Wiig] at SNL, but the first time I met Kristen was at a mutual friend’s bridal shower at Melissa’s house, way back, ironically. When you know the people that you’re going in to play with, it’s the most fun. When you know them, it’s like artillery because you know who you’re going in with and you can set each other up. It’s so much fun! Getting to play at work with your friends is quite a luxury.
SheKnows: Now Melissa, the air marshal on the plane and you have such…
Melissa McCarthy: That’s my real-life husband, Ben [Falcone].
Melissa McCarthy: I just remember Judd [Apatow] on set one day saying, “You know who should play the air marshal? Ben. He doesn’t look anything like an air marshal.” 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 were like, “Oh, we’re also going to have your husband play the guy you accost on a plane,” and I was like, “This fun can never end!”
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