Without question, MacGruber had an extremely disappointing weekend. Box office projections of $4.1 million make it the lowest grossing opening ever on a wide release for a film inspired by an SNL skit (It’s Pat and Stuart Saves His Family were both limited releases). However, two of its stars, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe, have plenty of other projects on the way that they updated us on this week (Bridesmaids, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Clown Girl, Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time). So, it makes sense to bring you that news, along with some funny anecdotes from their MacGruber press day.
Hit the jump for the full audio & highlights. There are spoilers ahead with those updates, along with Phillippe’s burgeoning comedy career, Wiig’s biggest fear upon joining Saturday Night Live & what The Hurt Locker would have been like if MacGruber was the main character.
Given the film’s big marketing push, you probably know the plot by now. Wiig and Phillippe play MacGruber’s partners in a desperate effort to stop the nuclear bomb plot of an arch-villain (played by Val Kilmer). The rest of it is pretty straightforward, so here are the highlights:
- Kristen Wiig’s look in the film varies from Heather Locklear to MacGruber to Leif Garrett (as a character named “Hoss”). The last suggestion made her laughingly say, “Oh my God, I haven’t heard Leif Garrett, but that, that’s good.” Though she admitted, “Hoss was probably the most ridiculous, so I probably had the most fun with that one. Just with the long, stringy hair … Although it was like 97 degrees when I was wearing the leather jacket and the boots.”
– Wiig didn’t have too many terrifying stunts in the film (she admitted a body double handled a big kick for her). However, scars on her elbows & fingers serve as a permanent reminder of a climactic scene where she jumped from an explosion. Wiig says she incorrectly dove straight forward (Phillippe compared it to “stealing second base”), while Forte and Phillippe chose more effective vertical leaps.
– Phillippe said his secret to avoid laughing during takes was to “inflict pain upon myself. (I) would dig my fingernail into my thumb or I would bite the inside of my cheek … That was really the only way, because (Forte) is a maniac, in the best possible way.” Wiig added later, “I bite the inside of my cheeks … Both of them, so I literally can’t smile.”
-Phillippe has several more comedy projects on the way. He said he is doing something for Funnyordie.com, will appear on an episode of the Comedy Central sketch show Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time (which the network just announced will debut in October) and is in talks to appear in a new Anna Faris comedy with the director of Ali G Indahouse (Mark Mylod is directing the Faris vehicle What’s Your Number? based on the Karyn Bosnak novel Twenty Times A Lady about a woman who hits her personally imposed lifetime sexual quota of 20 on a tryst with her boss and figures one of those partners could be her true love).
- On what other SNL sketches could be a movie, Wiig said, “All of them could be a movie, right? Anyone but Gilly (the subversive child who offers an insincere apology of ‘sorry’) ‘cause she doesn’t really talk.”
-Wiig gave up some key details on her plans for Monica Drake’s 2007 novel Clown Girl. She recently optioned the book for a film adaptation that she plans to write and headline. The book follows the title character in Baloneytown, a city so broke it uses drugs, balloon animals and rubber chickens to help the local economy. Clown Girl strives for success in the art world, but takes a series of high paid jobs that turn her into a “corporate clown” and start to border on prostitution. Wiig said it’s way too soon to give a production start date, but plans to write it herself and hopes “to work on it this summer and in the fall.” She said her agent suggested the book, because it felt “’so your style.’ It’s such an interesting book. It’s such interesting characters. It takes place sort of, not in this reality. And it’s not that funny and it’s kind of surreal and uncomfortable in parts … I just really loved the story and I really loved the character, so I hope I can do it justice.”
-Wiig shared an awkwardly comedic sex scene with Will Forte where he sweat profusely on her. She related, “As creepy as it sounds, he’s kind of like my brother, so it made it not as bad … It was so hot. We were in, like, satin sheets, which really don’t absorb anything … They kind of like, just turn to paper. And we were laughing and we didn’t know what we were doing. We were like, let’s try this and nothing was really planned out, really before we shot it.”
-We asked how different The Hurt Locker would be if MacGruber was the main character. Phillippe laughed, “It would be a lot shorter. I think the opening scene might have been the entire movie.” Wiig said “I can’t even imagine that scenario … I’m just picturing him walking down the streets (of Baghdad).” She didn’t think he’d wear the bomb suit, just “the vest, always. Vest and a plaid shirt. No matter what.”
– Phillippe was hesitant about his intimate scene with a piece of celery. He thought, “I wonder how tied to this moment, they are,” but relented once he saw how far Forte and Wiig were going on set to get a laugh. He added, “I’ve always wanted to be in this kind of movie. I love movies like Anchorman , like The Jerk … If you’re gonna be in that kind of film, you just kind of have to go for it.”
-We got an update from Phillippe on his reunion with The Way Of The Gun director, Christopher McQuarrie in The Stanford Prison Experiment. He said, “I think they’re just looking for a window to do it (because) it would all be in one location, obviously, so it’s something we could probably shoot in a couple of weeks, but there’s no start date set.” Phillippe also said McQuarrie “and I are developing a heist movie together (about) people in credit card debt, trying to get out of it by committing crimes.” He said it’s an original, not an adaptation.
-Wiig gave us some insight on Bridesmaids which she’s writing with Annie Mumolo of the legendary LA-based improv group, The Groundlings. SNL alum Maya Rudolph would co-star with Wiig for producer Judd Apatow. It’s about two friends who clash as they plan their friend’s wedding party. Wiig said, “We don’t have a Bridezilla … We started writing this movie a while ago and then, all of a sudden, there were all these wedding movies (27 Dresses, Bride Wars). And then, it became this thing to be, like, a ‘wedding movie.’ And then, we were like, ‘oh, should we change the idea?’ But it isn’t really a wedding movie. It’s really about, like, our friendship and there (are) a lot of really interesting characters in it. And we’re just trying to, like, make a funny movie that girls can enjoy as well as guys. And have a lot of talented actors in it … I’m really excited about it.”
– Saturday Night Live auditions normally include celebrity impersonations. Wiig said hers were: Drew Barrymore, Jane Pauley (“which was very current”), Megan Mullalley, Jessica Simpson and Bjork. Wiig never watched her audition tape, but recalls making up lyrics to “My Favorite Things” and singing the song as a nod to the Icelandic singer’s final scene on death row in Dancer In The Dark.
-Wiig says people rarely pitch her entirely new sketch ideas for SNL in public (“They may say, like ‘I have an idea for your character’”), but she welcomes them. The worst suggestion came from her father. She laughingly remembers him suggesting a sketch where someone orders a hot dog in a fancy restaurant.
-Wiig’s favorite SNL film is The Blues Brothers, but also really like Wayne’s World and Superstar (the 1999 movie based around Molly Shannon’s character of Mary Katherine Gallagher). Phillippe added that he thinks “there’s funny stuff in” The Ladies Man (the 2000 film featuring Tim Meadows’ character Leon Phelps). He finished with “I think ours is the funniest.” When pressed whether it was funnier than Wayne’s World, he said “I don’t know. It depends. Different time, I guess.” Wiig helped him by saying, “you can’t compare. One can’t be more funny than the other.”
-Phillippe said Val Kilmer jokingly sent threatening e-mails, in character, to Will (Forte) throughout the shoot. He couldn’t disclose what Kilmer wrote, because the messages were “unprintable things” about what he was going to do to MacGruber. They added that Kilmer came to set on days that he wasn’t working because he had so much fun. Plus, they shot close to Kilmer’s home in New Mexico.
-Finally, Wiig confessed, “My biggest fear when I started SNL was that I was gonna swear. ‘Cause whenever I drop something, I just, I just automatically, I swear a lot.”