In the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids, actress Maya Rudolph plays bride-to-be Lillian, who decides to make her lifelong best friend, Annie (Kristen Wiig), her maid of honor. That decision sparks a competition between Annie and the well-to-do Helen (Rose Byrne), who has the resources to make sure everything is exactly how Lillian’s heart desires, from the designer wedding dress to the ultra-expensive bridesmaids gowns to the extravagant reception. Stuck in the middle is Lillian’s future sister-in-law Megan (Melissa McCarthy), the nuclear engineer who couldn’t care less about the glitz and glamour of it all.
At the film’s press day, co-stars Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy talked about crazy memories from weddings they’ve attended, how far you can push humor without crossing the line, and how much they enjoyed working with director Paul Feig. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Here’s the synopsis:
Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) life is a mess. But, when she finds out her lifetime best friend (Maya Rudolph) is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals, often competing with rival Helen (Rose Byrne) to fulfill all of the wedding duties. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.
Question: This movie really dances on the line of scatalogical humor without being too graphic. What is your threshold for what you think is funny and how far you’re willing to go for a pay-off?
MAYA RUDOLPH: I don’t know my personal and professional cut-off for scatalogical do’s and don’t’s. 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 scatalogical humor, it’s best unseen and referenced to. Who really wants to see that?
MELISSA McCARTHY: You don’t want to see the whole thing. I don’t know. 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, in that order. We always just wanted to make sure there was an element of reality. Then, things are just funnier.
Do you have any favorite funny or crazy memories from your own weddings, or from weddings that you attended as a bridesmaid or a guest?
ROSE BYRNE: I’ve never been a bridesmaid, so I can’t answer that question.
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.
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.
Rose, what was the role you originally auditioned for, and why did you want to play the bitch?
BYRNE: Well, Helen is not a bitch, really. 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. There was just something so delicious about her, on the page. Every time she came up, your skin would crawl. Personally, I have several Helens in my life, who I’ve come across, so there was something so familiar about her and formidable. So, I asked if I could audition for her and they kindly said yes, so I feel lucky.
Melissa, can you talk about the journey for your character and the revelations that the audience gets about her?
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.” I love that Annie [Mumolo] and Kristen [Wiig] wrote a character that seems that way, and then, as she develops, what surprised me was that she’s really competent. She’s probably the most together one out of all of them. 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. You’d get the crazy woman that’s like, “She eats flowers,” or “She only eats crackers.” There would be some bizarro thing and you wouldn’t learn about what she does or where she works or what her family is like. They let us explore all of those things. I said, “I wish that I went to Annie and just said, ‘God, you’re being a dick. You’re just blowing it,’” and then they put that in. I think it was such a nice balance to see that, even though she is so competent and she’s a force to be reckoned with, it comes from somewhere and she has a sensitive side too. 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 ‘cause I sure think it worked like a charm, with everybody in the film.
How did you determine Megan’s butch look, but with the pearl necklace?
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. 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. I just thought she was incredibly utilitarian. I had just had a baby and I was like, “I should put me in a cropped docker with an athletic sandal,” which was just the worst idea ever. Because so many of us knew each other from The Groundlings, I juts 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.” 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.
Maya, do you enjoy getting to reunite with Saturday Night Live alumni?
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 and Melissa’s house, way back. When you know the people that you’re going in to play with, it’s the most fun. I knew that character was in Melissa, so seeing it, when I get to watch it, is like a delicious meal. You know what your friends can do. The best way to play with each other is when you’re improvising or you’re part of an ensemble, which is really what sketch comedy and improv is about. It’s about everybody’s ingredient making the best possible dish. And, 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! We all got to know each other’s characters when we were rehearsing because there was a lot of improv that ended up in the movie. We knew each other’s characters well enough that we could play with them and set each other up. It’s the most fun. Getting to play at work with your friends is quite a luxury.
Melissa, can you talk about doing the scenes between Megan and the air marshal on the plane?
McCARTHY: That’s my real-life husband, Ben [Falcone]. I just remember Judd 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 can never end!”
How did you guys find the experience of working with Paul Feig, as a director?
RUDOLPH: He was a good match for all of us. He’s such an appreciative guy. He’s an actor as well. He comes from the same type of background that a lot of us do, and he’s genuinely a fan of good, funny things and wants it to be good. He was right there, cheerleading alongside us, for everything.
McCARTHY: I’ve never had anyone be that creatively encouraging and just so kind. He’s such a remarkably kind man and, to be that smart and funny, I just liked him a lot.
RUDOLPH: He’s really nice to look at, too.
BYRNE: And, he loves fashion.
McCARTHY: He always wears a suit.