Written by: Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig
Produced by: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend
Original release: May 13, 2011
World premiere: March 13, 2011 at the SXSW Music + Film Interactive Festival
Running time: 125 minutes
Kristen Wiig as: Annie Walker
Other cast: Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm, Chris O’Dowd
More information at IMDb.com
Annie’s life keeps coming up short. But when she discovers her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie dives into all of the required rituals as she gets to know the other ladies in the bridal party, including one particular rival (Helen) who is perfectly poised to fulfill all the duties that Annie struggles through. As she brings Lillian’s bridesmaids along on an escalating series of disasters, Annie realizes the person who knows her the best has introduced her to four strangers who will shake up her life for good.
Annie: We’re on the same page. I mean, I’m not looking for a relationship right now either. Let’s just say that, I just…whatever you wanna…I can do, you know? I’d rather just…I like simple. I’m not like other girls, like; ‘be my boyfriend!’ Unless you were like; ‘yeah!’. Then I’d be like; ‘maybe’.
Ted: But that’s not on.
Annie: I don’t want that either.
Annie: Lillian and I took Spanish together, in school. And so, I would just like to say to you, and to everyone here; ‘Gracias para vivar en la casa, en la escuelas, en el azul…markada. Tienes con beber en las Fortuasla?’ and gracias!
Annie: You read my diary?
Brynn: At first I did not know it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.
Annie: You’re really doing it, aren’t ya? You’re shitting in the street.
Annie: What are you guys talking about up her?
Helen: We’re going to a restaurant tonight, I know the owner.
Annie: You do? Ooh, Helen knows the owner… Big whoop.
Flight Attendant Steve: Coach passengers are not aloud here in first class. It’s policy. I’m sorry.
Annie: Oh, this is a very strict plane that I’m on. ‘Welcome to Germany! Auf wiedersehen, asshole.’
Annie: Catch you on the flipside motherfuckas.
Annie: It’s called civil rights. This is the ’90s.
Flight Attendant Steve: No it’s not. You’re in the wrong decade.
Annie: You are.
Annie: Help me I’m poor.
Annie: What kind of a name is ‘Stove’ anyway? What, are you like a kitchen appliance or something?
Flight Attendant Steve: No. My name is Steve and I’m a man.
Annie: You are a flight attendant.
Annie: What woman gives another woman a trip to Paris? Am I right? Lesbian!
Helen: Why are you smiling?
Annie: It’s just… it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you look ugly… and that makes me kind of happy.
Longtime friends Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo met years ago at The Groundlings, the Los Angeles-based improv troupe where they wrote sketches with one another. Wiig recalls: “Annie and I went through the company around the same time, and we found each other to write together. We’ve always written so smoothly that there’s never any ego, and we’ve never fought over anything to be in or out of a script. It’s a great creative relationship where we respect each other. She’s one of my best friends.”
After her breakout cameo role in producer Judd Apatow’s second film, Knocked Up, the popular Saturday Night Live actress was asked to try her hand at another side of filmmaking. Apatow appreciated her unique comedy style and wanted to see what else she was capable of onscreen. Wiig explains: “I was approached by Judd to write a script, so I called Annie and asked if she wanted to do it with me. She had this idea that she had talked about before, and said, ‘Let’s write it out.‟
Apatow discusses his involvement in the project: “Every time we do a movie, I always think, ‘Who stole some of their scenes? Could any of these people star in their own movie?’ After Knocked Up, I thought Kristen deserved to be the lead of a movie. I asked her if she had any ideas, and she came back to me with this idea about bridesmaids she’d worked on with her friend Annie Mumolo.” Mumolo says that she and Wiig share a no-holds-barred style of comedy: “The first day we wrote together at The Groundlings, Kristen and I bonded, and we had great success. Not only did we always have so much fun there, we were to able to get a lot of material in and worked together often.” Mumolo and Wiig began writing the script in 2006 after Wiig had been on SNL for about a year. Says Mumolo: “I had this story about how I had been a bridesmaid a number of times, and I was disgruntled about it. I was very much a delinquent bridesmaid, so we started writing about my adventures with these different girls.” When it came time for their big chance, Mumolo remembers that it happened very suddenly: “After Knocked Up, Kristen asked me to go in and pitch Judd. She said, ‘Just go in and tell him what the movie is about.’ I had never pitched anything before, and I didn’t even realize that was what pitching was, but I went in and told him the basics of the story.”
Over the next several years of the film’s development, Mumolo and Wiig honed their script with Apatow so it wouldn’t read as anything close to ‘another wedding-themed movie.’ Wiig says that it was important to differentiate this film as one that is not simply a romantic comedy about a girl who’s in a wedding or a bride in a love story. She relates, “Bridesmaids focuses on something that a lot of women can relate to: the people who are in the wedding. We wanted to tell the real story of what it’s like to be in one and what you’re expected to do. It’s a lot, and it’s kind of a pain in the ass.” When they considered source material from which to draw, they didn’t have to go far. Wiig laughs: “Annie’s been in weddings and gone to showers, and her stories sound like they came out of a movie. She was in a wedding in which she couldn’t afford to go to the bachelorette party because it was a crazy trip. She got an e-mail that read, ‘It’s going to be $2,500 a person, and everyone chip in.’ Her response was, ‘What? How did this happen? How do I have to spend all this money and time?'” Mumolo agrees with her collaborator that the humor of their story comes from the relatable conversations and situations leading up to the big day…with a bit of embellishment. Their aim was not to make a treacly rom-com about trying to land a man, but rather a ballsy comedy that celebrated how real women interacted with one another. Mumolo says, “We wanted a movie without the frill. We wanted to tell the story of what our experiences were like—the down and dirty, gritty version of bridesmaids, where not everyone’s hair is perfect and everyone looks good and has cute stories. We learned as we went, and Judd guided us. He has a commitment to being original, and he doesn’t stop until he finds it.”
When the search began for the director of Bridesmaids, Wiig remembers that one of the first names discussed was Paul Feig. She reflects: “Judd mentioned him, and we met to discuss. Paul cast me in my very first movie role in Unaccompanied Minors as a slutty mom. After meeting with him, I called Judd and I said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ Not only is Paul incredibly talented and hilarious and has such a good mind for comedy, he’s also incredibly patient and collaborative. All the girls loved him to death. I can’t imagine anybody else as our director.”
We are introduced to the women of Bridesmaids through Annie, a thirtysomething jewelry-store employee who can’t seem to get her life in order. She’s lost her bakery, boyfriend and hope for a perfect future and has just found out that her best friend is getting married and moving on. Feig notes: “It’s a very elegant story of one person pulling her life together. There’s such humanity about Kristen. She has the ability that few comedy performers have: she can play real and small as well as big and crazy. Yet she always grounds the bigness and the craziness in reality. My theory on comedy is that you can go as big as you want, but it has to come from a real place. She brings all that weird humanity to this role, and she’s able to summon up vulnerability at the same time that she is holding it together.”
When casting the bride-to-be, Lillian, the team turned toward a longtime friend of Wiig’s and past partner-in-crime of hers on SNL. “Maya and Kristen’s friendship came through beautifully,” says Feig. “It was important for Lillian to have a real relationship with Annie because the camera is an honesty detector that picks up on those little signs of authenticity. The natural energy of their friendship comes through and lifts up the premise of the movie, which is what happens if you think you’re about to lose your best friend. You want to feel like they’ve known each other forever, and you don’t need a lot of dialogue setup if they’ve known each other for this long.”
Rudolph was not only keen to play Lillian, a character she refers to as “the glue to these women,” she was eager to work once again with Wiig, with whom she has been close since their days at Saturday Night Live together. Rudolph says: “When you know somebody well, you have a shorthand. It‟s so much fun to incorporate it into this film, because it makes it feel real…not just for the audience, but for us as well. Kristen and I have this strange way of talking to each other and making each other laugh, and you can see it throughout the movie. When do you get the opportunity to do that with somebody who shares the same brain?”
With five actresses and a writer who have a background in improvisational training, it was a given that the Bridesmaids production would marry script with this comedy style of on-site discovery. Mumolo explains that this process began well before production. Recalling their early meetings with Apatow, she says: “We would improvise for hours, and Judd would film us. Then we would go over what we taped and then work that into the script. We followed his lead. Additionally, during the movie, we were rewriting it on its feet, feeding jokes and sculpting.” “Annie and I come from a world of writing sketches, and our experience is with character and dialogue,” adds Wiig. “If we loved a scene that wasn’t working, Judd would say, ‘Try this idea’ or ‘Think of something new.’ Then we would rewrite it, read it and think, ‘He’s right.’ There are certain things you have to sacrifice to get the flow right, and Judd was good about helping us identify that when we were so close to the material.”
After casting was complete and production began, “Paul and Judd had the actors rehearse and improvise,” Wiig continues. “We could have a scene in the script that we didn‟t touch because everyone was happy with it through all the rewrites. Then, when the cast read it, something didn’t feel right or an improvisation made us think, ‘It’s better now; I didn’t even think of this other side.’ It evolves through rehearsing and improvising, and then it just becomes more real and natural.”
Awards and Nominations
Won – Comedy Award – Best Comedy Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award – Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – BAFTA Film Award – Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – COFCA Award – Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Critics Choice Award – Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Golden Globe – Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Nominated – MTV Movie Award – Best Cast
Nominated – MTV Movie Award – Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award – Best Female Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award – Best Gut-Wrenching Performance
Nominated – People’s Choice Award – Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award – Best Ensemble Acting
Nominated – Rembrandt Award – Best International Actress
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award – Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Teen Choice Award – Choice Movie Actress, Comedy
Nominated – Teen Choice Award – Choice Movie Hissy Fit
Nominated – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award – Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award – Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award – Best Original Screenplay