Kristen Wiig Bridesmaids

Kristen Wiig Bridesmaids


Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covery, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd
Director: Paul Feig
Genre: Comedy
Rated: MA
Running Time: 125 minutes

Synopsis: This summer, producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig invite you to experience what happens when best friends forever meet the wildest Bridesmaids ever.

Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her closest friend, Lillian, and a group of colorful bridesmaids-Helen, Rita, Becca and Megan-on a wild ride down the road to matrimony.

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 realises the person who knows her the best has introduced her to four strangers who will shake up her life for good.

Release Date: 16th of June, 2011

About the Production
Groundlings to Bridesmaids: Production Begins

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. Kristen Wiig recalls: "Annie Mumolo 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. Judd Apatow appreciated her unique comedy style and wanted to see what else she was capable of onscreen. Kristen Wiig explains: "I was approached by Judd Apatow to write a script, so I called Annie Mumolo 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.'"

Judd 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 Wiig 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."

Annie Mumolo says that she and Kristen Wiig share a no-holds-barred style of comedy: "The first day we wrote together at The Groundlings, Kristen Wiig 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."

Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig began writing the script in 2006 after Kristen Wiig had been on SNL for about a year. Says Annie 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, Annie Mumolo remembers that it happened very suddenly: "After Knocked Up, Kristen Wiig asked me to go in and pitch Judd Apatow. She said, 'Just go in and tell him what the movie is about.' I had never pitched anything before, and I didn't even realise 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, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig honed their script with Judd Apatow so it wouldn't read as anything close to "another weddingthemed movie." Kristen 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. Kristen Wiig laughs: "Annie Mumolo'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?'"

Annie 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.

Annie 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 Apatow 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, Kristen Wiig remembers that one of the first names discussed was Paul Feig. She reflects: "Judd Apatow mentioned him, and we met to discuss. Paul Feig cast me in my very first movie role in Unaccompanied Minors as a slutty mom. After meeting with him, I called Judd Apatow and I said, 'Yes, yes, yes!' Not only is Paul Feig 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."

In addition to his work with Kristen Wiig, the director had partnered with Judd Apatow on a project that was one of the defining moments of both of their careers, Freaks and Geeks, the classic TV show created by Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow. Paul Feig shares: "Throughout the years, Judd Apatow and I have kept in touch and wanted to figure out a project to do together again. Bridesmaids came to me several years ago. Judd Apatow invited me to a table read of Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo's original script, and I thought it was very funny. I was very interested."

Friends since their days at the University of Southern California in the late '80s, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow have a shorthand with their comedy. The producer commends of Paul Feig's directing style: "Paul Feig is really good at keeping the scenes grounded, but also allowing them to be funny. That sounds not that complicated, but is the most complicated thing in the world. How can you continue to care for these people while finding opportunities for them to do things that are tear-down-the-house hilarious? At the same time, those things can't make you believe these people don't exist."

It would be a few more years before the opportunity to revisit Bridesmaids came around for the director, producers and the cast. "In the beginning of 2010, I was in New York shooting commercials," recalls Paul Feig, "and I got a call from my agents. I got on the phone with Judd Apatow, and within two minutes I was committed to the project and it was set in motion. It's been a whirlwind since."

Paul Feig adds that his primary interest in the script was due to its honesty and relatability that blended well with dirty humor. He says: "I've always been interested in doing more female-based stories. I enjoy these stories and the emotions and the comedy that can be had in them. It's exciting to bring Judd Apatow's style of humor to a movie about women and still make it honest and real. We've explored themes that women can relate to while guys will also find it hilarious. What we wanted to capture was women talking like women do behind the scenes where guys aren't privy to it."

Accompanying Judd Apatow in production duties were frequent collaborators Barry Mendel, with whom Judd Apatow worked on Funny People, and Clayton Townsend, whose working relationship with the producer extends back to their time together on The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Barry Mendel, who had recently worked with Kristen Wiig on Whip It, shared the team's desire to explore a new take on a comedy subgenre that is often seen as trite. He offers: "The aspects of planning a wedding are very coordinated, and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo wrote about how women sometimes get carried away when planning them. There are a lot of movies that deal with people getting engaged and getting married, but they can feel very lightweight, and the emotions can seem manipulative or not that lifelike. They're entertaining and diverting and fair enough, but our question was 'Is this movie going to be one of them, or could it be another type of film entirely?' Now that we are on the other side, I can say that we actually did it."

Female Fight Club: Casting the Comedy
We are introduced to the women of Bridesmaids through Annie Mumolo, 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. Paul Feig notes: "It's a very elegant story of one person pulling her life together. There's such humanity about Kristen Wiig. 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."

As Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig crafted the characters with Judd Apatow, they wanted to flesh out the nuances and eccentricities of each bridesmaid. They knew it could be easy to fall into the stereotype trap, and every decision was designed to avoid that while maximising comedy. Kristen Wiig notes: "Sometimes girls in movies are portrayed as very girlie and perfect and they're simply the neighbor or the wife. There's so many funny actresses out there that to have a movie that has many funny roles for women, instead of just a couple on the side, was gratifying for Annie Mumolo and me to write and help cast."

When looking for the actresses to play opposite Kristen Wiig as the directionless Annie Mumolo, Paul Feig and the producers conducted an exhaustive casting process. "Bridesmaids is a gang comedy, so it's very hard to write until you cast," Judd Apatow notes. "The most fun part of this process was to audition every funny woman in town and to come up with a group of people to play these characters. Then we spent a few weeks with Paul Feig, improvising and letting everybody make the characters their own. That's when the really funny stuff came out."

When casting the bride-to-be, Lillian, the team turned toward a longtime friend of Kristen Wiig's and past partner-in-crime of hers on SNL. "Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig's friendship came through beautifully," says Paul Feig. "It was important for Lillian to have a real relationship with Annie Mumolo 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."

Annie Mumolo explains that arriving at this character was not an easy process. She offers: "We had a hard time figuring out who Lillian was because the role wasn't initially a huge part. She changed slightly from when we first wrote her to when we cast Maya Rudolph. At the time Maya Rudolph came into the picture, it answered so many questions because of how great of an actress and comedian she is. She's the girl that everybody wants to be friends with; she's so loose, happy and ready for a good time."

Maya 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 Kristen Wiig, with whom she has been close since their days at Saturday Night Live together. Maya 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 Wiig 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?"

In serious contention for the role of maid of honor is the sweet-but-patronising Helen, a paragon of her community and fixture on the country-club circuit. Paul Feig explains: "My goal with Helen was never to make her villainous, but a character with odd sincerity that drives people crazy. Where a lot of these movies fall apart for me is when the emotions get so high and the bad girl becomes really bad. It can easily become a battle between her and the protagonist, and it just gets very amped up and shrill."

The role of the conflicted antagonist was offered to an actress who has long been known for her dramatic choices…until her last Judd Apatow production linked her to pop star Jackie Q. Paul Feig recalls: "Judd Apatow had just produced Get Him to the Greek, in which Rose Byrne played Russell Brand's character's ex-wife. It hadn't come out yet and Judd Apatow said, 'Go down to the editing room. I want you to take a look at her scenes.' I was blown away by how funny she was playing this extreme character. Then Rose Byrne came in with such energy and was willing to do anything. She has that combination that is hard to find: absolutely stunningly gorgeous, funny and real."

While initially asked to read for one of the other roles in Bridesmaids, Rose Byrne requested something else. Her request? "Give me a crack at being the bitch." She recalls: "It's rare that you read a script about a group of funny women in a situation that is familiar to everybody. Being a bridesmaid in a wedding drew me in; the part was so funny. Helen was just delicious; every time she came on the page I thought, 'What's she going to do now? No she didn't…oh, yes she did.' It just kept getting worse."

For the role of Megan, the team was searching for someone who would serve as the counterpoint to Annie. While Annie just wants to fit in with the other bridesmaids, Lillian's future sister-in-law, the fight club-loving/nuclear-engineer wild card Megan, could care less. "We knew Megan would be a pivotal weirdo, real comedy relief," laughs Paul Feig. "We saw all different types and then Kristen Wiig and Annie said, 'You have to see our friend Melissa McCarthy.'"

Melissa McCarthy was a series favorite in the long-running Gilmore Girls, and she currently stars in the CBS hit Mike & Molly. Many don't realise that when Melissa McCarthy performs at The Groundlings in L.A., people line up around the block to see her. The actress came in with a go-for-broke take on Megan, a free spirit who has a distinct take on the world, and she killed it. Annie Mumolo admits: "Megan has the attitude I wish I had.

She's like Annie but without the insecurity, and she's taken it to an extreme. That character is based on one I did at The Groundlings, and then we wrote her into the movie. When we cast Melissa, she just took it to a whole new level."

Melissa McCarthy describes her character as "a bulldozer." We first meet Megan at Lillian's engagement party, where she introduces herself to Annie as Dougie's (Lillian's fiancé) sister. The actress reflects: "I love Megan. From the beginning, I wanted her to look physically like Guy Fieri on the Food Network with a big, boxy shirt. There's nothing feminine about her except for her nails and pearls. She seems crazy, but she's actually the happiest one; she's totally well adjusted. She gets men, and her attitude is 'I hit it whenever I want.' I just love that we always kept her happy, in control and confident with herself. No matter what it is, good or bad, Megan's attitude is 'All right!'"

The part of Lillian's cousin, the exasperated housewife Rita, would go to Reno 911!'s seductress Wendi McLendon-Covey. Kristen Wiig notes: "We wrote the part for Wendi McLendon-Covey when we first wrote the script several years ago. She's someone that we've been in The Groundlings with for a long time, and we thought of this character as someone who is outspoken, fun loving, and doesn't care what people think about her. She's married and she's always complaining about it, but deep down she's happy at home. Wendi McLendon-Covey is such an amazing improviser that it was a gift every time she opened her mouth."

Annie Mumolo admits that she completely related to Rita as they created the character. "Nothing against my husband, who I love and adore, but when you're married and you have kids, you can start to feel like a doormat. It's like life steamrolls you, and you're the one running. For some reason it seems to fall on the woman to do everything." She remembers: "We would sit around for weeks trying to come up with how we can get certain characters to this point, and Wendi McLendon-Covey would just make it work. She would say one line in her improv and then we were basically, 'Thank you, thank you so much."

Paul Feig and the producers were impressed with Wendi McLendon-Covey's zingers describing marriage and with her ability to riff endlessly about having kids. Wendi McLendon- Covey tells a bit about her character: "Rita lives in a house full of men. She's the one handmaiden to three ungrateful sons and a very horny husband, whose ardor has not waned in all their years together; it has increased. She just feels like a mattress that vacuums and does laundry." When it came time for some of this bridesmaid's more inelegant scenes (read: removing fake vomit from her hair), the actress was still game.

Still, she admits, "That's what acting school does not train you for, you know?" Although Ellie Kemper did not come from The Groundlings as did cohorts Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey, she did spend time training in improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade. For the role of the wide-eyed ingénue Becca, the production searched for someone who could play a naïve newlywed preparing to have kids. Paul Feig states: "I worked with Ellie on The Office the same year I worked with Wendi. There's something that Ellie has that is just so funny. We wanted Becca to be this fresh-faced innocent who thinks everything's great. She was a prepackaged Becca; she gets to live and breathe Becca in a very natural way."

Ellie Kemper shares that she has known a few bow-loving/baby-talking women like Becca, and she has been in her fair share of bridal parties. She says: "What I love is that all these women are connected to Lillian, and they're dear to her. But then, when you put them together, it's uncomfortable and hilarious to see them sharing this one task. Their common goal is to serve the bride, and seeing how that plays out is fascinating as they all try to be the best bridesmaids they can be."

Joining the ladies in Bridesmaids in supporting roles is a collection of comedy performers that include Chris O'Dowd (U.K. television's The IT Crowd) as Annie's Irish-born suitor, Officer Rhodes. Annie's been making all the wrong decisions when it comes to jobs and men, and Rhodes is the first man in a long time to accept her as she is. He wants to have an actual grown-up relationship with her, and that initially scares Annie to death and makes her run for the hills. But as she gets to know him, she starts to see a side of Rhodes she adores.

Chris O'Dowd appreciated that he was allowed to portray the police officer as a regular guy who just happened to be in love with a girl. He also liked the amount of improv that was encouraged on set. Chris O'Dowd notes: "People can be very sacrosanct about their scripts, and they can want nothing to be changed, and be very protective. But here, it was 'Whatever the best lines and best scenes are will be used.' That's the way it should be."

Remembers Mendel of Chris O'Dowd's audition: "Chris O'Dowd came in and he did an American accent, and then I thought, 'Let's try his natural Irish one.' All of a sudden, this whole other side of him came out, this whole new charm. It helped us to flesh out his character in the final writing process, and I think he felt more comfortable being able to react on the fly during the shoot, too."

In a cameo role as the jerky object of Annie's affection, Ted, is Mad Men's Jon Hamm. Says Judd Apatow of the casting: "Jon Hamm plays Ted, somebody who Annie sleeps with who she would like to go out with. Basically, it's just a sexual relationship, and it epitomises how bad she feels about herself that she lets this continue to happen. But he's so handsome, it's hard not to."

Additional talent includes U.K. television's Little Britain Matt Lucas as Annie's odd roommate, Gil; Rebel Wilson as Gil's odder sister, Brynn; Michael Hitchcock as Annie's jewelry store boss, Don; Kali Hawk as Don's favorite employee, Kahlua; Tim Heidecker as Lillian's fiancé, Dougie; Terry Crews as the boot camp instructor who chases Lillian and Annie away; and the late legendary actress Jilly Clayburgh as Annie's mother, Judy.

Follow Her Lead: Improv on the Set
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. Annie Mumolo explains that this process began well before production. Recalling their early meetings with Judd 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 Mumolo and I come from a world of writing sketches, and our experience is with character and dialogue," adds Kristen Wiig. "If we loved a scene that wasn't working, Judd Apatow 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 Apatow was good about helping us identify that when we were so close to the material."

After casting was complete and production began, "Paul Feig and Judd Apatow had the actors rehearse and improvise," Kristen 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."

Paul Feig shares his rehearsal process with the actresses: "We'd start with the scripted scenes because we wanted to make sure the script was working. Then we did an improve version of a scene to explore its intention. As the actors did that, Judd Apatow or I would throw in a line we'd think of or ask them to consider a new direction. They would take it and run with it. What happens from that is we started cherry-picking: 'This is a great line. That's a great area to write a scene for or to remember and use later.'

"The rehearsal process gave us new written material that we then put in the script and let them do again verbatim on the day of shooting," Paul Feig continues. "It also gave us areas in which we knew we could improv on the set. The actresses loved being part of the process. They trust you and feel like they're collaborating when they come back and the script has lines that they improv'd in rehearsal." This method, Paul Feig says, "allowed the benefits of having improv performers who take fresh, new ideas that they're spewing out on the spot, and allowing our characters to talk in a real way. I'm hoping women will find it honest and open and slightly outrageous."

Paul Feig acknowledges: "We had a team of great writers behind us helping out. They transcribed and handed me jokes they thought of at the moment, then I'd feed ideas in. Our actresses knew the drill was to start again and try this line; then they'd try one of their own. It's a different way of making movies, because normally you get everything perfect beforehand. Most great movies in the world have been made that way. This is just a different way, and it requires a lot of energy; it's hard to sit back and just watch.

You have to be engaged constantly and make sure you're not dropping your guard." Mendel admits he was impressed by the amount and variety of improv the cast was able to accomplish. He says: "These are the strongest improvisational actors I've ever seen. It's partly The Groundlings presence and partly simply the people that we've picked. This is an all-star team. Judd Apatow was very excited about producing a female-driven movie, and we wanted to pack the film with improv stars and let them do their thing."

Something Borrowed: Locations and Design
Production designer Jefferson Sage's work with Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig began during their Freaks and Geeks days. Recalls Jefferson Sage: "I was lucky enough to be hired to jump in on that show when they were putting it together. Over the years, I've worked with Paul Feig and Judd Apatow off and on as they had projects that came up. The first thing that appealed to me about Bridesmaids was that you had these two disparate worlds: There was Annie's world in Milwaukee, and then there was Helen's world in Chicago. It immediately drew this dichotomy between the rivalry that developed between them."

L.A. as the Midwest
While the comedy takes us back and forth between the two cities, the production actually shot in Los Angeles. About cheating L.A. for these cities, Jefferson Sage acknowledges: "Sets that are interiors are much easier to fudge, but we looked for architecture that would give us those Midwestern worlds. Chicago is a beautiful, distinctive city architecturally, and restricted views of downtown L.A. feel like Chicago. It was also a question of hunting and finding buildings that had the right feeling for Milwaukee."

As Annie, Lillian and the bridesmaids head back and forth between the two cities, the production had to make it look as if they were not traveling along the West Coast. Notes Sage: "We looked at surrounding towns to find places that would sell for Milwaukee, and our challenge was the landscape. In the story, Annie meets Officer Rhodes on the highways between Milwaukee and Chicago. Since we had to have aMidwestern landscape, we ended up in Oxnard-a broad, flat, green area away from mountains."

The Fitting
When the ladies take Helen to go shopping at the most exclusive bridal shop in Chicago, all digestive hell breaks loose. By bringing them into Jefferson Sage's self-described "pristine, white inner sanctum of bridalness where they are surrounded by beautiful fabrics, beautiful white carpet and priceless silk," Paul Feig received maximum payoff for the earlier scene in which the bridesmaids had just eaten an unsanitary lunch.

The production designer worked with his director and set decorator Doug Mowat to get the characters trapped in just the right way…so that when it was time for things to explode, there was no escape. They had to run into one another as they raced toward the one-toilet bathroom. Jefferson Sage cringes: "It was all designed to increase the discomfort. It was a very limited palette: all white. If you have to be sick, what's the worst thing that you could besmirch?"

It took some time to create the perfect bridal-shop set. DP Yeoman weighed in on what fabrics offered the perfect tones and wouldn't present lighting problems as they shot. The decorators re-created one of the most exclusive of shops that requires appointments months in advance. Though Annie can't get them in the door, Helen can. She rules this world.

Somewhat unique to this film, production design and locations were inextricably linked to costume design. Sage worked with costume designer Leesa Evans to ensure that the color palettes chosen in set design married with Leesa Evans' choices for outfits. Sage notes, "There were a lot of conversations such as 'Which dress works with that set?

Here's a picture of the dress; now what are the wall colors?' I sent color-palette studies to Leesa Evans, and she would call me if there was a color problem. We kept it in sync." For Leesa Evans, it was key to ensure that the dresses didn't border on ridiculous. She says, "I think one of the biggest challenges of a movie like this is not to make a caricature of what this whole wedding business is about. When you get six women together and you have the engagement party and the shower and the wedding, there's a tendency to take it over the top on every level. I hope we got the right tone in which we're being funny and a bit ironic, but at the same time showing the reality of these events."

The actresses' many costumes were not the only inspirational clothing on the set. Mumolo notes: "Paul Feig is 'Dapper Dan.' He was dressed to the nines every day. He wore suits and fedoras, and he's a perfect fit for this movie. He's very in touch with female sensibilities, sensitive to women, and helped us preserve that. He was very good about keeping on point and maintaining the integrity of our ideas."

The Bridal Shower
Though Annie is the maid of honor, Helen is determined to host the most overthe- top, garish bridal shower anyone has seen at her Tudor revival mansion. As the team created the design, they wanted to bring forth the best bad ideas from their collective experiences at these types of events. Paul Feig says: "The shower was a big set-piece scene with a lot of people in a big location. It was a great arena for Kristen Wiig to go crazy with her physical comedy. We just turned Kristen Wiig loose and put two cameras on her."

What was challenging was that all six of the film's main characters are in these scenes, and DP Yeoman's team had to capture the principals' interactions with the supporting players. Paul Feig notes: "The first takes of Kristen Wigg's blowout at the shower were very dramatic. They were touching and moving, but then we thought, 'Let's go for ones that are a little funnier.'"

The production designer was tasked to design alongside the jokes. Jefferson Sage explains: "It was intentional to pull a lot of the same colors into Helen's house as we have in the bridal shop, as that's an extension of Helen's universe. As Annie comes into Helen's world, the tension builds. She's on this visually unfamiliar ground that's designed to make her uncomfortable because it's so not her character."

When Annie rides into the bridal shower (on a horse, obviously), she sees that Helen has stolen all her ideas about bringing the city of Paris to Lillian. Not only has Helen redone her home since Lillian and Dougie's engagement party, the mansion is dripping Parisian. The terrace is set up like a small café, and gorgeous pavilion tents and kiosks with Parisian references dot the grounds. Of course, a miniature Eiffel Tower has also been set up. To add insult to Annie's injury, in the middle of it all is an enormous chocolate fountain. Made of marble stone, the fountain is 7-feet tall, with melted chocolate pouring out. Annie is ready to go ballistic, and we can't blame her.

Of his leading lady's ability to move into a hilarious fugue state, producer Mendel commends: "People who enjoy Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live are going to love her in Bridesmaids because they know that she will go places no one else will go. When Kristen Wigg is drowned in chocolate, punching a giant cookie to smithereens, it's a joy."

The Wedding
When Lillian expresses to Annie that she's afraid Helen may have gone way over the top for her wedding, Annie is the first to console her. Too late, as it's going to be a whopper. Paul Feig says, "The wedding was fun to shoot because it was one of Helen's overthe- top productions. It was important to pull off the main wedding itself in one shot that reveals more and more as we go out."

What wedding would be complete without a laser light show, fireworks, fountains and a fog that rolls into the pool? The ceremony takes place with the bridal party out in the middle of platforms on top of a huge reflecting pool. There are lights inside and outside the water, with landscape lighting surrounding them. Paul Feig's production crew erected a set behind the minister, where the lasers hit, and fog and smoke come down.

The production decided to use the Los Angeles County Arboretum as the location for Lillian and Dougie's extravagant wedding. Jefferson Sage shares: "It's a beautiful green spot of gardens that has a 75-foot-square reflecting pool in the middle of a huge lawn. We drained the pool so that we could put the set down inside and arrange our platforms and lighting. We made it pristine white so that it would look immaculately clean for the ceremony, and then filled it back up. A couple of spot towers that are behind the audience were erected to light our singing group as they hit the stage. The Super Trouper followspots click on and offer an expansive look, so it feels like you are in the middle of a huge golf course."

Additional Sets
Before Annie moves into her mother's ranch house, she shares a little apartment in Milwaukee with Gil and his sister, Brynn, that Paul Feig describes as a "'70s-kind of depressing." Jefferson Sage ensured that there was wood paneling, odd chocolate-brown carpet and Formica that is 15 to 20 years out of date. The same conversation led into the creation of her workplace, Cholodecki's Jewelry Shop (built on a stage), where the team put in additional brown paneling and old-fashioned jewelry cases. Annie's trying to make a go of it, but she just feels stuck in these surroundings Sherwood Country Club in Westlake Village, California, also allowed the production to shoot key scenes for Bridesmaids. Jefferson Sage says: "I believe we're the first movie to get into Sherwood Country Club and make use of it. It was desirable because it's beautiful and has a Midwestern feeling to it. The design of the building is traditional, and the brick and the white trim didn't feel like an L.A. location. It also featured the tennis courts that figure as one of our sets during the playoff between Annie and Helen."

He concludes: "We did the engagement party there, and of course, in the story it's as if they got married back on Helen's property, and we see them leaving after the ceremony from the front of the country club." Sage agrees it was a great location but appreciated how it stood in for a Chicago setting. "They have dense, beautiful trees, but no mountains. It does not feel like Los Angeles. Even though we have a lot of California Oak here, they pass I hope."


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