The Big Issue : Edition 489
14 THE BIG ISSUE 24 JULY – 6 AUG 2015 WHEN REBEL WILSON first started hitting big screens internationally, the response was swift and universal: “Who is this hilarious broad, and where has she been hiding all this time?” The answer to those who share her home ground was not a mystery. Australians had loved her ever since the early 2000s, when she appeared on the SBS TV comedy series Pizza as Toula, the fast-food-obsessed Greek-Australian princess who tailed Habib Halal Habib with a constant whine of “Habibi!” She eventually married the hapless deliveryman and forced him to wear pink tracksuit pants. It was all I could do to stop myself from shrieking “HABIBI!” when I passed Wilson while hiking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles back in 2013 (she was, as it turns out, wearing pink tracksuit pants). After a couple of years there trying to eke out a introduced many of us to the unhinged, protean comic gifts of Rebel Wilson”. She even managed to escape What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012) unscathed. Her performance, as a deranged Southern belle and breastfeeding-clinic employee, in that ill-thought-out ensemble blockbuster based on the popular self-help parenting guide, made you weep for what the film might have been (ie, funny). Her success seemed to be fated. In an interview at the time, Wilson said, “I just always thought I’d be good, even at the first. And I was so nervous to get in front of people...but there was just something inside of me that I just thought, No I will be good. Just keep going and keep trying... Jump forward to 2015 and Wilson is the stand-out in Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel that stormed the movie box office to take $69.2m in its opening screenwriting gig, I was going down the hill from the Observatory while she was powering upwards. Not long afterwards, coasting on the wave of adulation she had received for her breakout role in the movie Pitch Perfect (2012), she hosted the MTV Movie Awards. Her meteoric rise has been fuelled by a handful of star-making bit parts. Before Pitch Perfect she was the weirdo housemate Brynn in Bridesmaids (2011), in which she stole each of her short scenes from two of comedy’s brightest lights, Kristen Wiig and Matt Lucas. Her spaced-out delivery of the line, “At first, I did not know that it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad, handwritten book”, was a joy to behold. Reflecting on Bridesmaids’ impact in 2012, the New York Times film critic A. O. Scott called the film a “groundbreaking event...because it She’s a Rebel COVER STORY WHO’D BE A WOMAN IN COMEDY? REBEL WILSON WOULD, WRITES CLEM BASTOW.