The Big Issue : Edition 445
While Wiig might be branching out into some more dramatic roles, that doesn’t mean she’s entered the dreaded I-demand-to-be- taken-seriously phase. This year she appeared in the fourth season of cult TV series Arrested Development, showcasing her spooky gift for mimicry as a younger version of Jessica Walter’s matriarch, Lucille. And she’s in two comedies coming out in Australia next month: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (with Ben Stiller) and Anchorman 2 (with Ferrell). Having made some powerful friends in Hollywood thanks to SNL and Bridesmaids, Wiig now enjoys twin luxuries: she can be selective in the roles she picks, and she can write the kind of roles she’d like to play, with some expectation of them making it to production. If Wiig can build a career on her own terms, it will be interesting to see what terms she chooses. She seems like something new because Hollywood tends to like its leading comic actresses goofy and adorable. America’s assorted sweethearts (the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Rachel McAdams) are cute, pretty, relatable and/or charming first; decent comic timing is a bonus. With Wiig as leading lady, it’s the looks and likeability that constitute the bonus – she’s funny, first and foremost. And in moments that don’t call for comedy, there’s something naturally slightly detached, almost jaded, about Wiig that reads as a much truer-to-life form of vulnerability than the cutesy conceits loaded on rom-com heroines. Maybe Wiig is the person to prove the leading lady doesn’t have to be adorable to be vulnerable. She’s already shown that a woman doesn’t have to be crazy to be crude. tbi » Sophie Quick is Staff Writer/Editor for The Big Issue. Anchorman 2 and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are in cinemas in late December. (where she stole a two-minute scene as a TV network middle-manager, cementing a friendship with Judd Apatow in 2007), Whip It (2009), Adventureland (2009) and MacGruber (2010). Outside SNL, Wiig was often cast as the kind of offbeat characters who made her famous, with pitiful delusions and misplaced enthusiasms. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) she played a yoga teacher who couldn’t conceal her attraction to Russell Brand’s character; in Ghost Town (2008) she played a colonoscopy surgeon who couldn’t conceal her own total self-absorption; and in the web series Portlandia (2012) she played a crazed, potentially homicidal fan of an obscure band. Along the way, however, Wiig was also quietly making efforts to extend her range beyond all the kookiness. In an interview with Alec Baldwin on his Here’s the Thing podcast in 2012, after she’d just left SNL, Wiig was asked if she planned to try her hand at dramatic acting. Wiig’s response: “Absolutely... The audience very quickly puts you in a folder. They know you how they first knew you, I’m Kristen from SNL – a comedic actress... People are so surprised when I want to do dramatic stuff.” Films like Extract (2009) and Friends with Kids (2011) might have been flops, but both showed Wiig looking completely at ease in the skin of conventional characters. For a comedian – especially one who has made her name in the broad school of sketch comedy – Wiig is surprisingly effective in conveying emotional states that call for reserve: weariness, malaise, disappointment. This is what made audiences care about Annie in Bridesmaids, even at her most unlikeable. And these were the muscles Wiig was again able to flex in her second starring comedy role: this year’s Girl Most Likely. Wiig, who was also the film’s executive producer, plays a character very similar to Bridesmaid’s Annie: a thirty-something woman who has hit career and romance rock- bottom. Reviews, while mixed, praised its star: “Kristen Wiig is a triple threat – pretty, funny and poignant,” Liam Lacey wrote in The Globe and Mail. “It’s impossible not to root for Kristen Wiig,” Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times. Next year will see the release of Hateship, Loveship, a dramatic indie film based on an Alice Munro short story, in which Wiig will appear alongside Guy Pearce and Nick Nolte. There isn’t going to be a Bridesmaids sequel, at least not one starring Wiig. Turning it down wasn’t hard, she told Harper’s Bazaar in June. “We knew during the first one, this was it. We would have made a lot of money if there was a second one, but that’s not my goal in my creative life.” 20 THebigissue 8–21NOV2013 Trivia time. What do the following have in common: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy and Tina Fey? Okay, try a few more names: Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock and, of course, Kristen Wiig. Answer: they have all been featured – either as cast members, regular guests or hosts – on the long-running US TV show Saturday Night Live. Since its premiere in 1975, created by Lorne Michaels (who is still in charge), SNL has served as a sort of televised petri dish where comedians are cultivated and developed. Many become stars; the catch here being that those who do invariably leave the show, believing they have outgrown T V. More recently, Fey and Poehler have graduated from SNL and achieved success both in their own TV series – 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, respectively – and also as a hosting double- act at the Golden Globes. far left in bridesmaids above with ben stiller in the secret life of walter mitty below tina Fey and amy Poehler on saturday night live What , s So Funny?