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BRIDESMAIDS

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. 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-holdsbarred 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 weddingthemed 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.”

In addition to his work with Wiig, the director had partnered with 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 Feig and executive produced by Apatow. Feig shares: "Throughout the years, Judd 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 invited me to a table read of Kristen and Annie'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, Feig and Apatow have a shorthand with their comedy. The producer commends of Feig's directing style: "Paul 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-downthe- 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 Feig, "and I got a call from my agents. I got on the phone with Judd, and within two minutes I was committed to the project and it was set in motion. It's been a whirlwind since.”

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'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 Apatow in production duties were frequent collaborators Barry Mendel, with whom 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.

Mendel, who had recently worked with 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 and Annie 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 en

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