What We Learned at Kristen Wiig and Paul Feig’s TimesTalk Panel


Last night, thanks to our friends at UGG Australia, we had the opportunity to attend a TimesTalks panel with Bridesmaids collaborators Kristen Wiig and Paul Feig, which was moderated by Melena Ryzik of The Carpetbagger as part of the 11th annual New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend. From the beginning, we knew this wasn’t going to be your typical Q&A session; everyone on stage was holding a glass of red wine as opposed to a water bottle, and within minutes Feig had introduced a drinking game that involved taking a sip anytime someone said the word “asshole” — which happened more frequently than you might assume. But the night wasn’t all about debauchery. Click through for a few of the evening’s highlights, and if you’re interested in watching the talk in its entirety, check out a video of the interview here.

The women of the Bridesmaids cast bonded thanks to a trip to an LA strip club.

“… Annie [Mumolo] and I rented a party bus and filled it with stuff, and went to — it sounds so bad when I say it — a male strip club, and had a very long night, and we have all been best friends ever since,” said Wiig. “The girls were going crazy. We were screaming and laughing. We did buy [Rose Byrne] a lap dance. We overheard her talking about traffic. She was so uncomfortable.”

The whole second act of Bridesmaids was going to be set in Las Vegas, which changed weeks before shooting started.

As Feig explained, aside from relishing the chance to showcase Wiig’s physical comedy in the now classic drunken airplane scene, “the biggest thing was The Hangover had come out and done so well with Vegas — it was like, do we really want to take that on?”

Feig sees TV as a more gender-friendly environment than film.

“I love the movies of the ’30s and ’40s where you had these strong female characters who were funny and they were equals — how that went away bothered me,” said Feig. “TV is weirdly the place where women get to be equals. And I don’t know, movies just got kind of out of hand for a while.”

There was a musical number in Bridesmaids — and a dead person — that didn’t make the final cut.

“Judd [Apatow] was like, ‘This sounds like a completely different movie!’,” Wigg explained. The song was written for the scene where Annie drives away from Rhodes for the first time. The dead person? That was going to be a Lillian lookalike. “At the end, Lillian ran away and we heard that she was at the bell tower by the mill — you know, like where everyone goes in those old movies — ‘she’s in the bell tower, by the mill!.’ So we went to find her and we were running up and there was a woman on the ground who looked like Lillian who was dead. And I was like ‘Oh my god, she’s dead!’ and one of the girls was like, ‘Lillian?’ And I was like, ‘No, isn’t Lillian, but this woman is dead.’ And then we just walked away. We just walked away with this dead woman on the ground.”

Sometimes Wiig really wants to pull an SNL sketch — especially the ones she writes at 2am.

“Tuesday night is our writing night, and we start at like 3 or 4 and we write until the morning,” Wiig said in regards to her recent Weekend Update appearance as flirting expert Rebecca Larue. “And I think it was like 2 in the morning or something [when we wrote this]… I wanted to pull it so bad the next day, and that has happened with many scripts because you don’t know, you write something, especially really late at night, and you’re like, ‘Is this stupid?’ Especially when it’s an Update, and it’s just you. You really put yourself out there when you have to read this stuff.”

Lindsay Weir is the only Freaks and Geeks character not based on someone from Feig’s real life.

“I was an only child and I always wished that I had an older sister, and so that was who I kind of invented to be that older sister. Weirdly, I put all of my mid-30s angst through her because I figured like a smart teenage girl is about the same maturity level as a guy in his 30s. So she got to deal with all of the philosophical questions that I was going through.”

The US version of Skins broke Feig’s heart.

“I’m going to sound like an old man saying this, but I felt like maybe we changed the landscape for what these shows could be, and — this is going to sound so stupid — then that show Skins came out on MTV and I was like, ‘Oh, shit.’ It was like we never existed. We’re just back to beautiful male models and beautiful girls, and they’re all having sex. At that age, I felt like such a freak, because I was so afraid of everything. You got to figure that every generation feels that way.”

Wiig’s response to a question about a Bridesmaids sequel:

“Annie [Mumolo] and I are writing a different thing right now.” (On a related note, Melissa McCarthy says she won’t do the movie without Wiig.)