REBEL WIL­SON

Dis­cov­er­ing an ‘ al­tar ego’ has helped put one off­beat Aussie ac­tress on Hol­ly­wood’s radar,

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - James Wigney

No longer a Hol­ly­wood brides­maid.

REBEL Wil­son can di­vide her pro­fes­sional life into two dis­tinct pe­ri­ods – be­fore

Brides­maids and af­ter Brides­maids. Be­fore she teamed with Lit­tle Bri­tain ’ s Matt Lu­cas to play one of star Kristin Wiig’s slightly creepy flat­mates, Wil­son had built up a solid ca­reer in Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion and stand- up com­edy, thanks to her work on shows such as The Wedge, Bo­gan Pride and Thank God You’re Here.

But af­ter Brides­maids was re­leased to rave re­views and box- of­fice glory – it went on to make nearly $ 300 mil­lion around the world – Wil­son was sud­denly hot prop­erty in Hol­ly­wood and signed up for an­other five films that very week.

The sud­den rush of work not only en­abled her to cap­i­talise on a steadily build­ing buzz she had built, thanks to a live com­edy show she had done with Lu­cas and Rus­sell Brand, but also al­lowed her to move out of what she calls her ‘‘ Venice Beach drug den’’ to some more im­pres­sive digs in her adopted home of Los An­ge­les.

‘‘ There was a bed and a chair in the apart­ment – it was bad,’’ says Wil­son of her old lodg­ings. ‘‘ Now I live in a much bet­ter area and film­ing the movies last year took me to New York, At­lanta and Louisiana, so I was get­ting to see so many dif­fer­ent places.

‘‘ I went from work­ing maybe a cou­ple of days a month and try­ing to work more to hav­ing so much work that it’s ridicu­lous and I can’t hu­manly fit it in.

‘‘ Once Brides­maids came out it was like ’ she is so in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent – I want her for my movie’.’’

With her co- stars now in­clud­ing Reese Wither­spoon, Kirsten Dunst and Cameron Diaz, the pro­duc­ers of Wil­son’s new Aussie com­edy, A Few Best Men, were lucky to snaf­fle her be­fore she took off. Filmed in and around Syd­ney last year, the Stephen El­liot- di­rected ( Priscilla Queen of the

Desert ) A Few Best Men con­tin­ues the wed­ding- re­lated theme of Wil­son’s films.

She plays the sis­ter of the bride and daugh­ter of a co­caine- hoover­ing Olivia New­ton- John at a wed­ding that goes spec­tac­u­larly wrong, cour­tesy of the vis­it­ing Bri­tish best men.

On a fly­ing visit back to Australia to pro­mote the film re­cently, Wil­son just found time to walk the red car­pet with ONJ at the film’s pre­miere in Syd­ney – and be spec­tac­u­larly em­bar­rassed by her as­sem­bled fam­ily.

‘‘ My grand­par­ents were there and they were all like ‘ can we meet Olivia?’,’’ Wil­son says, laugh­ing.

‘‘ Poor Olivia, she is so nice and took pho­tos with all of them.

‘‘ My un­cle was there say­ing if she ever wanted a free ten­nis les­son to give him a call and gave her his num­ber.

‘‘ She is just so lovely. Some­times peo­ple’s per­sona is not how they are in real life but you meet her and think no won­der she is an iconic Aus­tralian.’’

While Wil­son says the cast and crew were very well taken care of on A Few Best

Men, the con­trast couldn’t be starker be­tween her early TV work in Australia and the crea­ture com­forts of her new ca­reer in the US.

‘‘ When I first started on Aus­tralian TV, par­tic­u­larly on SBS, you would just wear your own clothes and at lunchtime some­one would just go to the Mcdon­ald’s drive-through,’’ she says.

‘‘ In Hol­ly­wood they have full cater­ing and trail­ers.’’

She says in the past she has both gained and lost roles be­cause of her body shape but most re­cently she was taken on by the pres­ti­gious Wil­liam Mor­ris En­deav­our agency, which rep­re­sents the big­gest names in Hol­ly­wood, pre­cisely be­cause they didn’t have any­one who looked like her on their books.

That said, Wil­son says she is very much the mi­nor­ity in im­age- con­scious La La Land. ‘‘ It’s weird,’’ she says, ‘‘ When they did Brides­maids, with women of all dif­fer­ent shapes, it was such a huge suc­cess.

‘‘ Ap­par­ently there are two mil­lion ac­tors who live in Los An­ge­les and I would say that 98 per cent of them are glam­orous.

‘‘ There will al­ways be a place for the glam­orous peo­ple, be­cause some­times en­ter­tain­ment is es­capism, but also it is sup­posed to re­flect life . . . so there’s al­ways a place for real- look­ing peo­ple.’’

Af­ter hav­ing to stop the Jenny Craig pro­gram be­cause of film­ing com­mit­ments, Wil­son is look­ing for­ward to start­ing again soon. ‘‘ I have been film­ing a mu­si­cal called

Pitch Per­fect in Louisiana for the past few months and I played a char­ac­ter called Fat Amy,’’ she says.

‘‘ For my con­tract in that movie I had to stay the same size as what I was at that point. So I had lost 10kg and then had to main­tain that for the whole movie, which is quite dif­fi­cult to do.’’

She is also ea­gerly wait­ing to hear whether a much- mooted se­quel to

Brides­maids will go ahead. ‘‘ If there is no an­nounce­ment in the next two months, then I’d say it prob­a­bly isn’t go­ing to hap­pen,’’ she says.

A FEW BEST MEN

Now show­ing Vil­lage cine­mas She is also learn­ing to ad­just to fame, say­ing on some days she is ap­proached by up to 100 peo­ple want­ing to have their photo taken with her.

Thank­fully Lu­cas has been there as a mate and men­tor.

‘‘ He’s kind of like an older brother,’’ Wil­son says.

‘‘ He has been through it all be­fore, hav­ing in­cred­i­ble suc­cess with Lit­tle

Bri­tain, so he is re­ally good with ad­vice about what it’s like.’’

Wil­son is also ex­cited about the pre­miere of her film with Dunst and com­pa­triot Isla Fisher, Bach­e­lorette, at this month’s Sun­dance Fes­ti­val.

With yet an­other wed­ding theme, Wil­son con­cedes that com­par­isons will be made with Brides­maids but says that the tone is darker.

‘‘ She was in­cred­i­ble,’’ Wil­son says of Dunst. ‘‘ She is so be­liev­able in the scenes that I think it has made me come across as a bet­ter ac­tress.

‘‘ I was play­ing an Up­per East Side New York girl, which is very far re­moved from what I am in real life, and act­ing op­po­site her made it so much more be­liev­able.’’

The plus- sized Wil­son signed on as an am­bas­sador for weight loss firm Jenny Craig last year, more from a de­sire to feel bet­ter about her­self and broaden her range of po­ten­tial roles rather than any spe­cific health is­sues.

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