Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night
By: Lynn Barker
Three, eccentric young roomies try to make it in New York City. Nothing new but one of them is played by Rebel Wilson. That’s all we need to know. She is sooooo hilarious. You might have seen her as Kristen Wiig’s roomie in the movie Bridesmaids but she really lit up the screen as “Fat Amy” in the recent film Pitch Perfect and she’s done some fun hosting gigs on TV as well.
In “Super Fun Night”, which starts on the ABC network October 2nd, Rebel plays Kimmie who keeps trying to get her roomies to fully enjoy life. She’s hung up on an old boyfriend who has clearly dumped her but there is a chance for romance at her office if she can stop spending weekends as a couch potato at home. Of course it won’t be easy.
Late night TV host Conan O’Brien co-produces with Rebel and says that when she was on his show she just killed. She’s a born TV star and is “vulnerable yet fearless” and super likable. He met with her and she came back with an idea for a TV series about three galpals and their difficulty in breaking their life-long bond long enough to get out and live.
Picture perky Rebel at the interview wearing a cute dress with black polka dots and a yellow jacket….
Q: Rebel, you're the creator and co-executive producer of “Super Fun Night” and it does seem like so much fun.
- Rebel: It is, especially filming that scene where I got my clothes ripped off (not really..). It was zero degrees when we filmed that. That's why I wear Spanx underneath.
Q: (we laugh) Okaaaay. So some of those scenes, did they come from your past or things that happened to you?
- Rebel: Yeah, I used to do this thing with my sister Liberty called "Friday night fun night," She worked at a candy factory at the time, and she would just bring home the off cuts from the candy factory, and we'd sit at home on the couch eating and watching DVDs. And I started to think “Maybe there's more fun than this” even though at that time I did think that was really fun. And so I kind of strategically tried to go out into the world and force myself into these social situations. That's where all the true stories come from in the show.
Q: How did you come up with the term "eye broccoli"? That was hilarious.
- Rebel: I said, "What's the opposite of eye candy?" because I love candy and it's broccoli. So I just thought the bouncer of the club turns us away because, he says, "We can't have eye broccoli hogging up the line."
Q: All the roommates in the show seem really bonded like besties. What did you and the two other actresses do to meet and get to know each other?
- Rebel: Lauren (Ash) and I went to the baseball the other day. I'd never been to see a professional match.
Q: The baseball….match? Uh baseball game…..?
- Rebel: Yeah and it was a hundred degree heat. We got given free T-shirts. So we put them on our heads to protect ourselves. I drank two things of soda that were that big each (indicating supersized large). We're sitting there in direct sunlight for two hours. And then we tried to stand up, and I almost spewed because I got sunstroke. Then we had to try to escape before the end of the game before I spewed everywhere. But then we had all been hanging out quite a bit doing re-shoots. That was at least 28 days so we got to bond a lot. I went to Disneyland, but then I didn't invite (them).
Q: Awww. You do an American accent on the show. Why not just use your cool Aussie accent?
- Rebel: I started out in the theater as an actress doing all different characters with all different accents, and really, when I first came to America, I was doing movies, I thought I would be playing American all the time, and it was just weird how it worked out that I played more international characters and Australian a lot. So when I had the opportunity to do this TV show in America, the concept was three girls who lived in Manhattan, who had known each other since they were 13 or 14 years of age. So I just really thought that I had to make this character American.
Q: Someone makes a transporter sound in the show. Is "Star Trek" and other sci fi stuff something that you enjoy referencing? Or is that the last we're going to see of it?
- Rebel: Well, we actually created a fake show within the show called "Murna Princess Warrior," that all of our characters are fans of and that you'll see more of that in the show. It’s a sci‑fi starring a female warrior‑type character. And, yeah, there is a bit of geek‑dom and certainly I think Kevin Bishop’s character, even though he's very cute, does have that little geeky side which is why I (her character Kimmie) have a chance (with him).
Q: Generally, you seem willing to be cruel to your own characters. That's something we've seen you do in a lot of movies. What's the balance between having fun at the characters’ expense and avoiding making it so painful that it’s difficult to watch?
- Rebel: In the writers’ room, I'm always pitching the saddest storylines, like, where I get punched in the face. But the purpose of the show to me is to really inspire girls who don't think they're cool and popular or pretty to get out there and that they can have fun and exciting lives too. And so I think in order to do that, you need to present a very realistic version of what it's like to be a girl who looks like me and is not the coolest.
- That often involves things like Kimmie gets broken up with by one dude because he says, "You're too fat. I don't like it anymore" and stuff like that. So there are some very sad storylines coming down the pipe, but I think we have to present that. We also present the wins for my character, which are awesome. It's far more gratifying, I think.
Q: You are a beautiful, confident woman but in Hollywood, it seems you're never perfect enough no matter what you do or what you say. Can you talk a little bit about your journey in this town and what you might have had to face not being a size 0?
- Rebel: Okay. I think when I first came to America and the second day here, I went into William Morris Endeavor (agency) and I had a meeting and I'm like, "Yeah, I'm from Australia and I do comedy and stuff." And I think that one of the reasons they signed me is because I wasn't like any other girl here. And I don't know why that is. Maybe girls don't get encouraged. The ones who get encouraged to move to Hollywood are the prettiest ones in their hometown in Iowa or something and they get encouraged to, move here. Whereas me, where I come from in the western suburbs of Sydney, no one ever thought professional actors would come from there.
- Even my own family was like, "No one would want you on a show." and I so came here. But then what I found is that even though it was hard to get that first job and I was going into auditions for really big directors and, I think, nailing it, no one was really ready to give me a job. I was, I think, crushing it, just being brilliant but nobody was willing to cast me until the geniuses Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. I was in there just improvising so hard that they couldn't ignore it.
- I didn't get the role that I went for, which was the role that Melissa McCarthy got (in Bridesmaids), but they just liked me so much that they added me in. It took people who have the power to say yes to pull the trigger for me here in America. And since then, I think it's been easier because I'm not like anybody else out there, really, with my skills and abilities and looks. And so now I think it's easier because I'm more distinctive.
Q: It seems like, in the pilot for the series, some of the dialogue was scripted and some seemed spontaneous and on the spot. Are you going to just throw cool dialogue in there in future?
- Rebel: Usually, for movies, my stuff is, like, 80 percent improvised. I think in the pilot, because pilots go through such development, it was only about 20 percent improvised. But I deliberately chose a cast (who can improvise). Lauren Ash is from Second City. Kev (Bishop) has had such a vast improve experience.
- And then our replacement nemesis ( a new character than in the pilot episode) coming in is a very good friend of mine, Kate Jenkinson from Australia, and we improvise a lot. Check out the Australian series "Thank God You're Here," which is 100 percent improvised. And we were on a sketch show together so we've been improvising together for years and years. And I really wanted to bring what I do in the movies into TV; that really spontaneous, improvised stuff, so every single scene we'll also be doing improvised versions.
“Super Fun Night” premieres October 2nd!