Don’t let those posters and lazy critics’ quotes fool you—Bridesmaids isn’t the female version of The Hangover. For starters, it’s much more streamlined than the 2009 record-breaking, R-rated comedy, but most importantly Bridesmaids isn’t all buffoonery and little complexity like Zach Galifianakis’ breakout hit. Starring, and co-written by, Saturday Night Live standout Kristen Wiig, the surprisingly raunchy all-female comedy (in theaters today) is just as intelligent as it is hilarious.
Joining Wiig in Bridesmaids is an ensemble of equally on-point funny women. While co-stars Rose Byrne and Maya Rudolph might get all of the mainstream love, we’re most fond of our favorite redhead hottie, Ellie Kemper. In the movie, the comedy writer turned actress, most known for her role as receptionist Erin on NBC’s The Office, plays Becca, the bubbly and chaste member of the soon-to-be-married Rudolph’s titular bridesmaids. And, unsurprisingly, she totally owns every one of her scenes.
Between her first major movie’s premiere and all of the hoopla engulfing The Office in light of Steve Carell’s much ballyhooed exit, Kemper’s on-the-rise career is, like the woman herself, red-hot. Hoping to catch some of the heat, Complex recently chatted with Kemper about the misconceptions surrounding Bridesmaids, the intricacies of handling poop on film, the future of her faux music group, Subtle Sexuality, and how she embarrassed herself during Steve Carell’s last day on set.
Complex: Congratulations on your first big, mainstream Hollywood movie. Do you have any pre-release nerves?
Ellie Kemper: You know what? I’m actually not nervous, because all of the nerve-wracking parts are over, thankfully. I’m completely excited at this point. The nerve-wracking parts, for me at least, all came while we were shooting the movie, because I was totally afraid of messing everything up. [Laughs.] I’m a pretty paranoid person, so my worry throughout was to not destroy it somehow.
Well, rest assured—you didn’t ruin the movie at all.
Ellie Kemper: That’s very nice of you, and feel free to expand upon that. [Laughs.] But I’m pretty sure that I messed up a couple of times. But the other nerve-wracking part is that once you’re done shooting a movie, you don’t know if your part will actually make it into the final movie or if you’re cut out. But my part stayed in! So I’m very excited.
Once you saw yourself on the poster, you must’ve thought, “I guess I made it into the movie!”
Ellie Kemper: [Laughs.] Yeah, that pretty much confirmed it.
I’m glad you brought up the concerns over your parts making it into the movie. At about the halfway point in Bridesmaids, your character falls back a bit, which was actually pretty disappointing.
Ellie Kemper: Was it? That’s so sweet. [Laughs.]
Hey, what can I say—you’re a funny gal. Did you film any more scenes that didn’t make it into the movie?
Interesting, because the last we see of your interactions with Rita, the two of you are making out—talk about a tease.
Now that you’ve said it, I wouldn’t be mad at that in the least.
Let’s go back to the beginning—how’d you first get involved with Bridesmaids? Was it through the director, Paul Feig, and his experience with The Office?
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Pretty much all of the press surrounding the movie focuses on how it’s being called “the female Hangover,” and how there aren’t many, if any, female-driven comedies out there of this caliber. Was that something that struck you when you first read the script?
Is that frustrating for you, to have to watch so many movies that try to mimic how women really act and fail at that?
In the screening I attended, one of the scenes that got the biggest reaction was the one inside the wedding dress shop. I won’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say that it involves an abnormal amount of bodily fluids and wastes for a female-driven movie.
When you read that scene in the script, were you concerned at all about not going too far?
Well, I didn’t upchuck my popcorn, so I’ll have to agree. Though I can’t imagine how much further it went in the script, because as I was watching the scene, I thought, “Wow, they’re really going for it.”
That whole scene definitely plays into what we talked about earlier, how Bridesmaids isn’t your typical “chick flick.” In all of the press, the word “womance” keeps coming up, in hopes of branding the movie as a woman’s bromance. What are your thoughts on the term “womance”?
I’ve also heard “fomance,” yeah.
All of that being said, another thing that makes Bridesmaids unique is that it’s a female-driven comedy that’s also totally cool for men. It’s a date movie, sure, but I could see myself going to see it with my boys and not thinking twice.
You’ve been on the show for a couple years now—you still feel like a rookie?
Oh, I’m sure you’re fine. Obviously, the major story concerning The Office is Steve Carell’s departure. During his final episode, the two of you had a really heartfelt moment, perhaps the most heartfelt of any of Michael Scott’s goodbyes. How was it filming that scene with Steve Carell?
Transitioning into happier Office-related topics...literally seconds before this interview began, I received my CD single copy of your fictional group Subtle Sexuality’s new single, “The Girl Next Door.”
Indeed, it’s a certified banger.
How’d this new phase of Subtle Sexuality come about?
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Do you think you and Mindy Kaling [her fellow Office co-star and Subtle Sexuality band-mate] will ever do a full-length album, a la The Lonely Island?
Well, I look forward to someday hearing Subtle Sexuality take over the radio airwaves. Now that Steve Carell has officially left the show, where do you see the future of The Office heading?
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And you know what that could mean—room for more Subtle Sexuality!
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