Rebel Wilson brings quirky comedy to film and TV
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Get ready to notice Rebel Wilson.
She may have already caught your eye with her brief appearance in "Bridesmaids," playing the freeloading roommate who reads Annie's (Kristen Wiig) diary after mistaking it for "a very sad, handwritten book."
The 28-year-old Australian actress' scene-stealing turn in the 2011 hit certainly got Hollywood's attention.
"Basically, the week 'Bridesmaids' came out, I booked up for the rest of the year," Wilson said during a recent interview.
Among the gigs: Joining the A-list ensemble in "What to Expect When You're Expecting," voicing a hostile kangaroo in the animated "Ice Age: Continental Drift," working with Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay's crime dramedy "Pain and Gain" and playing a silky-voiced (if aerobically challenged) competitive singer in next month's musical comedy "Pitch Perfect." She's also about to start taping a TV pilot with Conan O'Brien, "Super Fun Night," which she's set to star in and produce.
Wilson's latest on-screen work is in "Bachelorette," in theaters Friday. Writer-director Leslye Headland cast the comedienne as the straight woman in the dark comedy. Wilson plays Becky, a sweet, beaming bride— the first of her friends to marry. Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan are her troubled clique of friends whose hard-partying antics threaten to ruin Becky's big day.
"It was sort of crazy, because it's like, really? You're going to cast Rebel Wilson as the straight guy?" Headland recalled. "Becky is a very difficult character to cast. You need really, really adept and fearless actors. I met Rebel and I saw her work and I was like, 'I have to have her.'"
"Pitch Perfect" director Jason Moore agrees with the fearless description.
"There's this beautiful openness to the way Rebel approaches everything," he said.
In "What to Expect," for example, the full-figured actress trades outfits with petite Elizabeth Banks and romps about unselfconsciously.
Though Wilson is a fresh face for American audiences, she's no stranger to performing. A writer, actress and standup comic in her native Australia, she began on stage and appeared in more than a dozen TV shows before heading to Hollywood to break into movies. "Bridesmaids" was her first stateside job.
"I think I came to America at the right time," she said. "To have 'Bridesmaids' be the first thing I was cast in and to have that be just such a huge hit, even though I was just part of the ensemble in that — I have just been working nonstop. I'm a writer as well, so I've got lots of things in development and it's crazy. It's just been a nonstop whirlwind, and I can't wait for people to see all these movies."
Meanwhile, she is embracing her growing profile and her newly adopted culture.
Wilson's film jobs have taken her around the country: "Bachelorette" shot in New York, "What to Expect" filmed in Atlanta and "Pitch Perfect" was done in Louisiana.
"I'm getting a whole tour of America, which I love," said the entertainer, whose given name is Rebel. (She has siblings named Liberty, Ryot and Annachi.)
Another love she's discovered is reality TV.
"It just fascinates me," Wilson said. "'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' is my new favorite, and 'Dance Moms' is my other favorite. Sometimes I watch it and I imitate them and I do their voices. It's just good for coming up with characters... The more I know about America, the better I'll be at performing American characters and American stories."
Originally a law student, Wilson chose to pursue performing after having a malaria-induced dream in which she saw herself accepting an Academy Award.
Oscar, are you listening?
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy .
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