Interview: ‘Bridesmaids’ Star Wendi McLendon-Covey Says Women Are Funniest When They’re Trying Not to Do Something

You were talking before about all the ladies being unabashed and immodest. What struck me was that this movie it didn’t treat women as wilting flowers; like, Kristen’s character Annie had that energetic sex scene in the begining, and there’s the dress fitting scene, where you all are vomiting and pooping in the sink. What was it like shooting those scenes? Was there any embarassment or was it just “balls to the wall,” so to speak?

McLendon-Covey: When we first found out we were gonna be doing that it was like, “I don’t know about this.” But the thing that makes it not gratuitous, that we can make sense of it, is that it shows just what a bad decision maker the character of Annie is. She can’t even pick a place to go to lunch without it becoming a total disaster. [We had] that in mind and the fact that when women are trying not to do something it’s really funny. A woman trying not to burp or trying not to show that she has a run in her stockings, those things are funny. That kind of drove us through it. Once you commit, it’s like, if that’s what I’m doing for the day, I’m gonna do it 100 percent. I have to say, it was kind of fun being thrown up on. I don’t want to do it all the time! It was fun for the movie, and it turned out well. I’m very pleaed with the arc that I got with my fake vomit.

Could you tell us about your character, bored housewife Rita?

McLendon-Covey: Rita is a bitter mother of three. I think when she first got married she was Becca [Kemper's character]: Very idealistic, she probably walked up to people and said “I’m married,” showed her ring, and was real obnoxious about the whole thing. And somewhere along the line she discovered “This is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.” And the way she talks about her kids is totally inappropriate… I have to tell you, a lot of the stuff I use—I eavesdrop on people all the time, and there was a woman talking about her sons in that way. I thought, You are disgusting! How dare you talk about your children like that! How damaging.

[Rita’s] in a prison of her own making. She could do something about it; she could go get a job. She’s just a complainer, and yeah, maybe things have not gone the way she wanted it to, but like with everybody else in the movie and anyone in life, you’re the problem, and you’re the solution. But I love that she feels like she needs to spread her pickle juice all over everybody and say, “You shouldn’t get married, it’s terrible, I hate it, this is the last time I’m ever gonna be a bridesmaid, we have to make it count.”

Do you find that you have a preference for projects that are more scripted and structured, or ones that give you the opportunity for improv? The Groundlings troupe is based on improv, right?

McLendon-Covey: Yeah, on improv and sketch. I don’t have a preference; the only thing that gets me is when projects are improvised just because the writer is lazy and doesn’t want to come up with anything, or wants you to do it for them. That’s frustrating. But that was not the case here. They wanted us to use the material and elevate the material. They didn’t want us to completely do an overhaul on the material; they already had very specific beats in mind and very specific story arcs. We were just there to service that.

What next projects are you working on?

McLendon-Covey: Well, I have a nice little recurring gig on Rules of Engagement; I’ve got a few more episodes to come out before [the season] ends. Just waiting for some projects to be greenlit, actually.

Would you be working as an actor or a writer in these? Are you looking to write more?

McLendon-Covey: I’m only interested in writing things for myself. I don’t want to write things for other people to do, so yeah, if it’s something I can do for myself and bring all my fun friends along, then yes.

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