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- ILLAMASQUA REFLECTION PALETTE
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The irreverent interview and the shoot’s provocative tone are both in step with Wiig’s recent career choices. An art major who discovered her knack for comedy during an acting class at the University of Arizona, the New York–based actress seems ready to set aside her funnywoman mantle for a beat in favor of meatier, more complex roles. Last year, she starred alongside fellow SNL alum Bill Hader in the edgy Sundance hit The Skeleton Twins, where punch lines were relied on in the healing process as characters journeyed through suicide attempts and infidelity. Now comes Welcome to Me, a strange gem of a film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last fall and opens in theaters on May 1.
Co-starring Robbins, Wes Bentley and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Welcome to Me features Wiig as Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins millions in the lottery and uses the money to produce her own Oprah-esque talk show. Hilarity ensues, yes, but so do poignancy and pathos. Perhaps the most heart-wrenching scene is one in which Alice wanders stark naked and confused through a crowded casino. “It was the part and it felt right, so I did it,” explains Wiig of her decision to fully disrobe for the camera (yet another example of the juxtaposition between the actress’s professional daring and personal reserve). “Of course you’re nervous, and you know people are going to make comments, but if you care about that, your job instantly becomes more difficult. You have to do things for you.”
Below, Wiig and Robbins discuss their film, the charms of Rome (Wiig is currently there filming Zoolander 2) and the fact that famous people do laundry, too, even if they don’t tweet about it.
TIM ROBBINS: 10 A.M. I WENT TO BED WAY TOO LATE, LIKE 5 A.M. OR SOMETHING.
T.R.: YOU KNOW, I’M AN IRRESPONSIBLE PERSON. THAT’S JUST THE BOTTOM LINE. I JUST DON’T PRIORITIZE.
T.R.: WHAT ARE YOU DOING OVER THERE IN ITALY? YOU’RE IN ROME, RIGHT?
T.R.: I’VE BEEN MEANING TO CALL AND TELL YOU PRIVATELY, BUT SINCE I HAVEN’T BECAUSE I LEAD AN IRRESPONSIBLE LIFE AND I DON’T DO THINGS LIKE THAT… I WANTED TO TELL YOU, UM, HOW FANTASTIC YOU ARE IN THE MOVIE.
T.R.: I FINALLY SAW IT, LIKE, TWO WEEKS AGO. MY GOD, MAN. WHAT A COURAGEOUS PERFORMANCE. THERE’S A CERTAIN WAY TO PLAY A CHARACTER LIKE THAT. I MEAN, THERE’S A WAY TO PHONE THAT IN, BUT I FELT LIKE YOU TOOK IT SERIOUSLY AND REALLY STUDIED WHAT THAT ILLNESS IS ALL ABOUT AND HAD A DEEP RESPECT FOR IT.
T.R.: YES, I’M HERE.
T.R.: WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN BAD SINCE I’M DRIVING.
T.R.: SO THIS IS THE REAL-WORLD INSIGHT INTO FAMOUS PEOPLE’S LIVES: THEY DRIVE AND THEY DO LAUNDRY.
K.W.: I always say people know you how they know you, and I think people know me probably from SNL and Bridesmaids. I’ve done a couple of things that have been dramatic and sometimes I get frustrated because like…there was a scene I shot once where it was like, “Oh, this woman is so sad that she’s doing this thing,” and when we screened it people laughed. I was really nervous about that with this movie because I know that there’s some really dark moments and there’s some really funny moments, and it’s kind of up to the audience to interpret them. But, you know, you make a movie and you have just zero idea how it’s going to turn out and it never turns out the way that you think. Ever. It’s kind of scary. I don’t know why we put ourselves through this…
K.W.: It’s always the lights.
I was more NERVOUS about theTweet This
comedy in the FILM than I was the drama...
K.W.: Everything’s great. I’m loving being away. I mean, I miss my dog, but I’m really enjoying being in the city and by myself. I have a little chunk of time off, and I’ve just been kind of exploring. It’s been a much-needed experience for me. Eating a lot and drawing and just running around…just running down the streets…the cobblestone streets.
K.W.: Yeah. And I’m on a bike and I just keep going around in circles.
K.W.: Huge sunglasses. At night, especially.
K.W.: I hope that I get to see you when I’m in L.A.! I love you.
VIOLET GREY has a file on everything from
the genius of Pat McGrath to
the best eyelash curler in the world.