BBC America’s sister network AMC has a full roster of movies, ready for you to watch this summer. There are 36 flicks in all, available for streaming at AMC.com, made-up of a mix of crime, drama, comedy, horror, Western, adventure, action and science fiction.
You can look for 2013’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, a hybrid of drama and action with a dash of comedy. And, it marks the shift where Wiig successfully transitioned from strictly comedy to engrossing drama. (It’s No. 6 on the list below, so more on this to come.)
Let’s take a look back at how Wiig made her move:
1. Saturday Night Live (2005-2019)
Wiig joined the ranks of the famed SNL ensemble sketch series in 2005, which is quite a feather in any comedian’s hat. She made her mark with characters like the Target Lady, an eccentric cashier who loves her job oh-so-much. And the know-it-all Penelope, who just can’t stop herself from one-upping friends, even if it pushes everyone away.
As well, she was a mainstay in the Weekend Update news skit as reporter extraordinaire Judy Grimes, who was terrified to be on TV. Not the best combo professionally, but perfect for comedy. In 2009, Wiig talked about working on SNL to the A.V. Club, saying, “The good thing about SNL is that it’s the same people every week that you’re working with, and we’ve all become so close and tight because we’ve worked together so long and so closely.”
2. Knocked Up (2007)
You may remember Wiig in writer-director Judd Apatow‘s Knocked Up, starring Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen as unprepared parents to be. Heigl plays an ambitious TV producer named Alison and Rogen takes on the role of Ben, a slacker who would rather hang with his friends and smoke weed than do anything slightly productive.
Wiig plays Alison’s bitchy coworker, who says to her, “I was surprised, because I feel the opposite,” when Alison’s boss says viewers like her being pregnant on-camera. She doesn’t stop there, quipping, “It just grosses me out, when I know people are pregnant.” While Wiig’s supporting role is on the small side, her extra-dry delivery is definitely memorable. The New York Times describes her character as “an assassin in a junior executive’s suit.”
3. Bridesmaids (2011)
In 2011, Wiig didn’t just take the lead, but co-wrote the breakout comedy Bridesmaids. Wiig plays Annie, a woman in her thirties who is kind of stuck. Her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married, has a new second best friend, and Annie is feeling like she’s being left behind. While it may just be in her head to start, she sort of makes it happen unintentionally. She gets fired from her retail job, gets kicked out of the wedding party… and things are really not looking good.
Bridesmaids is definitely a comedy, but it also has a message, like, “Don’t give up. Things can turn around.” In 2013, Wiig talked to the Hollywood Reporter about writing the script, saying, “There are a lot of sad moments in the film, which we (co-writer Annie Mumolo) really wanted. In the end, the story is the most important thing. It’s story first and funny second.”
4. Girl Most Likely (2012)
Girl Most Likely is another funny/sad movie. Wiig plays an aspiring playwright named Imogene Duncan. When things don’t quite work out in NYC, she fakes a suicide attempt to get her ex-boyfriend’s attention, but ends up in the hospital psychiatric ward. Her mother (Annette Bening) comes to collect her and take her home to look after her. When they get to the house, it turns out her mom has rented out Imogene’s room.
While she absolutely did not want to go home, it may be exactly what she needs. In this Beyond the Trailer clip, Wiig talks about playing SNL characters and then getting into film work, saying, “You have four or five minutes to get as many laughs as you can (on SNL). Films are obviously a little slower and you’re playing the same character for an hour and a half. I don’t know if you’d want to see some of the characters (on SNL) I did for an hour and half?” She makes a good point!
5. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
In 2013, Wiig leant her voice to super spy Lucy in Despicable Me 2 and its follow-up in 2017. When watching Lucy, we actually see Wiig. It’s not just her voice we hear, but it’s also her look and her mannerisms. Which is common place in moviemaking, for an animated character to be based off of the actual actor.
Lucy isn’t just a secret agent, but super villain-turned-good guy Gru’s (Steve Carell) love interest and a sweetheart to his three little girls. We cheer for Lucy as much as we cheer for Wiig. Wiig discussed portraying Lucy when talking to BlackTree TV, saying, “She’s a sweet badass. My favorite kind of person.”
6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
As mentioned above, in 2013 Wiig starred opposite Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Walter (Stiller) is a negative assets manager at Life Magazine and is prone to daydreaming. But, he may spend a little too much time in his head, resulting in him missing out on the real thing. He develops a crush on his coworker Cheryl, played by Wiig, and decides to take a chance and pursue a possible relationship.
This is one of the first times we see Wiig play the character straight. Sure, there’s some light banter, but Cheryl comes across as caring and sensitive, looking out for Walter. As well, she is a single mom, so her priorities are on her young son. It’s not the usual care-free, chatty, jovial characters we’ve seen of hers in the past (which we adore, but change can be good, too). In an interview with HeyUGuys, she talks about making the transition from comedy to drama, saying, “I love doing comedy. I love doing drama. This part was refreshing, because I just liked the character so much. And she was just very subtle and down to Earth and… quiet, I guess?”
7. The Skeleton Twins (2014)
Wiig teamed up with fellow SNL cast member Bill Hader for The Skeleton Twins. In this dramedy the two play estranged twins, Milo and Maggie, who coincidentally escape death on the same day and then agree to work on mending their broken relationship. Maggie invites Milo to come live with her, at least for a bit. They went ten years without talking and now they’re in very close quarters.
With Maggie being the married one, Milo feels like she looks down on him and he’s treated as lesser-than. But, that’s not necessarily the case and he may be projecting his feelings of inadequacy. Wiig and Hader sat down with Good Day Rochester and addressed working together, with Wiig saying, “We definitely feed off of each other and have very similar senses of humor.” Hader chimed in, saying, “The movie seamlessly goes back and forth between comedy and drama, which is a really hard tone to get (right).” So, while there are very emotional moments in the movie, the two manage to bring their signature lightness to them.
8. Downsizing (2017)
In 2017, Wiig stepped into the sci-fi genre, starring opposite Matt Damon in Downsizing. The premise revolves around taking full-sized adults, shrinking them down to teeny-tiny size and moving them to a newly built world, where everything is promised to be bigger, better and… cheaper. It’s part of a plan to help with overpopulation. Wiig and Damon play married couple Paul and Audrey. Paul goes through with the process successfully, but when he wakes up, there’s no Audrey. At the last minute, she changed her mind and decided to stay full-size. He’s now in this new world all alone.
One can judge Audrey for abandoning her husband, but it turns out she had doubts about their marriage even before “getting small” came up. In this clip, Wiig talks about reading the script for Downsizing, saying, “It was funny. It was really sad. It had kind of everything. I was in from the get-go.” We’re seeing a pattern with Wiig and funny/sad movies.
9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (2019)
In Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Wiig plays a “grown up mean girl.” Those are her words, not ours. And, they are just perfect. Wiig stars opposite Cate Blanchett, who plays the eccentric Bernadette. The two women, both married and mothers, are neighbors and do not get along… at all. Bernadette is a fly by the seat of your pants kind of mom and Wiig’s character, Audrey, is very by the book. Bernadette has the upper hand in their tense relationship, as she just does not care. And for Audrey, caring too much and trying so hard might be her downfall. She might even be a bit resentful of Bernadette’s free spirit and cavalier attitude.
Audrey is the kind of character who rubs people the wrong way, including viewers. And, it’s not just us, because in the above video, Wiig says it’s the first time she played someone who is “unlikable” and Audrey is “that woman who is so caught up in the neighborhood and local society.” But, we have a feeling Audrey might redeem herself.
10. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 27, 2018
And, finally, we can look for Wiig in the forthcoming Wonder Woman 1984, opposite Gal Gadot in the title role, premiering on October 2. Wiig is set to take on the role of the villainous Cheetah, and like many DC Comics characters, she has a daytime alter-ego. It’s this incarnation — Wiig as archaeologist Dr. Barbara Minerva — we see in director Patty Jenkins’ tweet above.
The movie is set in the 1980s, so her outfit is a little over-sized. But don’t let this frumpy look deceive you, when she gets into Cheetah-mode, we’re expecting slick and streamlined. The comic book character is in fact British, but we’ll have to wait for actual footage with audio to confirm whether that detail has made it into the film. As her name predicts, when Minerva becomes Cheetah, she will develop superhero feline powers, including intensified strength, speed, sense of smell, night vision and… hunting abilities.
Wiig hasn’t given any interviews about this casting… she is such the drama queen (in the best way).
Do you prefer Wiig’s comedic or dramatic roles? Or… a combo of both!?Read More