Interview: Rebel Wilson on Her Career and ‘Pitch Perfect’

We’ve seen a number of overnight acting sensations pop up and fade away over time. One such actress who we believe is going to be sticking around for a long time is Rebel Wilson.

The name may sound familiar, and it should. She first hit the Hollywood scene when she appeared as the intriguing roommate in “Bridesmaids.” Now her career’s taken off, which is obvious from the number of roles she’s bagged since then, one of them being in “Pitch Perfect.” She sings, dances and cracks everyone up when she’s onscreen. So we got the chance to speak with Rebel about her life since “Bridesmaids,” doing raunchy improvisation with “Workaholics” star Adam DeVineand what else she’s got going for her in the near future.

How did the audition process go for you? Did you sing in the audition at all?

Rebel Wilson: I sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” for Jason Moore and I did my own body percussion. And then you sing the melody over the top of your own beat. So I did that. I was like well, if I’ve got to sing a cappella it makes sense that you’ve got your own little beat that you can groove to. Anna Kendrick does something similar in the movie with the cups. And I just had a feeling about it [the movie]. Even though technically this was a small movie, I just had a feeling it was going to be really popular and super fun.

And we heard you did a lot of improvisation.

Rebel Wilson: Yeah… [laughs] It’s also because Adam DeVine, who plays opposite me, is a great improviser as well. When we were on set together they would just have hours and hours of us saying s–t to each other.

Kay (Cannon) had written such a good character for me and originally I was going to be American in the movie. What happened was that we had four weeks of rehearsals before we did it. When I do American movies I try to sound American the whole time. Since we were singing and dancing ten hours a day, I couldn’t keep it up. And so I slipped and I started talking like this. Jason (Moore) heard me and said I want you to use your real voice in the movie. I was like no, I don’t want to do my own voice. I want to be an actor and do acting. [laughs] He said no, I’ve got a feeling it’ll be good with this. So that’s why when I went on set I just improvised Australian stuff to make it all kind of fit in.

Did you guys get really mean and raunchy when you were doing improv? 

Rebel Wilson: It’s not in the movie, but Adam kind of improvised and touched my breasts. Normally when you’re going to touch another performer you let them know, but we were just going crazy. And then I actually touched his… cause I was like whoa! Then I was saying a joke and then went there. He was like whoa! He didn’t expect it. It was like 4 AM in the morning because all the night shoots you see in the movie, like the night sequence where we’ve just been accepted into the group. It was 4 am in the morning and it was pretty cold. We had to entertain ourselves and I like to keep it fresh with each take. So yeah, that take we did go a little far but it was all good. We were having fun.

Did you grow up doing theater?

Rebel Wilson: No, I wasn’t a child actor or anything. My family is in dog showing so that’s what I was forced to do. We had beagles. I was a junior handler which is kind of like “Toddlers and Tiara” but with dogs. You’re dressed up in little outfits and you run around with the dogs, showing off the dogs. The weird thing is you don’t win very much money. You win like fifty dollars or a plastic jug. You don’t win the good stuff, yet you have to get up really early, bring all the dogs, all the equipment and go to the dog show. That’s why I love watching “Toddlers and Tiaras” because that was kind of like my life but with dogs.

Did you see the Christopher Guest dog show movie [“Best in Show”]?

Rebel Wilson: Yeah. When I saw that I was like “This is my life.” This is a really accurate documentary. [laughs] Some people are like they’re so wild but to me I grew up with people who act like that, the Australian version of that obviously, but they were like that. It was so weird how obsessed they were with their dogs and wore weird stuff. Sometimes people ask me where do you get some of your characters from and I tell them it’s from my crazy upbringing.

So how was landing the role in “Bridesmaids” and how has that changed your career?

Rebel Wilson: “Bridesmaids” was my first job here. I was so close to getting a couple of movies and I’m so glad it was “Bridesmaids” that was the first one. I went in and improvised with them and Kristen Wiig for an hour. It was just a regular room and Judd Apatow just said “Tell Kristen about your love life. Go.” I kept going for an hour and they filmed it all, because I originally went in for Melissa McCarthy’s role. I was a bit too young for that but they really liked my audition so they added me in as the roommate. There never was a female roommate in the script. And then of course when that movie came out last year, it was just like bang! I booked five movies within a week, and “Pitch Perfect” was one of them. I think I was the first person to be cast in this movie. I guess it was such a specific role so I was cast months before anybody else.

Kay Cannon [screenwriter] has said before that she went out after you for the role.

Rebel Wilson: Kay (Cannon) actually Facebooked me. She said “Hey, I’ve written this script.” Sometimes on Facebook you’re like “Is this serious?” But she messaged me and said that she’d really like me to read it and consider Fat Amy. I have actually played a character in Australia called Fat Mandy so I was like yeah! I’ve had experience. I totally could do that. And then when I read the script I was like yes, this is so funny. I knew I had to do it.

Since you’ve been working pretty much nonstop since “Bridesmaids,” have you gotten a chance to really kind of enjoy success and the perks that come with it? 

Rebel Wilson: It’s starting to get really crazy. For example there was today with having no sleep and flying in. Then I was at the MTV VMA’s and just sitting with Rihanna and Katy Perry. They knew my name. You just don’t think that will happen to you and you’re just like oh… Also I work as a writer as well so usually if I’m not acting I’m working on the development stuff down at Warner Bros. I’m working on a TV show [“Super Fun Night”].


“Pitch Perfect” is out in select theaters now and opens nationwide on October 5th.

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