16 Secrets About Bridesmaids That Will Have You Readddy to Paaaartay

We're trying to hooooold on to the memories of Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo's raucous R-rated comedy Bridesmaids by sharing these behind-the-scenes secrets.

By Sarah Grossbart Jul 27, 2021 3:54 PMTags
Watch: "Bridesmaids" Turns 10!: E! News Rewind

Still hoping for a Bridemaids sequel? We wouldn't recommend holding on for one more day. 

Because nearly from the moment Kristen Wiig released the wickedly funny, raunchy rom-com she wrote with longtime friend and fellow comedian Annie Mumolo on May 13, 2011, she was clear they weren't wedded to a follow-up. "Annie and I aren't planning a sequel," she insisted to The Hollywood Reporter just eight months after the film eclipsed box office expectations, settling an "Are women actually funny?" debate the creators weren't aware was even happening. Having spent the previous five-plus years fully committed to the project, they were ready to move on. Added Wiig, "We are writing something else."

That turned out to be their escapist romp Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Released this past February to much acclaim, the flick incited another round of pleas for Bridesmaids to head back down the aisle. And after 10 years to think about it, Wiig's answer was a resounding...no thank you. 

Celebrity Bridesmaids

Noting that they had "other ideas" in the works, Wiig explained to Andy Cohen during a SiriusXM Town Hall with Mumolo and their Barb costar Jamie Dornan that they "weren't really interested in, like, going back and writing another one." 

That's been the case this entire time, though the former Saturday Night Live standout worried that gave people the wrong idea. "I just don't want it to be translated as a negative thing, because we obviously love the movie," she continued. They just felt as though "we told that story and we were just so excited to do other things. I mean, Bridesmaids is obviously very close to our heart and we love it." 

The film—which introduced the world to an unknown Aussie named Rebel Wilson and the comedic force that is Melissa McCarthy, the actress previous known as Gilmore Girls' Sookie—grossed nearly $300 million worldwide. Audiences turned out in droves to laugh along with Milwaukee-based bride-to-be Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and her squad, including her spiraling BFF Annie (Wiig), immaculately put-together Helen (Rose Byrne), naive newlywed Becca (Ellie Kemper), cynical housewife Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and foul-mouthed future sister-in-law Megan (McCarthy). 

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Nominated for a Best Picture Golden Globe, it also earned Oscar nods for screenwriters Wiig and Mumolo and supporting actress McCarthy and even stoked renewed interest in '90s pop group Wilson Phillips, their surprise cameo at Lillian's wedding serving as the perfect cheesy dance-filled send-off.

And while a decade later, it seems unlikely that things will go our way re: a sequel, we are still, as Annie would say, readdddy to paaaaartay. So scrap together your funds for that plane ticket, because we're taking a trip down memory lane. 

1. It took filmmakers a long time to commit to Bridesmaids—more than five years, revealed screenwriters Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. The first table read took place in 2007, which is when producer Judd Apatow reached out to director Paul Feig. "He likes to get [people] he trusts together to do a table read, so the writers can hear how it's working and adjust from that," Feig noted to Entertainment Weekly. Both Wendi McLendon-Covey and Melissa McCarthy were on hand for that initial read-through, though McCarthy told the mag, "I definitely didn't read for Megan. And it was a very different script [from] what we ended up with."

When the project finally moved forward three years later, "I was stunned," noted McLendon-Covey, who knew Wiig and Mumolo from their time with L.A. sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings. "Stunned."

2. While Wiig would star in the film as maid of honor Annie, the production delays meant that Mumolo had to RSVP no to her planned role as one of the titular bridesmaids. "Because of the process of the movie, we were on-again, off-again so many times for so many years," Mumolo explained to The New York Times in a joint February interview with Wiig. "I was like, I'm living my life and I was having a family. So I got pregnant. We had gotten sort of shelved and then they called like two weeks later and said, 'We're back on!' And it was like, I'm pregnant. So that's going to be great."

By the time they began shooting, Mumolo was seven months along "and I had my son a week and a half after we wrapped," she continued. "I couldn't play that role, so we redeveloped it and we recast it." Though they did find a place for Mumolo as Wiig's seatmate back in coach on that turbulent flight to Las Vegas. 

3. Both Rose Byrne (who eventually nabbed the part of well-to-do Helen, Annie's instant rival) and Mindy Kaling auditioned to play bride Lillian, but Wiig's fellow Groundlings and Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph was the obvious choice.

"Kristen and I were actual friends," Rudolph explained to Entertainment Weekly. "I came in and did a chemistry read with her, late in the process. It was very clear to me that there was a desire to see a real relationship on-screen." As such, noted Feig, they didn't need to get into a whole backstory about the characters' relationship: "It's like, clearly, they've been friends forever."

4. Filmmakers courted a lot of actresses for the six main roles, but it was the part of sex-obsessed, potty-mouthed Megan "that we saw a ton of people for," Feig told EW. Among them was Australian transplant Rebel Wilson, who revealed on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show this past March that she "was the second choice." (There's an always the bridesmaid, never the bride joke in there somewhere.) 

Still, she continued, "I guess they liked my audition and added me into the film." Thus the role of Brynn, Annie's second flatmate was born. "There was never supposed to be two roommates, only one," Wilson explained of producers dreaming up she and Matt Lucas' brother-sister duo. "So I just kind of added myself in in a way to the scenes." 

5. And not only did Wilson ink her first American film, she also found a new place to live. She and new pal Lucas found a West Hollywood home to share, she revealed to Conan O'Brien in 2012, so "instead of annoying Kristen Wiig, we're now annoying all the neighbors nearby."

6. As much as Wilson impressed Feig, it was McCarthy who left him truly floored. "We had seen a lot of people to play Megan—it was late in the process that Kristen and Annie said, 'You gotta meet our friend Melissa,'" he told Glamour last year, "and she came in and her take on the character was so different than anyone else that it took me a good 10 seconds to even realize what she was doing."

As he sat there baffled by her audition, he recalled in a 2011 interview with GQ, "At first I was like, 'Is she playing it as a lesbian?' Then it got into all this weird sex stuff." He realized pretty quickly that he was watching a genius at work—"The mistake a lot of people make in casting is they get so tied to the words and the character they wrote that they don't see when somebody is better than what they have on the page"—but an in-the-dark McCarthy later admitted that she worried she'd pushed things too far. 

"I love those no-bulls--t women with close-cropped hair that you'll see together and think, 'Is that her partner?' Then they talk about their husbands and six kids. I just love anybody who's that comfortable in her own skin," she explained to GQ of her inspiration. "But the whole ride home from the audition, I was thinking, 'I got too weird. Should I turn the car around and do that cheesy actor thing of 'I can do it better! Give me another shot!'"

7. Having scored the part, she cooked up quite the inspiration for her character's appearance. "Melissa said she wanted Megan to look like Guy Fieri from the Food Network," Byrne shared with GQ, a nod to McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone's love of his series Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

And though she got away with the golf shorts, comfort sandals and ill-fitting culottes, "I wanted to wear a short white spiky wig, and they were like, 'You can't actually be Guy Fieri,'" McCarthy told the mag. "I kept wanting to wear crazy white Oakleys on the back of my head, like he does, but somehow they never got in."

8. With a cast made up of six Groundlings alumni (Wiig, Mumolo, Rudolph, McLendon-Covey, McCarthy and Falcone), the improv was off the charts. "In the rehearsal process, you really got to know everyone's characters before you're shooting," McCarthy told Entertainment Weekly. "Even if you didn't use the specific information, you'd start to build this backstory. We had this history as the characters. You'd get more and more comfortable with how [you were] going to play off of each other. I just remember thinking, 'If this is what making movies is, this is mind-blowing.'"

Given free rein to play, "I'll be honest, I can't remember what was scripted and what came out in improv anymore," Rudolph said. "By the time we actually started shooting, we were all aware of the creative process: Come in, read the scenes, and then improvise. There was a stenographer who was typing everything that we were improvising. Then we'd come back and there'd be new pages."

9. Among the funniest scenes to shoot was Lillian's engagement party, which saw Annie and Helen go toe-to-designer-clad-toe for the first time. "During the toasts, Paul let Kristen and Rose one-up each other for so long, it turned into The Gong Show," McLendon-Covey recalled to EW of the takes that saw Byrne ad-libbing Thai. (They later swapped in her off-the-cuff remarks with actual Thai phrases.) "One would come in, take the mic from the other. That's probably the time I laughed the hardest on set."

Agreed McCarthy, "It went on forever. I just kept laughing. I remember thinking, "Oh, I'm going to have a hard time getting through this movie without ruining takes."

10. Aaaaaand action! Really wanting to start the film with, uh, a bang, Feig agreed to shoot his "least favorite thing," turning Wiig's sex scene with hookup buddy Jon Hamm into an action sequence. "Jon Hamm and Kristen are so funny that we said, 'Let's not look at this as a sex scene, let's look at this as a fight scene,'" he detailed to Glamour. "That's what it is, a professional wrestling scene. Shooting it, we just had this camera crane going around like, 'Next position! Next position!' It was like this big action scene. There's nothing sexy about that scene at all, and that's what made it so fun."

11. Feig swears the fake vomit, employed in the infamous food poisoning-fueled bridal salon scene, actually tasted good. Well, "Okay," as he put it to Glamour. "It's a concoction," he said. "I know there's oatmeal for a little bit of texture, and there's some chopped up vegetables. I'm trying to remember—I have pictures of them somewhere mixing up these big vats of throw up."

Delightful imagery aside, he continued, the process is pretty straightforward: "You literally come over with a cup and go—here you go! And they fill their mouth and let it fly."

12. What was supposed to happen in Vegas stayed on the cutting room floor thanks to The Hangover's 2009 release mid-production. "It was so big and successful and had done Vegas so well that we were kind of like, Why would we do it again?" Feig reasoned to Glamour of scrapping the entire, messy Sin City bachelorette party adventure. "I said, 'They should just not get to Vegas. It should all fall apart on the plane.'"

13. What resulted, though, was "way funnier than anything we would've done in Vegas," Feig told EW. With Wiig tied up with Saturday Night Live commitments, Mumolo went to work cranking out a 16-page scene filled with some of the film's most memorable one-liners. (Think: "Help me, I'm poor," "Whatever you say, Stove," and, of course, "I'm readdddy to paaaartay.")

When Feig got to Wiig's "There's a colonial woman on the wing" line, "I laughed so hard because I love anything that's absurd, but it still makes perfect sense to somebody," he explained. "That's just out of the genius mind of Annie Mumolo."

14. One line didn't make the cut, though, as McCarthy and husband Falcone (as Air Marshall Jon) struggled to get through their flirtatious encounter. "There was one joke—I can't remember now. I had to get through the order of it for the joke to make sense," McCarthy shared with Entertainment Weekly. "Every time I got to a certain point, Ben would start to giggle, and we couldn't get it."

Falcone still remembers the exchange that they just couldn't land. "Your foot's in the doorway and you said, 'Do you like this foot?'" he described. "I'm like, 'I don't know.' And you're like, 'I've got another one like it. I can reach back above my head and comb my own goddamned hair.' And then you tried to do it with your foot—you tried to bring your foot all the way to comb your hair. That's when I lost it. It was ruined."

15. Among the other bits left out of the more than two-hour romp: McCarthy's improv about a squirrel infestation that had led to one of the rodents burrowing into her vagina ("I could never get it into the movie, but it made me laugh so hard," said Feig), a party scene that had them throwing an old woman in the air and catching her with a blanket ("Apparently somebody had this experience," he told Glamour) and Paul Rudd's blind date with Wiig's Annie! 

16. Filming was every bit as fun as you would think. "At one point Kristen Wiig hired a bus to drive all the women in the cast and crew around L.A. We ended up at a male strip club on Hollywood Boulevard and got lap dances," Byrne revealed to InStyle in 2013. "It was brilliant!" (For anyone experiencing our same levels of FOMO, Wilson shared a few pics on Instagram in 2019.) 

By the time they wrapped, McLendon-Covey revealed to Entertainment Weekly, "I cried afterwards. It was such a fun experience. I didn't want it to end. I loved those girls." For Ellie Kemper the whole shoot "felt like you were at camp," she said. "You were making a movie with your friends. I'm not saying that you can't have a special bond with a man, but the female bond felt very unique. It felt powerful."

Watch Bridesmaids any time online here!

This story was originally published on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 12 a.m. PT.