Sunday 18 February 2018

Kirsten Wiig awaits approval of David Bowie for her version of Space Oddity

Kristen Wiig is hoping that David Bowie approves of her version of Space Oddity
Kristen Wiig is hoping that David Bowie approves of her version of Space Oddity
Kristen Wiig with Ben Stiller. Photo: Getty

She shot to fame with Bridesmaids, and Kristen Wiig's honeymoon of success goes on.

Taking on a David Bowie song is a bold ask for anyone, let alone someone who doesn't consider themselves a natural singer, like Kristen Wiig, for instance.

The actress, best known as reluctant maid of honour Annie in 2011's hit comedy Bridesmaids, covers Space Oddity in her new film, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

She's just relieved that Bowie hasn't lambasted her version - yet.

"Singing was really fun," says the 40-year-old, laughing. "I don't consider myself a professional singer by any means, but we recorded at the Electric Lady in New York, which was incredible.

"I'm a huge Bowie fan, so I hope he approves. I haven't heard from him yet!"

The film - based on a short story by James Thurber, first published in 1939 - focuses on Mitty (Ben Stiller), a man who escapes his anonymous life by daydreaming. But it's not long before long he finds himself thrown into the real world, with a very real love interest in kindly colleague Cheryl (Wiig).

To help get the creative juices flowing, Wiig watched old classics, like The Apartment and Local Hero. Stiller, however, had other ideas: "Oh my gosh, he was like, 'Let's watch Zoolander, The Cable Guy...' - all his movies!"

Like the story's protagonist, the actress admits that she often finds herself drifting off into fantasy land.

"All the time," she admits, nodding. "More than I should. My mind just goes all over the place.

"I think we all daydream and find ourselves thinking about things that have nothing to do with the situation."

But unlike the majority of us, Wiig's life really has become somewhat of a fantasy over the past couple of years.

Raised in New York and Pennsylvania, she initially embarked on an art course at the University Of Arizona, and took an acting class on a whim.

A teacher suggested she take it up professionally and, on their advice, Wiig dropped out of college and headed to Los Angeles where she joined The Groundlings, the legendary improvisation company which boasts the likes of Will Ferrell and Melissa McCarthy as former alumni.

She started making a name for herself in her early thirties, when she joined Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Unfailingly polite and pleasant, the softly-spoken star is a world away from her celebrated SNL impersonations, which include Drew Barrymore, Barbie, Jamie Lee Curtis and Bjork.

After a few small but memorable roles, notably as Katherine Heigl's passive aggressive colleague, Jill, in 2007's Knocked Up, Wiig had her breakthrough in the form of Bridesmaids, the sparkling comedy she also co-wrote with long-time friend Annie Mumolo, about a group of mismatched women who find themselves thrown - hilariously - together for a mutual pal's wedding.

"My life has changed a lot [since Bridesmaids]," admits the actress. "I'm very grateful to have the opportunities I've had because of that film. It was an amazing experience."

There may not be much spare time for Wiig at the moment but she's pleased with how her busy career is panning out.

Although she's previously ruled out a sequel to Bridesmaids, she and Mumolo, who met years ago at The Groundlings, are still writing. "Me and Annie are figuring out what we're writing right now, but we're starting ," she reveals.

And watching Stiller, who also directed The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, has fuelled her interest in taking to the coveted director's chair too.

"I've been wanting to direct for a really long time," Wiig says. "Watching someone like Ben, who's done it so many times and is starring in the movie as well, was very inspiring."

That said, she isn't sure how much multitasking she'd like to do.

"I don't know if I would be in a movie that I directed, probably not the first one, it just seems like a lot to handle," she admits. "I don't really know how Ben could have done so much on this whole project.

"He was intensely involved with every single aspect of the movie, wearing all these hats, and then he'd step into the scene as an actor, too. I learned a lot from him."

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty isn't the only movie she pops up in over the festive period. As a huge fan of Anchorman, she was thrilled when she landed a role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues as Chani, the object of Steve Carell's affections, who wears a rather distracting permed wig.

"That wig is a whole different character in that movie," she says, laughing. "I loved it. I mean, I love those guys and it was a really great experience, and the outfits were really fun.

"The first film is one of my all time favourites, so it was very exciting."

But for all the fame and success she's enjoyed in recent years, it's not on the red carpet that she's happiest, it's home.

"I haven't had a lot of time off recently but [when I do] I'd like to visit my family and go home," Wiig says, smiling.

"That's the best thing to do."

:: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is released on Thursday, December 26

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