There’s something about Kristen Wiig’s brand of comedy. Her comic characters might initially come off as pathetic but, make no mistake, they are on a journey of their journey, discovering some truths about themselves along the way. As one of the funniest women in Hollywood turns 49, here are some of Kristen Wiig’s performances that are worth a repeat watch.
The role of Annie Walker, a demotivated, down-on-her-luck baker, was custom-made for Wiig, who co-wrote the script with Annie Mumolo. A wedding and the rivalry between two of the bride’s closest friends – one of them is Annie – drives the plot of this ensemble comedy.
Annie becomes the cause of a series of disastrous incidents during the planning of her best friend Lillian Donovan’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding after she goes overboard with her antics to be the most important friend. You laugh at Annie’s misery while also empathising with her journey and eventual realisation of what she wants from life. Wiig makes sure she’s the heart of the film despite the presence of comic talents like Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph.
Zoolander 2 (2016)
Wiig’s role as Alexanya Atoz, the queen of haute couture, in Zoolander 2 is hilarious, dark and memorable. In the sequel of the Ben Stiller-led action-comedy film Zoolander, Wiig has short appearances but plays a major role. She is one of the villains of the film and her fashion company, House of Atoz, is central to the plot. Alexanya is the epitome of a vainglorious fashionista who talks about wanting to kill children because their youthful skin makes her jealous, and Wiig brings to life this over-the-top character with a conviction that is a hallmark of her comic acting.
Wiig can hold our attention with great ease even when she’s flanked by a bunch of gifted actors, and Ghostbusters proved it once more. In this all-female reboot of Ghostbusters of 1984, we see the return of the astounding Kristen Wiig-Melissa McCarthy combo that left us in splits in Bridesmaids.
Particle physicist and paranormal investigation expert Erin Gilbert (Wiig) reunites with her estranged friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) to form the new Ghostbusters crew after a paranormal encounter. While the rest of the cast delivers humour in an onslaught of punchlines, Wiig’s more serious character acts as a foil to her goofy crewmembers, perfectly spacing out the comedy.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
A far cry from the comic roles that Wiig is known for, Wonder Woman 1984 gave her the opportunity to steal the thunder from none other than Wonder Woman. As the geologist Barbara Minerva, Wiig channels a nerdy scientist who goes from being socially invisible due to her unremarkable looks and personality to supervillain Cheetah. Shedding her funny-woman image, Wiig takes on action sequences and goes toe-to-toe with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
Her voice roles
There are several major animated franchises and films which Wiig has been a part of. Her first voice cameo was in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) where she acted as a beaver. In 2010, Wiig became a part of the How to Train Your Dragon film series by voicing one of the twin Viking-turned-dragon-riders Ruffnut Thorston, now a franchise staple. The Despicable Me franchise saw Wiig go from voicing the orphanage director Miss Hattie in the first film (2010) to being the secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru’s (Steve Carell) love interest in Despicable Me 2 (2013) and 3 (2017).
However, her voice role as Brenda in Sausage Party was very different from her child-friendly roles in the other animated films. The adult animated movie has Wiig voice the anthropomorphic bun that is in love with Frank (Seth Rogen), the anthropomorphic sausage.