The Untold Truth Of Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids made history in 2011. Prior to the film, conventional Hollywood wisdom claimed moviegoers had no interest in seeing a bunch of hilarious women headlining a big-screen comedy. The unapologetically outrageous movie about a group of mismatched bridesmaids attending a friend's wedding flipped the script and proved that not only could women bring the funny, but female-led comedies also had the potential to become box-office blockbusters. 

The premiere of Bridesmaids in 2011 can lay claim to even more accomplishments. Not only did the film transform its star and co-writer Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live scene-stealer to bona fide Hollywood powerhouse, Bridesmaids also propelled co-star Melissa McCarthy to superstardom while busting open the floodgates for the tsunami of female-centric comedies that followed, ranging from Amy Schumer's Trainwreck to the Bad Moms franchise to the raunchy and raucous Girls Trip.

Anyone who's seen the film can agree that Bridesmaids is undeniably hilarious, but how much do fans really know about the groundbreaking comedy and the long and fascinating journey to bring it to the screen? Find out by lifting the curtain to reveal the untold truth of Bridesmaids.

How Kristen Wiig's bit part in Knocked Up led to Bridesmaids

Kristen Wiig had only been a member of the Saturday Night Live cast for about a year when she landed a bit part in Knocked Up, the blockbuster 2007 comedy starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a mismatched couple whose one-night stand results in an unexpected pregnancy. 

Wiig's brief performance as Heigl's passive-aggressive manager at the E! network left the film's director, Judd Apatow, hugely impressed. "There was literally no part there at all," Apatow told the Mercury News. "We just improvised on set. What shocked me in the test screenings was that on the first sentence out of her mouth, she got a gigantic laugh. The audience didn't need to get to know her. They just loved her."

On the strength of that small role, Apatow asked Wiig to write a movie for herself to star in, that he would produce. Wiig and writing partner Annie Mumolo pitched Apatow the idea that would ultimately become Bridesmaids. "Judd didn't give me any parameters," Wiig told The Wall Street Journal of the script, which took about "four or five years" and "a lot of rewrites" to bring to the screen.

Bridesmaids became producer Judd Apatow's highest-grossing movie

As a director and producer, Judd Apatow has been responsible for numerous big-screen hits. Yet when it comes to box-office receipts, Bridesmaids towers above them all. In fact, E! News reported it only took the film 23 days to hit the $100-million mark at the domestic box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the film made over $169 million domestically and $288 million worldwide — not only a huge milestone for a female-led, R-rated comedy, but also the most successful of Apatow's films, including Knocked Up.

Whenever there's money to be made, Hollywood takes notice — and that was absolutely the case with Bridesmaids. In an op-ed he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter, producer David T. Friendly described what he called "the Bridesmaids effect." Hollywood studios, he wrote, had always been skeptical that there was an audience for a raunchy comedy featuring an all-female cast.

After Bridesmaids brought in more than $26 million in its opening weekend, with an audience that skewed 67 percent female, the floodgates opened and producers immediately began taking pitches for female-centric comedies in hopes of producing the next Bridesmaids.

Why Hollywood treated Bridesmaids like a "test case" for female-centric comedies

As the co-writer and star of Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig was understandably under stress — particularly since the film also marked her first-ever leading role in a big-screen project. Wiig wasn't the only one feeling the pressure.

According to Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, there was a lot riding on the film, given that Bridesmaids was literally being viewed as something of an experiment by Hollywood bigwigs, who remained unconvinced that a female-led comedy could actually make money.

Speaking with E! News, Feig explained that leading up to Bridesmaids' release, "the industry was hyper-focused on whether it was going to do well." In fact, Feig revealed, the fact that Bridesmaids was even being made in the first place led to a flurry of other writers pitching comedies appealing to women. At the time, however, studios were taking a wait-and-see attitude until Bridesmaids hit theaters and they could judge the results at the box office. "And that's really not cool to make us the test case; you never know how movies are gonna go, and if we screwed it up that's it for women?" Feig complained. "It's really unfair."

Kristen Wiig didn't want this iconic scene to be in Bridesmaids

Anyone who's seen Bridesmaids will remember one particularly outrageous scene, set in a bridal shop in which the women are trying on their gowns for the upcoming wedding — shortly after eating an intestinally distressing meal at a sketchy restaurant. The result: a hilariously disgusting bout of food poisoning — en masse. While that scene has arguably become the movie's most iconic, star and co-writer Kristen Wiig originally didn't want it in the movie.

"The scene was not our idea and it was not in the original script and we didn't love it," Wiig told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast. "It was strongly suggested for us to put that in there. I didn't want to see people s******* and puking."

As Bridesmaids director Paul Feig told Variety, that scene replaced an earlier one that didn't make it into the film, a fantasy sequence featuring Matt Damon that "was really funny" but "tonally, it just didn't fit in the movie." Producer Judd Apatow offered a solution. "We were wondering what do we do, and so Judd just popped in and said, 'F*** it, they all get food poisoning'. And I'm like, 'Oh my God, this is hilarious!'"

The surprising reason why Maya Rudolph was cast in Bridesmaids

Maya Rudolph was Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig's real-life pal and Saturday Night Live co-star when she was cast in the film, which wound up being a big part of how she landed the role. In an oral history of Bridesmaids for Entertainment Weekly, Rudolph explained how she came to be cast in the movie. "Kristen and I were actual friends," Rudolph told EW. "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."

According to Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, there was a very simple reason why Rudolph was given the role of Bridesmaids' bride, Lillian, the lifelong bestie of Wiig's character, Annie. "I cast Maya because I wanted to cast someone who was actually Kristen's best friend," he said, explaining that would allow the movie's plot to be streamlined without having to include too much exposition explaining the characters' friendship to the audience. The on-camera chemistry between the two, he added, was all that was required to convince moviegoers that "clearly, they've been friends forever."

Getting "too weird" in her Bridesmaids audition landed Melissa McCarthy her breakout role

While Bridesmaids provided a launching pad for many of the actresses who appeared in the film, Melissa McCarthy's hilarious portrayal of gruff Megan skyrocketed her to big-screen stardom. Yet as director Paul Feig told Entertainment Weekly, the role that put McCarthy on the entertainment industry's radar was "one of the last ones we cast," admitting "we saw a ton of people" for the role.

When McCarthy auditioned, Feig knew immediately he could stop looking. "[Melissa] came in and auditioned in the way that she played it in the movie. I hadn't seen it done that way. It took me about 15 seconds to realize it was funny... I was like, 'This is weird!' Then: 'Oh my God.'"

McCarthy, however, worried that she may have gone a little too far in her audition. "I was like, 'What have I done? I went too weird!'" she told EW, adding that she had also heard rumors that the character she wanted to play might not even make it into the movie. "I remember someone saying that [the part] wasn't working out, so maybe they would just get rid of her!" added McCarthy.

Rebel Wilson initially auditioned for a different role in Bridesmaids

Rebel Wilson's career took off after her small-but-memorable role in Bridesmaids as Brynn, one of the weird roommates (alongside Little Britain's Matt Lucas) of Kristen Wiig's Annie. In a memorable scene, Brynn explains that when she read Annie's diary, she thought she was simply reading "a sad handwritten book."

Speaking with The Producers Guide podcast, the Australian actress revealed that when she auditioned for Bridesmaids, she was trying out for the role of Megan, ultimately portrayed by Melissa McCarthy. "I was the second choice," Wilson explained. "So close!"

Part of the process, Wilson revealed, involved an improvised audition with Kristen Wiig that lasted for "over an hour." While she admitted it was "nerve-wracking," she proclaimed, "I remember crushing it." Although Wilson "gave her a run for her money," it was McCarthy who ultimately got the part. But, there was a silver lining. Based on the strength of her audition, producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig decided to create the role of Brynn specifically for her. "There was never supposed to be two roommates, it was just one, and they'd already cast Matt Lucas — who, weirdly, I thought I looked like as well," said Wilson.

The reason why Judd Apatow axed a Vegas bachelorette party scene

While Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow added the infamous food-poisoning scene, he also cut a completely different scene that star/co-writer Kristen Wiig and Wiig's writing partner Annie Mumolo originally had in the script. Weeks before filming was set to begin, Apatow made the surprising decision to ditch a fairly extensive scene involving the women throwing a bachelor party in Las Vegas.

Apatow's decision to cut the sequence was not random. At the time, Mumolo told the Mercury News, The Hangover had just come out and become a massive hit. Given that film's plot was entirely focused on a Vegas bachelor party, Apatow was understandably concerned that if Bridesmaids trod similar ground it would be viewed as an also-ran or worse: a rip-off.

"Judd just said Vegas has been done, Hangover did it, and we don't want to be the dead horse," Mumolo said, admitting it was tough to see a huge chunk of the script she and Wiig had spent nearly five years writing and rewriting suddenly tossed aside. "I was like: 'I'm going to throw up," she said. "'Something's going on inside my body.'"

Kristen Wiig butted heads with the studio over a Bridesmaids sequel

Given Bridesmaids' phenomenal success at the box office, raking in nearly $300 million worldwide, executives at the film's studio immediately began making plans for a sequel. There was one teensy problem, however: The film's star and co-writer Kristen Wiig had zero interest in Bridesmaids 2. In fact, she vehemently opposed the idea.

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Wiig admitted it "wasn't a hard decision" to pass on a sequel. "We knew during the first one, this was it. We would have made a lot of money if there was a second one, but that's not my goal in my creative life," she declared.

That is not what the studio wanted to hear. In a followup, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Universal Studios boss Ron Meyer took Wiig to dinner. He reportedly hoped to change her mind by tempting her with an eight-figure payday. Wiig, however, would not budge. That led to a somewhat bizarre situation when sources told THR that Universal was planning to proceed with a Bridesmaids sequel — with or without Wiig — and possibly shifting the focus to Melissa McCarthy's character. Thankfully, those plans didn't materialize.

Why Bridesmaids director Paul Feig predicts there will never be a sequel

During a 2017 Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival (via Yahoo! News), director Paul Feig revealed his opinion on a Bridesmaids sequel sans Kristen Wiig. He admitted that "the whole reason that movie worked was [Kristen Wiig's character] is a mess and she learned how to repair her life, so you can't do a sequel and she's a mess and has to repair her life again."

Feig elaborated in an interview with GamesRadar+"It always sounds so easy, like a done thing, but it's that spirit of discovery you have in that first movie that really pulls you along, whether you notice that or not," he explained. "You watch the character become something else."

Despite the antipathy toward a sequel, Melissa McCarthy admitted that, under the right circumstances, she'd be ready to reprise her role. "If Kristen [Wiig] and Annie [Mumolo] wrote something, if it was like on the back of a napkin and they wanted me to perform it in the backyard, I would do it," McCarthy told the now-defunct website HitFix (via Entertainment Weekly). "But I'll let those ladies decide that."

The stars of Bridesmaids never expected the movie to be so successful

Hollywood executives paid very close attention to how Bridesmaids performed at the box office, as its success could — and ultimately did — reveal a previously untapped market for female-driven comedies. However, the stars of the film weren't thinking in those terms.

"We didn't have the expectations of a movie that other people did," Bridesmaids' Maya Rudolph said in a 2019 interview with IndieWire. "We weren't making a 'women's movie.' We were making a story, and we're all women in it." While that matter-of-fact attitude may seem obvious, Rudolph highlighted the underlying sexism in the press coverage of Bridesmaids. "I think we were all very surprised at the continuous headline that was, 'Wow, female comedies, what a big deal,'" she said. "Like, b****, I'm just making comedies! I happen to be a woman!" she continued. "[That] has kind of always been the story in my head, and for all of us."

However, Rudolph admitted she no longer bothers trying to convince people to embrace her way of thinking. "It's hard to get away from the story that people want to tell about you ...," she added. "I've definitely given up on trying to persuade people to look at it differently."

Bridesmaids resurrected a 1990 pop hit

One unintended consequence to emerge from the success of Bridesmaids proved to be a benefit for pop trio Wilson Phillips, who saw their 1990 hit "Hold On" experience a massive surge in sales due to its high profile in the movie.

Wilson Phillips — comprised of Chynna Phillips and sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson — are seen performing the song during the wedding of Maya Rudolph's character, Lillian. Thanks to Bridesmaids' powerful performance at the box office, Billboard reported that "Hold On" experienced a 620-percent spike in sales after Bridesmaids' opening weekend. Meanwhile, the group's manager told Billboard his phone had been ringing nonstop, and he'd received several messages about Wilson Phillips' availability.

Filming their brief scene, Carnie Wilson revealed to Billboard, took the group into unfamiliar territory. "I'm more of a music business chick than a movie business chick, though, so actually shooting the scene was a new experience for me," Wilson admitted. In fact, the shoot kept them on the set "until two in the morning, but it was amazing." Wilson continued, "We spent time with Kristen Wiig, who is hysterical and so talented. We were just laughing the entire time."

The Bridesmaids cast shared their biggest wedding gripes

The cast of Bridesmaids not only played bridesmaids on screen, they've also been bridesmaids in real life. Recalling their own experiences, the movie's stars shared their biggest wedding gripes with GlamourBridesmaids star Kristen Wiig expressed a common complaint: receiving an invitation that informs guests "we're going to this place, and here are the flights, and we made dinner reservations, and suddenly you're out thousands of dollars."

For Wendy McClendon-Covey, who plays Rita in the film, her biggest grievance is when a bride cooks up a themed wedding that forces bridesmaids to dress accordingly. "No one believes me when I tell them about some of the outfits I had to wear back in the '90s," she joked, singling out the worst as "this purple confection that was made out of fabric so crappy that it changed colors before we wore it."

Melissa McCarthy, aka Megan in the film, is not a fan of weddings that cram in too many events. "I don't know what happened, but now you have a pre-rehearsal dinner and a rehearsal dinner and an after-rehearsal dinner-lunch and a wedding and a post-wedding brunch," she told the publication. "I wish you the best, but, my God, I'm not marrying you."

Bridesmaids' opening scene wasn't in the original script

Bridesmaids opens with a scene featuring Kristen Wiig's character, Annie, having awkward, awful sex with sleazy friend-with-benefits Ted, played by Jon Hamm. That scene, Wiig revealed to The Wall Street Journal, would not be in the movie had producer Judd Apatow not chimed in with an idea: "What if we have this really physical funny scene with you guys and you're having the worst sex of your life?"

In an interview with MTV News, the Bridesmaids cast joked about her love scene with the hunky Mad Men star's role. "He's usually the guy you call for awkward sex scenes," quipped Maya Rudolph. "I don't think I've ever seen somebody play such a slimy jerk but be like, 'Hey! It's cool!'" added Melissa McCarthy. "It's the weirdest energy. It's so good and weird."

When he took the role, Hamm didn't know he would be featured in one of filmdom's all-time worst sex scenes. "We were like, 'We're not quite sure what your character is going to be yet, it's not fully fleshed out yet,' and he was such a trouper and signed on," Wiig told MTV News. "And then we were like, 'OK, now we're doing a sex scene!'"