If you don’t recognize the name Rebel Wilson, it’s likely you know her face. Since stealing scenes as Kristin Wiig's annoying roommate in the 2011 hit Bridesmaids, the 26-year-old Aussie has become a ubiquitous presence with lively appearances on late-night talk shows and in a slate of films including the recent hit Bachelorette, the raucous Australian comedy A Few Best Men from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott, Chris Colfer's new teen-com Struck by Lightning, and the upcoming Michael Bay–directed action flick Pain & Gain. Wilson has another potential smash on her résumé with Pitch Perfect, Jason Moore’s deliriously entertaining musical comedy about collegiate a cappella competitions (in select theaters today and opening wider next week) in which she plays the self-deprecating but ridiculously confident Fat Amy. Wilson recently sat down with The Advocate to discuss belting Lady Gaga during her audition, kissing girls onstage Down Under, and getting hit on by homeless black men.
The Advocate: Your skillful singing is one of the big surprises in Pitch Perfect. Which song did you use for your audition?
Rebel Wilson: I actually sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” because last year when I auditioned that was a huge, huge hit. And I didn’t really know what the song was about — I should’ve looked into it more. But I just loved the chorus and I knew I could belt it out, so I went in to Jason Moore, and I did my own body percussion just to add that extra little flavor and just belted it out because I knew they really wanted to see whether I could sing or not. And at the end I was so nervous because they just sat there, and then Jason’s like, “You’re a really good singer.” So I was like, “sweet,” and then I got the role.
I’m told that you were the very first actor cast.
Yeah, for some reason I was cast months before they properly started casting the movie. I think because they thought Fat Amy was such a specific character, they needed a bigger girl who was really good at comedy but who could also sing as well. They were looking at me and Adele.
Hold on! You beat out Adele? Did she audition?
I don’t know whether she actually auditioned. You’d have to ask Jason. Obviously, she’s like the world’s most amazing singer, so I knew when I went in there that I had to deliver and prove that I could sing.
So this must have been after Bridesmaids had been released if they were pursuing you.
Yeah, it was soon after Bridesmaids. Even though I only had four scenes in that movie, I did get a lot of attention from my character. Yeah. [Laughs] They had so much footage of myself and Matt Lucas and Kristen Wiig that they could’ve made a whole movie with all of our improvised footage. But the movie was called Bridesmaids — it was not about the roommates.
But there have been reports that you and Matt are working on a spin-off about your characters. Is this true?
Oh, we’d love to do a spin-off of our characters. I think Brynn and Gil would be a really great spin-off. We’re both so busy, though. He’s a huge U.K. comedian and is doing so many shows there, but we live together here in the U.S. We’re real-life roommates now in West Hollywood. He’s great.