Kristen Wiig is living vicariously through her Despicable Me 3 character, Lucy.
As a child, Kristen Wiig couldn’t grow up quickly enough. Shunning traditional children's’ TV programming for more adult fare, she recalls today, “I am a sitcom child because there weren’t many so-called kid movies I really enjoyed, except for films like Escape from Witch Mountain, where the kids were allowed to be adults. That and E.T, of course.
“When you’re a kid and you see those first comedies like Cannonball Run, or stuff you shouldn’t really be watching, it's just so edgy and surprising. I got into those kind of comedies pretty early on.”
Perhaps making up for a missing chapter in her youth, today Wiig has become the go-to voice for the huge family franchises How to Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me.
When STACK meets with her at Universal Studios in Hollywood – home to Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment group, responsible for the billion dollar Minion madness – she expresses unabashed joy at reclaiming a lost childhood through the Despicable Me movies, currently reprising her voice role as Lucy Wilde.
“Lucy is a very exaggerated version of me in the sense that I have to find broader and bigger ways to do things or say things, like what sound would she make when she does a karate chop?”
At the conclusion of Despicable Me 2, Wiig’s Lucy went off into the sunset and married Steve Carell’s Gru, today exploring married life in Despicable Me 3 with the surprise arrival of Gru’s long-lost twin.
“There’s a lot of unhappiness in the world right now, so I feel like it’s great to have movies be unpredictable, and sometimes it’s nice to have people drive off into the sunset. I think these movies are really funny and it’s good to be a part of something that you really actually watch and enjoy – and being with Steve, it’s just the greatest job.”
Wiig was one of the most popular characters during her time at Saturday Night Live; a long-time nursery for US comedy talent where John Belushi, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler all had their first breaks.
US audiences have recently been riveted by Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump and Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer, so when STACK asks Wiig if she’d like to return to play any one member of the Trump dictatorship, she laughs, “Oh god, I did hear something where they were putting old SNL cast members with people, and they had me as Jared Kushner, which I thought was kind of funny.”
One of SNL’s rare talents who can drop the comedy to turn in fine dramatic performances, Wiig will next be seen in Darren Aronofsky’s horror movie Mother! with Jennifer Lawrence, and in Alexander Payne’s dramedy Downsizing with Matt Damon.
While working on a new feature script with Bridesmaids partner Annie Mumolo, she plans to co-star with Jack Nicholson in a remake of Germany’s 2016 festival darling, Toni Erdmann.
“I just fell in love with that film. I loved that it wasn’t trying to be a movie we have seen before – and also the fact that there’s no music either. It didn’t need it because it’s just a beautiful story and the acting was incredible. It reminded me of how much I loved the storytelling of film rather than it being a business.”
Despicable Me 3 is in cinemas June 15
Watch when Gru met Dru in this trailer