Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kristen Wiig - New Whip It Interview - trained to skate for roller derby

She trained on skates for her part in the roller derby film 'Whip It.' The sport isn't 'just the big tough girls with the tattoos,' she says.

Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, "Whip It," is set in the freestyling world of women's roller derby...

Bliss' [Ellen Page's] mentor is Maggie Mayhem, played with gentle humor by "Saturday Night Live's" Kristen Wiig... Under Maggie's guidance, Bliss auditions for the Hurl Scouts derby team and finds her calling on the track. Like a cool aunt, Maggie also offers sound advice and a couch to crash on.

Wiig had worked with Page and Barrymore when each had hosted "SNL," so bonding with their characters was easy. But she says the real key to her derby role was found on the track.

"I knew how to roller skate in a rink 20 years ago, but this is definitely different because the track is slanted and elevated, and you're not just skating with your friends listening to Eddie Rabbit," Wiig says. "You're hitting each other and learning how to fall." So she showed up for a couple of weeks of training in Michigan, not knowing how to even stand up on the slanted track, let alone move. Playing the team's captain, Wiig was especially intent on looking at home on wheels. "Knowing that you had to shoot a movie in two weeks is motivation and pressure combined."

Training included learning how to pretend to take a hit and even how to stop without brakes. It also included lessons from members of real derby team, including the L.A. Derby Dolls... "I think it was important for Drew to kind of let everyone know that so many different types of women do derby," Wiig says. "Not just the big tough girls with the tattoos and stuff -- there's a lot of that -- but we met women there who are teachers and nurses and mothers and wives."

The derby girls didn't just play together; they interacted like a family... "They sleep on each other's couches, they party together, they go on trips together, and they help each other move," Wiig says of the skating subculture...

And the friendships lasted well after the filming ended. "I'm crazy about Kristen," Page says. "First of all, she is probably the funniest person I've ever met. And working with her was so enjoyable, I just want to be in everything she's in. I want to sneak in the background."

It's not just derby girls who fall for Wiig. Jason Bateman, her costar in Mike Judge's "Extract," is similarly enchanted. "I'm a gigantic fan of what Kristen does and what she doesn't do, frankly. She's very comfortable not leaning into things; she trusts that you don't need to speak any louder or make any funny faces to get people's attention. She's very subtle, and I love that." The two just wrapped Greg Mottola's film "Paul," due out next year. Calling her a genuinely nice person, Bateman adds, "It's been a great half-year with her, all in."

... [Kristen:] "If you're on a movie set and you're an actor, you're lucky, because there's a lot of people out there that would love to be doing what you're doing, and we've all worked hard to get there." So though it's certainly easy to complain about the long hours or the wait, "I've always said my worst day on a set is better than my best day when I was wanting to be on a set."

Excerpts from:,0,5655841.story

I love how humble Kristen is and how much her coworkers like her!


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