HOLLYWOOD — In “How to Be Single” (opening Friday), Rebel Wilson again plays an over-the-top woman — this time one who clearly loves cutting a wide swath through the New York singles scene.
The part of Robin came naturally to the Australian native. “I do like to play the confident, sassy girls, because as a comedian that allows you to say and do what you want. If you want to jump on a moving taxi [as she does in the film], I went and did it. Because if your character is like that, and I think she is in this movie, it works. Also, my character is a bit of an alcoholic as well. So, all that craziness worked here.
Wilson admitted she is “a bit addicted, in a sense, to physical comedy. In a weird way, I think I must love getting injured, because it seems to happen to me a lot in movies. While we shot ‘How to Be Single,’ there was one point when my knee was whacked and ended up bleeding all over the place. I think I jarred my back jumping out of a taxi.
“Yeah, I like to get in there and give it my all, But then at the end of the day, I realize I’m a bit hurt and think, maybe I should pull back tomorrow. But then I simply forget to do that!”
The actress and comedian understands she’s become something of a role model for full-figured women, which is one reason she’s bringing out her Rebel Wilson for Target collection of fashions this month.
Noting that “the average size for women in America is size 16,” Wilson is delighted her dresses and separates will range in sizes from 12 to 28.
That led the entertainer to point out that she plays a large woman who has no trouble landing men for sexual encounters in her new film. “That was one of the really good things about this movie. It has an excellent message. It’s all about be able to love yourself and to know yourself — before wanting to join up with other people in life.”
Wilson is grateful that she “went to an all-girls high school in Australia where we were taught to go out into the world. We were constantly told, ‘Go chase your dreams and try to catch them and realize them.’
“The idea of going after that career is something I think a lot of girls are being taught today, and that is a cultural shift and a good one, even from our mothers’ days — and certainly from our grandmothers’ days.”
Yet, Wilson understands that may not be universal, “even in 2016. There are still some people who are desperate to get married so soon. They think, ‘Oh my God! My life will not be complete unless I find a man and get married.’ My sister is one of those. She got married very young, but she loves it and is now a marriage celebrant in her spare time on the weekends and spends time marrying other people!”
Wilson said she respects that point of view but is delighted “the stigma associated with being single in the past, now isn’t there, and this movie is a good representation of that. You can be living your life the way you want to, and it’s OK if you haven’t found that right person to be with you.”
In the film, Alison Brie’s Lucy is a woman who is convinced that technology will be the way she’ll find “Mr. Right.” The actress joked that on set she played “a woman on a mission who is completely certain one of the many online dating sites will lead her to her soul mate,” and noted that she has known women similar to Lucy — including someone very close to her in real life.
“When I first signed on for the movie and was telling my sister about it, she said, ‘Oh great! This won’t be hard for you. You can just play me!’ ”
Among the other characters in the large ensemble cast is Meg, a successful obstetrician played by comedy veteran Leslie Mann. “Meg has literally delivered a few thousand babies but has no interest in becoming a mother herself,” explained Mann. Yet, there is a scene in the movie when the actress comes face-to-face with an adorable little girl — an infant who just might change her character’s mind about being maternal.
Since Mann, who is married to comedy legend Judd Apatow, is the mother to two girls, I asked if she used her motherly skills to make that very special connection with that child in the film.
“Let me tell you about that day,” said Mann with a laugh. “Boy, did I try so hard to make that work. The day we shot that, there were a bunch of babies on the set. I think there were three sets of twins who were possibilities. But here’s the thing: They were all crying. All. Day. Long.
“I used my mommy powers, but they just weren’t having it. Then there was what seemed like a 10-second period when one of them calmed down, and she just started staring at me so intently.
“She was obviously trying to tell me something to communicate with me. I’m not sure what it was, but it sure worked for that scene and ended up being a very special moment that I’m so happy they captured on film.”