Believe it or not, the now-classic comedic romp Bridesmaids debuted in theaters ten years ago. Yes — the women-helmed hit is a decade old. Sure, we’re feeling kind of old, but, on the bright side, this momentous occasion has provided us with the perfect excuse to rewatch Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and an Oscar-nominated Melissa McCarthy in all their glory.
So, whether Bridesmaids is your go-to comedy comfort movie or if you’re finally watching it for the first time, dive into our behind-the-scenes look at this enduring classic.
It All Started With a Homework Assignment
Did you know that Bridesmaids stems from Knocked Up (2007)? Produced, written and directed by Judd Apatow, Knocked Up starred Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl and Paul Rudd, and told the story of Ben Stone (Rogen), a man who’s shocked to find out that a one-night-stand has real-world consequences when Alison Scott (Heigl) shows up on his doorstep — pregnant.
Sharp-eyed movie watchers may remember that the film also featured Saturday Night Live (SNL) star Kristen Wiig as Jill. Honestly, Jill was a bit part, but Apatow challenged Wiig to run with it and lean into improv. The SNL star, of course, hit it out of the park. Impressed, Apatow gave Wiig a homework assignment, saying, “Write a script for a movie starring yourself, and I’ll produce it!” Years later, Wiig and her writing partner, Annie Mumulo, pitched what became Bridesmaids (2011) to Apatow.
By the way, this wasn’t the first time an Apatow-assigned piece of homework led to a blockbuster comedy movie. In fact, Steve Carrell turned it a pretty successful assignment too: The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005).
More Than Just a Writing Partner
Kristen Wiig penned Bridesmaids while starring on Saturday Night Live, but she didn’t write it alone. Her co-writer, Annie Mumolo, also wrote 2017’s Megan Leavey and 2021’s Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, which Wiig starred in to much acclaim.
Bridesmaids, which marked the duo’s first big outing, earned them an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay — something that, sadly, doesn’t happen all too often in the realm of comedy.
Mumolo was on set during the filming of Bridesmaids — just in case some part of the script needed to be reworked. Being on set had some other perks. That is, just in case the director was looking for someone to play a nervous airplane passenger, Mumolo could step in. That’s right — next time you rewatch the movie, look for Mumolo alongside Wiig on that flight to Las Vegas.
Melissa McCarthy as Megan — Brought to You By… Guy Fieri?
Who was the real breakout star of Bridesmaids? Undoubtedly, Melissa McCarthy — although, we must admit, the cast is incredibly stacked, especially in hindsight. Before Bridesmaids McCarthy had been a working actor since 1997 or so. In fact, many fans know her best for her run on Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) as Sookie St. James. But in the wake of Bridesmaids, McCarthy has been launched into a whole new stratosphere of stardom. And she has one unusual person to thank for it: Guy Fieri.
Yes, Food Network star and restaurateur Guy Fieri, who’s most famous for shows like The Next Food Network Star (which he won in 2006), Ultimate Recipe Showdown and, perhaps most famously, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. As you may know, Fieri brings a certain frenetic energy and attitude to everything he does, and when McCarthy first developed her Bridesmaids’ character, Megan, Fieri’s energy served as her inspiration.
On a 2011 episode of Conan she said, “Really, when I first read [the script], the first person that I thought of was Guy Fieri from the Food Network… I tried for a long time to convince them to let me wear short, white, spiky hair, and they were like, ‘You can’t actually be Guy Fieri.’ Cut it off at some point!” And, hey, it worked out! Not only did McCarthy take her career to the next level, but she also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress — something that’s relatively unheard of since dramas often get more attention at the Oscars than comedies.
Jon Hamm Wasn’t Supposed to Play Ted
Remember the opening “romp” between Wiig and Ted, played by Mad Men star Jon Hamm? Director Paul Feig choreographed it as a “professional wrestling scene” rather than a “love scene.” And it was just one way of presenting Ted as the world’s worst “friend with benefits.” Now, can you imagine a Bridesmaids world in which Jon Hamm didn’t play Ted?
Well, that nearly happened. Feig originally tapped Hamm to play the sweet side character that Wiig ends up falling for — you know, the Chris O’Dowd role. Unfortunately, Hamm was too busy to take on that big of a role, so Feig downsized Hamm’s part, casting him as Ted. In a September 2020 interview, Feig said, “It was just like, who could be funnier than him being this a–hole guy who is weirdly charming? And he’s so gorgeous [that] of course you put up with more than you might normally.”
Fun Fact: You won’t find Hamm’s name in the credits. The actor suggested his name be left off, fearing that people who spotted him might get the wrong impression about Bridesmaids and think it to be some sort of Mad Men-like drama. (Whatever you say, Stove.)
Now, with all of these behind-the-scenes tidbits under your belt, you’re primed for a Bridesmaids rewatch — and, more importantly, you’re ready to partayyyyyy.