Kristen Wiig’s insanely funny-lady flick Bridesmaids opened Friday to rave reviews, scored an impressive $24.4 million box office, and introduced droves of women to a new kind of leading man. Admittedly, the lure of a Jon Hamm sex scene may have been what brought me to the theater, but Chris O’Dowd’s adorably honest traffic cop is really what made me swoon. I spoke with the Irish-brogued actor to discuss his newfound American appeal, his “hilarious” costar, and of course, his accent. Note: This interview contains some pretty unsavory language, including some Irish words that I can’t even find on UrbanDictionary. (“Fromicking,” anyone? Anyone?)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, how was your weekend? The big opening weekend?
CHRIS O’DOWD: What fun! What fromicking we had at the box office! It was wonderful. Yeah, I was just really delighted for everybody. I went to see it in Hollywood on Saturday night. Got my head low, it was really fun. People were really enjoying it and hittin’ the right moments and ohhing and ahhing and laughing and crying and everything that you would want and more.
Are you starting to get noticed on the streets here?
Yeah, a little bit. It’s been weird. A lot of people feel like I should be dating their sister, which is a nice way to start the week.
Yeah, at the screening I went to, there was a big gaggle of girls behind me and as soon as the curtains went up, there all went “Oh my God, he is so cute. I’m gonna marry him.”
I like that. What I’ve noticed, the general feedback hasn’t been like, “I wanna sleep with that guy!” Everybody’s like, “I’d like him to be godfather to my son.”
That’s not a bad thing!
No, it’s not. It’s great.
I know you’ve been in a lot of TV in the UK, but ow did you get involved with this movie?
Well, Paul Feig, the director, did actually know my comedy show in Britain so he got me to come in and read with Kristen and we did a long improv and that was kind of it. Then I had a little meeting with Judd and it was a strange situation. There was never that point where someone’s like, “You got the part.” It was just kind of… I had a meeting with him and towards the end we just chatted about loads of things and he was like, “Oh well I think the movie is gonna be a lot of fun.” At that point, I was thinking, if you’re not giving me the part, then you’re really just rubbing my nose in it. He was essentially saying, “This movie is gonna be so fun…”
…It’s a shame you won’t be a part of it!
It’s funny, I’ve heard Judd and Feig’s process is a lot different than most productions in terms of how they audition people.
It was a lot less like A Chorus Line than I was expecting.
Well about your accent, it’s a bit of a strange fit for the movie, cause you’re supposed to be like a Midwestern cop, right?
Did you talk about changing the accent or did they like it from the get-go?
No, the first time I read the thing, I did it in an American accent. But because Paul was kind of familiar with me using my own accent, he just asked me to read it [normally], and it just turned Kristen on so much, that that was kind of it. She was slipping off her chair in pleasure.
Oh, I’m sure.
I kind of like that we never really explain it. It’s one of my favorite parts of the film, that we never kind of say, “Oh, by the way, you’re from Ireland.”
I know, I was talking about that with my editors. There really aren’t any lines explaining it…
No, at one point I think she kinda says something like, “I didn’t realize you could be a cop if you weren’t a citizen,” so at least we kind of acknowledged the fact that I’m not American, which is good.
So you tried on the American accent, it didn’t work. Are there any other accents you can do? What are you good at?
I just did a show on British TV where I play a posh English dude. And actually in the next two movies, I do an American accent.
What was it like acting opposite Kristen Wiig? I assume there was a lot of ad-libbing, since she’s so great on Saturday Night Live.
Yeah, sure, we did a lot of improv. The script was really strong, so we tried to get that first. Then we just went off. We played a lot of games and had a lot of fun and a lot of our scenes have just so much improv in them and she’s just such a pleasure to work with. She’s a really lovely woman, tries to make everybody feel good about what they’re doing, which is great for comedy because it makes people work better, I think. Yeah, she’s just f—–g hilarious.
Well it sounds like a comfortable set. Were there any scenes in particular that were fun to shoot or super awkward?
We did the scene of the car, where we’re sitting on the bonnet of my car, the hood of my car. We shot for hours and we just ended up playing a lot of “Would You Rather” games — have you played that game?
So it’s kind of like, would you rather have a nipple growing on the end of your nose or a tooth growing out of your cheek? That kind of stuff. Would you rather have to eat a sink full of poo or have a small bird do a little poo in your mouth every morning for the rest of your life?
Ok, I think that’s enough. That’s gross.
Yeah, it got kind of filthy. So I remember that being a lot of fun.
And you’re also going to be in something else with Kristen Wiig coming up, aren’t you?
That’s right. She just insists that I’m in everything she does now.
Well, it’s the accent.
I guess it’s just a coincidence, but myself and Maya (Rudolph) and Kristen and Jon Hamm have done another film together, which was really fun. It’s set in New York, called Friends with Kids. It’s about a bunch of thirty-somethings who start having kids, and the two friends out of the six who are left behind and don’t have a partner, they decide to have a kid together even though they’re not together. And that’s what the movie is about. It’s a comedy but it’s very touching and sad and I think it’s gonna be really good, actually.
Good! We’re excited.
And Maya and I are married in it, so we had a lot of fun.
And that’s produced by Jon Hamm’s company, yeah?
And I know this is really early, but has there been any talk about a sequel for Bridesmaids?
There hasn’t. I can’t imagine that would be something that would happen unless Kristen and Paul and Judd felt like they could do a movie that was better than this. I can’t see it happening. But if it got to the stage, I’d be up for it. Cause it would have to be something really special.
I’d imagine she could come up with another great script.
If it’s a new take on it, I’m sure it’d be great. I guess it would have to be our wedding, if it were to happen.
If it were to happen though, you’d want to be a part of it?
I don’t know… maybe she’ll have moved on. She’s pretty slutty.
That’s a fair point.
She’d drag me along for a couple months then break my heart.
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