Jon Hamm gushes over “Friends With Kids” and “Bridesmaids” costar Kristen Wiig


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Before “Bridesmaids,” there was “Friends With Kids.” Though the film is only coming out this Friday, the project that Jennifer Westfeldt wrote, directed and starred in was finished long before stars Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd reunited in “Bridesmaids.” But that’s not where the parallels between the two films end.

In both films, Hamm and Wiig play sex-happy, ill-fated partners dealing with the changes in their relationship as they grow older. And, though Hamm is less of an ass in “Friends With Kids” than he is in “Bridesmaids,” he comes out looking like the bad guy to a certain extent in both of the movies. It becomes clear while watching the and Wiig act opposite one another that the ability to portray that kind of descent into the bad parts of a relationship onscreen comes from a close friendship offscreen.

IFC had the chance to catch up with Hamm while he was promoting “Friends With Kids” and talk about his working association with Wiig. When the two previously mentioned ill-fated onscreen relationships were mentioned to Hamm, he burst out laughing. “Yeah, I love that one,” he said, meaning Wiig. “She’s a good girl, and so much fun to be opposite. But sometimes when things don’t work out is more fun.”

Though it seems as though the two actors have known one another for ages, it turns out that they only got to know each other after Hamm hosted “Saturday Night Live” back in 2008. Though Hamm admitted he and Wiig might have met before through mutual friends like Paul Rudd, it wasn’t until the “Man Men” star’s first “SNL” gig that the two of them really hit it off.

“We just clicked together on the first time I hosted, and we did a bunch of sketches together and then as I came back and hosted the show a couple more times, I don’t know, for whatever reason our energies just kind of flowed in the right way,” he said. “She’s so goddamn talented and it’s always fun to be in a scene with her, so when she asked me to do ‘Bridesmaids,’ I was like, ‘I will do whatever you want.'”

It was their rapport onscreen that convinced Hamm that Wiig was the right person to play his wife Missy in “Friends With Kids.” She tends to play outrageous characters in films and on “Saturday Night Live” that border on caricatures, so Hamm felt it was about time for her to act in a story that felt “real.”

“Not to say that she doesn’t do that, but just sad and a little more downbeat than she’s done,” he explained. “So when we cast her in this film, we were like, ‘I know you can do this. You’re going to be great.'”

And she is great in “Friends With Kids.” In one scene around a dinner table in the film, Wiig breaks down in a way that fans have never really had a chance to see before. But Wiig has obviously had the opportunity to show off her more serious side in films like “Extract,” “Whip It!” and, of course, in “Bridesmaids.”

Hamm couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful he thought Wiig’s performance and writing were in “Bridesmaids.” Her friend and onscreen costar gushed about how that performance is very similar in tone to the one she pulls off in “Friends With Kids.”

“I think that her work in ‘Bridesmaids’ was so fantastic and real and sad. As heightened and crazy as some of the scenes are in there, for me the most effective parts of that film and I think the reason why it really, really resonated with a larger audience was the fact that it was a story about a girl and a friendship with another girl,” he said. “The scene at the end when Kristen goes and finds Maya and they have that really heart-breaking talk about just, ‘I’m going to miss you and I love you,’ that stuff was the real kind of emotional core that the film was built on and she knocked it out of the park.”

And don’t expect their collaborations to stop anytime soon. Hamm just returned to “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend and it likely won’t be his last surprise appearance on the show.

“It was fun. It was really nice,” he said. “I was surprised that they asked, but very happy and it was great to see all those guys again and it was a fun show.”

Are you a fan of Hamm and Wiig’s work together? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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