While Melissa McCarthy ended up getting the part, Bridesmaids director Paul Feig was bowled over by Wilson's audition. ''Rebel's energy was so funny and odd, we kept thinking, 'What can we do with her?''' he remembers. Feig came up with the idea of having Wilson play Lucas' sister, a role that didn't exist in the original script. On the set, he says, it was instantly clear she was willing to go to any length for a laugh: ''It was like, 'Can you show more butt crack?' 'Sure!' She was just going for it.''
Even as she works as a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig (''I'm always trying to lose weight it's just I'm not very successful at it,'' she says), Wilson has no qualms about taking on roles that highlight her weight. Her character in Pitch Perfect is named Fat Amy, and in Bachelorette she plays a bride-to-be who's called ''Pig Face'' by her own cruel bridesmaids. ''Some actresses who are bigger say, 'I don't want to get famous for playing a fat character,''' Wilson says. ''But the size I am, you can't just ignore it and try to go for skinny roles.'' She shrugs. ''In comedy you have to use what you've got.''
It's the evening before the first table read for Super Fun Night, but if Wilson is nervous she's hiding it well. Earlier today, she says, she got an email expressing concern about one of the jokes in the script. ''It said, 'If the dog is pooping, you can't show things exiting the...''' She trails off. ''I shut it and hit delete. In Australia you get no notes, but in America all these people want to weigh in. I'm like, 'Can't we just do it?'''
If Super Fun Night gets picked up, Wilson will be beamed into millions of living rooms every week, but if it doesn't, she says, ''I'll just go back to movies. It's a win-win.'' She recently finished shooting a supporting role in director Michael Bay's action film Pain and Gain and has her own musical-comedy screenplay in development. She and Lucas who plan to move into a house in West Hollywood together this summer (the two are just friends, and Wilson is single) are collaborating on other comedy ideas, including a potential Bridesmaids spin-off movie centering on their characters. ''We already have the story line,'' she says. ''I can't give too much away, but it's a prequel. I have ideas every minute.''
And as for that fever-induced idea that launched this whole journey, Wilson definitely believes she could wind up on the Oscar stage someday. ''If I win, I'll have to do a rap, even if it's for some really serious movie about war or something,'' she says. ''That was the prophecy.'' She stares into the distance for a moment, turning over this vision in her mind. ''I just hope it's for something with Meryl Streep.''
Meet the Roommate
London-born Matt Lucas, 38, is well-known abroad for his erstwhile BBC sketch-comedy series Little Britain, in which he and co-star David Walliams lampooned English people from all walks of life. Thanks to his role as Wilson's brother, Gil, in Bridesmaids, he's expanding his fan base here as well. ''Now in America I'm that creepy British dude from Bridesmaids,'' says the actor, whose upcoming films include the British dramedy The King of Soho, the indie comedy Small Apartments, and the crime thriller Thérèse Raquin. An added Bridesmaids benefit has been his friendship with Wilson, to whom he bears a striking resemblance. ''I now know exactly what I'd look like if I was to change gender,'' he jokes.