May 6, 2015 / 7:34 PM / 4 years ago

Kristen Wiig on mental health, comedy and 'Ghostbusters'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As a prominent cast member of “Saturday Night Live” for a decade, Kristen Wiig played characters from political figures to pop stars, but in her latest film, the comedian taps into a more complex and serious side of life.

File photo of actress Kristen Wiig arrives at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 21, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

In “Welcome to Me,” opening in U.S. theaters and video-on-demand on Friday, Wiig plays Alice Kleig, a secluded woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and secures herself a televised talk show.

Wiig talked to Reuters about portraying mental health in a comedy and “Ghostbusters.” Below are excerpts from the interview:

Q: How does the film tackle exploring Alice’s mental health in the context of a dark comedy?

A: Considering that there were comedic moments in the movie, we had to have a lot of conversations about how that comedy was going to be portrayed because it was never our intention to make fun of her or have her be this crazy person that we laugh at.

She does have this disorder and she does suffer. At the same time, she legitimately does things that are funny and odd and it’s OK to laugh because that’s who she is as a person. But we wanted to be really respectful of that.

Q: How does this film comment on today’s world?

A: Fame from the outside looks like the perfect life, the answer to all your problems, and it does have this glitter around it. And I think that the fact that the first thing she wanted to do is be seen says a lot about being a human being.

Her coming from this place of probable isolation and not leaving her house, and now she has this opportunity to connect with people, is something that people will relate to.

Q: How do you think comedy has evolved for female comedians?

A: I started “SNL” 10 years ago, and people have been asking me about women and comedy since I started on that show.

To some point, it’s good because the answer (now) is a little more positive, there are more projects involving women and directed by women, but at the same time, the more we talk about it, the more we’re saying it’s still an issue. We still have a long way to go.

Q: How do you feel about the “all female” label on the new “Ghostbusters” reboot you’re leading with a female cast?

A: Even when I was doing press for “Bridesmaids,” people kept calling it a female comedy. I was like, ‘Can’t we just call it a comedy? We don’t say male comedy.’ I think that also implies that only women want to see it, and I don’t think that’s the case. Funny is funny.

Q: Which Ghostbusters character are you most like - Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) or Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis)?

A: Bill Murray. Venkman for sure.

Editing by G Crosse

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