Kristen Wiig‘s Welcome to Me might sound like a lighthearted comedy — a woman wins the lottery and gets her own talk show — but the film is much darker than its premise would suggest.
Wiig’s character, Alice Klieg, has borderline personality disorder, and there are many uncomfortable moments as she creates and hosts her show, Welcome to Me, which consists of two-hour episodes all about herself. The show is a stream-of-consciousness unloading of Alice’s brain, and it includes reenactments of emotionally traumatizing episodes from her adolescence, segments about knowing things based on smells and high-protein cooking demonstrations.
For Wiig, the role was a challenging venture into uncharted territory.
“I had never done anything like this before,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at Wednesday night’s Svedka vodka-presented New York screening. “It was a whole kind of different person than I’d ever played.”
Wiig’s Bridesmaids co-star Mitch Silpa, who has a small role in Welcome to Me, talked about the difference between the two films.
“[In] this one, the script is so quirky and different and surprising and odd,” he said. “It’s definitely an edgier film and subtler in the comedy.”
Wiig, who said director Shira Piven and producer Jessica Elbaum helped her work through the more difficult scenes, added that she just tried to stay true to the script, written by Eliot Laurence.
“I thought the script was one of the best things I ever read, and I just wanted to do my best to have this person be the woman that Eliot created,” she explained.
Wiig’s co-star Linda Cardellini, who plays Alice’s best friend, Gina, said that the movie really does adhere to its written foundation.
“I think the script has such an interesting tone, and Shira, the director, really did an amazing job of keeping to the tone of the script, which I think is difficult when you read a script and see the finished product,” Cardellini said. “Often they turn out to be two different things, and this really is true to the script.”
Piven described her initial reaction to the script, written by her old friend Laurence, as “love at first sight.”
“I feel like the movie has all of the elements of a traditional three-act structure, but it unfolds in a completely surprising way,” she said.
Other stars spotted at the screening included Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Meredith Vieira, Leslye Headland and Mamie Gummer. After the movie, guests attended the afterparty at Hill & Dale, where they were served signature cocktails like the Lucky Lotto, made with Svedka’s grapefruit-jalapeno-flavored vodka.