Rebel yell for rising Aussie star

04:19, Jan 09 2014
Rebel Wilson
INSPIRING GIRLS: Rebel, 27, is clearly trying to portray the experiences of women who do not conform to Hollywood's expectations of beauty.

Deep down, it is her version of a rebel yell: a television show with Rebel Wilson playing a sweet, overweight lawyer who is keen to have regular fun with her two closest friends.

It sounds a simple enough prernise but the Australian actor and comedian - who uses an American accent in her new show, Super Fun Night - had a serious intent when she was putting the scripts together.

"The purpose of the show to me is to really inspire girls who don't think they're cool and popular or pretty and all that to get out there, and that they can have fun and exciting lives too," Rebel says in an unusually serious moment during the Hollywood press conference that launched her show.

Her main character, Kimmie Boubier (pronounced "boob-e-ay"), is not the only slightly awkward woman on the show. Her best friends Helen-Alice and Marika, played by Liza Lapira and Lauren Ash, each have their own brand of geekiness.

But probe a little deeper into Kimmie's psyche and Rebel, 27, is clearly trying to portray the experiences of women who do not conform to Hollywood's expectations of beauty.

"In order to do that, you need to present a very realistic version of what it's like to be a girl who looks like me and is not the coolest,' she says.


"I'm always pitching the saddest story lines, like where I get punched in the face. So there are some very sad storylines coming down the pipeline but I think we have to present that .. and then we present the wins for character, which is far more gratifying, I think."

Rebel is the star and creator of Super Fun Night and co-executive producer with Conan O'Brien and John Riggi, so she had the weight of television royalty behind her in making her much-hyped show.

After starring in films including Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, the Australian star seems a world away from her upbringing in western Sydney and her role as Toula on the Australian show Pizza.

But it was her early Australian work that captured the interest of TV executives, including O'Brien.

"Someone got me a copy of a show that Rebel had done called Bogan Pride and I loved it and, again, what I saw was a television star," O'Brien says.

"She is vulnerable, fearless."

Rebel says she gained the idea for Super Fun Night from her own upbringing.

"I used to do this thing with my sister Liberty called Friday night fun night, which was basically she worked at a candy factory at the time, and she would just bring home the off-cuts from the candy factory, and we'd sit at home just on the couch eating and watching DVDs," she says.

"And I started to think maybe there's more fun than this even though at that time I did think that was really fun. And so I kind of strategically tried to go out into the world and force myself into the social situations, and then that's where all the true stories come from in the show."

While she tends to play so-called "losers" or "underdogs", Rebel has been a high achiever since high school in Sydney and appears to have seized on every opportunity.

It is easy to get the feeling that Rebel wants other young women - no matter what their size, shape or background - to do the same.

"When I first came to America ... I think that one of the reasons my agency signed me is because I wasn't like any other girl here," Rebel says.

"I don't know why that is. Maybe girls don't get encouraged.

"The ones who get encouraged to move to Hollywood are like they're the prettiest ones in their hometown of Iowa or something."

Rebel credits Judd Apatow and Paul Feig (who gave her a role in Bridesmades) for helping her take down Hollywood's barriers.

"It took people who have the power to say yes to pull the trigger for me here in America," Rebel says.

"And since then, I think it's been easier because I'm not like anybody else out there, really." 

- Super Fun Night, TV2, Monday