Creativity 50 2011: Kristen Wiig

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Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig

Universal's breakthrough hit comedy "Bridesmaids" finally proved one highly questionable box office theorem: Kristen Wiig is a bankable movie star.

For years, Wiig has been the standout performer on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," making her mark with recurring characters such as Penelope, Target Lady and Dooneese, the baby-handed sister from the Finger Lakes on "The Lawrence Welk Show." But she was rarely able to showcase her idiosyncratic skills on the big screen, making the most of small roles in forgettable films like "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," "Extract," "Whip It" and "MacGruber." It wasn't until she wrote herself the role of "Bridesmaids"' Annie (with co-writer Annie Mumolo) that Wiig really found the part that best suited her talents. The film simultaneously celebrated and shattered romantic-comedy stereotypes, from Wiig's hapless maid-of-honor to Jon Hamm's emotionally distant boyfriend, with enough gross-out gags to earn the film (perhaps unfair) comparisons to "The Hangover."

Wiig is in an elite club of female "SNL" performers with successful movie careers: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and "Bridesmaids" co-star Maya Rudolph. And this latest film should also establish Wiig -- once and for all -- as the current power player on "SNL," where she's expected to return for a seventh season this fall.

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