Credit: Suzanne Hanover

Kristen Wiig was nervous when Welcome to Me premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. “We knew it was strange,” she says. “We were like, ‘Well, people are either going to walk out or….'”

Bill Murray, who was there, called the film one of the boldest and—yes—strangest comedies he’s ever seen. “I think that’s a compliment,” says Wiig with a laugh. In Welcome to Me, directed by Shira Piven—co-starring Linda Cardellini, Tim Robbins, Wes Bentley, Joan Cusack, and James Marsden—Wiig plays Alice Kleig, a woman with a borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in the lottery and decides to buy her own talk show. “I knew I wanted to do it as soon as I read it,” says Wiig, who was intrigued by Alice’s complexities. “You kind of want to hate her, you feel sorry for her, you’re embarrassed by her, but you can’t stop watching what she’s doing.”

The movie puts Wiig into plenty of uncomfortable situations: Alice demands to arrive on set in a giant swan boat, she spends a segment eating meatloaf cake, she has a dramatic breakdown. But it was the scene where Alice walks naked through a casino that intimidated the actress the most. “That scared me because I knew if I did the movie I’d have to do that scene,” she says. “I didn’t want to say yes and then take that scene out. I just thought it was important to the story and the character—so the thinking was if I make this movie then I have to do the scene where I’m totally naked.”

But, Wiig adds, it wasn’t just the nudity that frightened her. “She’s also very emotional and you don’t want to make fun of her. You’re talking about borderline personality disorder and you have to respect that. You don’t want to offend anybody. You just want to do the right thing.”

Welcome to Me
2015 movie
  • Movie
  • 87 minutes