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7 Questions with… Rebel Wilson: Actress talks new TV show, being approached for Big Brother and surviving lockdown by ‘getting ripped and being hella boring’ - Exclusive
From surviving lockdown to who she'd cast in a UK version of LOL: Last One Laughing on Amazon Prime Video - Rebel Wilson answers seven burning questions from BT.com.
She's one of Australia's most popular actresses, known worldwide for her largely comedic roles in Hollywood films including the Pitch Perfect franchise, Bridesmaids and Isn't It Romantic.
But Sydney-born actress Rebel Wilson, 40, has swapped learning scripts for something a little more off-the-cuff in brand new Prime Video series, LOL: Last One Laughing.
The Big Brother-style six-part comedy show sees Wilson take on the role of master of ceremonies as she presides over 10 professional comedians going head-to-head to see who can keep a straight face while trying to make their opponents laugh.
Speaking exclusively to BT.com from Sydney, Wilson answers seven burning questions, including the funniest moments on set, which comedians she'd want on a UK version of LOL: Last One Laughing, being approached to star in Big Brother, and how she's surviving lockdown by focusing on her health…
1. Did you feel the pressure being both the host and executive producer of LOL: Last One Laughing?
Rebel Wilson: God, the pressure of essentially being the referee of the game, a game that I've never played before, and it's big prize money - $100,000 for six hours' work. I wanted to give it to all of the comedians for just trying, but you've got to have one winner, so I definitely felt the pressure in that respect.
As the game goes on, and as the competition gets heated, I had to step in in the middle of it and decide who stays and who goes. It was tough. It was not easy being the madam of this top-secret underground comedy bunker, where there were no rules.
2. Did the power ever go to your head?
I don’t think I was a dictator or anything. Did I request some Tim Tams from time to time? Yep. Did I request pizza? Yep. It was six hours filming, I needed to eat something. But no, I don’t think I did anything too crazy.
3. What was the funniest moment on set?
When one of our comedians, Sam Simmons, who’s a really off-the-wall, offbeat comedian, came out with the penis jacket. The comedians are allowed to bring one secret item back into their locker when they come into the dungeon, but nobody knows what’s in there, and I didn’t know it was in there.
He kept going and just the movements with this jacket, you’ve just got to see it [on the show] to get the full visual. If I was in the game, I probably would have got knocked out by that. It was very graphic!
As you might witness from the show, a lot of comedians are very complex, dark human beings at times, so you get an insight into some of the inner workings of their mind.
4. The show’s billed as a social experiment, like Big Brother. Have you watched any of that at all?
Yeah, there’s a new series of Big Brother that’s just come out here [in Australia] and they’ve actually tweaked the format a bit and this season is very much like Survivor.
I know in the UK, you guys love your Big Brother and your Celebrity Big Brother!
Before I was a famous actress, I was actually asked to be in the very first series of the Australian Big Brother. I don’t want to give it away, but sometimes some of the people [on that show] are not that real. Sometimes they’re in the industry. I was asked to be like a plant I guess in the first season.
Before I was a famous actress, I was asked to be in the very first series of the Australian Big Brother but I said no... I think I would have gone crazy in the house
- Rebel Wilson
I said no. Good move, considering at that point I hadn’t really worked properly and I hadn’t really been on reality TV. Better move to hold out for roles in TV and movies. I’m glad that I was tempted for a hot second, I think I would have gone crazy in the house and done some crazy stuff.
In Australia, a lot of people have had very successful careers after appearing on it!
I also did a weird show that was similar called Monster House, that was rigged up with cameras, there were six of us as an acting troupe and we would play cons on real people who came into the house, but they didn’t know it was a Big Brother-type house. That was a very interesting experiment too.
5. If you did a UK version of LOL: Last One Laughing, who would be on your wishlist?
You guys have got hundreds of working comedians who are very, very talented. I would want to have a diverse mix that’s representative of the comedy crowd, for example in the Australian version, we had 30% female comedians which is pretty much representative of the working comedians here.
I think I would like to see Jack Whitehall, I would like to see Russell Brand because of what I know personally, I think he might be very outrageous which I would enjoy. I’d like to see someone like Miranda Hart in there, and see how she would do, or Daisy May Cooper from This Country. I think she’d be a crack at it.
Or Asim Chaudhry from People Just Do Nothing, I love him so much. I talked to him at the Baftas, I was like "Why didn’t you do my movie when I asked you?". Maybe he’d do this show, he’s a legend that guy.
I should be more knowledgeable about UK stand-up, I know people more from TV and movies. There’s so many talented people, you could just have a ball!
6. The show’s come out as we’re all stuck at home feeling miserable in lockdown. Why do you think comedy TV shows are so important at the moment?
If you’re like me, I watch the news every day for at least an hour, and it's pretty depressing. I’ve also watched every single TV show and movie out there, I’m begging for the movie cinemas to reopen.
This show was shot in November last year, before all of this earth-upending thing was going on. It’s really hard to put it eloquently what’s going on in the world, and I think there’s always a market for comedy.
You look at times like the Great Depression in the 1930s, guess what people still wanted to spend their dime on? Comedy. This show is a totally off-the-wall, wacky, crazy thing that fans of comedy - not kids! - should check out, because it’s something very different.
That and other shows about people in bikinis doing nothing on a beach, they’re very different to what’s going on in the world right now so watch those shows, and take your mind off things.
7. Other than promoting LOL: Last One Laughing, how have you been coping during lockdown?
I’ve been really concentrating on my health, because obviously right now I’m not flying around the world and shooting 16 hours a day. So really I’ve just been getting ripped! Me, my trainer, I’ve been running up the stairs of the Sydney Opera House, I have a weekly challenge with myself. I’ve been doing a lot of that.
I’ve been doing a lotta hella boring things, like ordering photo frames and then ordering photos of me and my friends to put in them!
- Rebel Wilson
I’ve been doing a lotta hella boring things, like ordering photo frames online and then ordering prints of photos of me and my friends to put in them to decorate my house.
Just like real boring stuff that you never have time to do, like taxes and admin. But I’ve kind of enjoyed it.
It was hard at first, with the whole world on shutdown, mentally it’s not great but now I’m like I feel like it’s been a good chance to focus on my health, and normally with my crazy global lifestyle it’s not the healthiest.
And yeah I’ve had so much family time, I want to get away from them now! Grandma’s 90th isn’t gonna wait, so I’ve got that coming up. It’s gonna be a rager!
LOL: Last One Laughing is available to watch on Prime Video now. Two new episodes are released weekly.