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With the quick wits of THE SKELETON TWINS stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in play, it was perhaps inevitable that our interview on May 1, 2014 occasionally dissolved into laughter and fol-de-rol. Along with director and co-writer Craig Johnson, they regaled me with a sharp stream-of-consciousness humor along with some equally sharp observations about the nature of humor, the extra pressure Hader puts on himself when doing drama, and those unexpectedly intense moments that come from doing an indie film of enormous emotional power, moments that can leave some members of the film crew in tears.
For Johnson, it was a chance to reunite with college pal Mark Heyman, and make the film they’d written so many years ago. That it went on to win the Waldo Salt Writing Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year was all the more sweet when, as he recounted, the first drafts of this script failed to qualify for that institute’s writing program.
The three went on to discuss the pleasures and perils of filming underwater, lip-synching to 80s pop with a free-hand for improvisation, and why film crews on northern-produced films all seem to come from the south.
THE SKELETON TWINS is a moving, sometimes puckishly melancholy film about family ties, facing the truth, and going home again. Wiig and Hader are Milo and Maggie, suicidal siblings estranged for 10 years who reunite after Milo’s failed suicide attempt brings him back to his New England small town roots from an equally failed attempt at an acting career in Los Angeles. Staying with Maggie and her sweet but dull husband, Lance, Milo confronts his past, and forces Maggie to confront her present. The film co-stars Ty Burrell, Luke Wilson, and Joanna Gleeson as the most irritating mother ever. Johnson directed from a script he co-wrote with Mark Heyman, a script that won the Waldo Salt award from the Sundance Film Festival. World-class lip-synchers Wiig and Hader were cohorts on Saturday Night Live, where they presented a veritable cornucopia of fabulously deranged characters such as Gilly, the least popular member of a sisters singing group, and, or course Stefon, the painfully hip guide to the hottest clubs in New York City, they also played brief, but memorable voice cameos on HER. On the big screen, Hader made an indelible impression as the cop in SUPERBAD, the anti-role model in THE TO DO LIST, and the voice of Flint Lockwood in CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. Wiig’s work includes ANCHORMAN 2, THE FRIENDS WITH KIDS, WHIP IT, and, along with Annie Mumolo, her script for BRIDESMAIDS, in which she also starred, was nominated for an Oscar.
Click on the link to listen to the interview (16:32) THE SKELETON TWINS — Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader & Craig Johnson Interview.