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'Bridesmaids' Stars: What's Next?

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Feb 29, 2012 | 11:23am EST

Kristen Wiig might’ve lost in the Best Original Screenplay category at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, but she’s still reaping the benefits of the success of Bridesmaids. Just today, in fact, she added yet another movie – an action-comedy from the Oscar-winning screenwriters of The Descendants – to her busy upcoming schedule, and most of Wiig’s Bridesmaids co-breakouts have also been in-demand. Here’s what they have been, and will be, doing post-Bridesmaids.

Kristen Wiig

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Wiig stands as the main beneficiary of the blockbuster that was Bridesmaids, and deservedly so: As the film’s star and (Oscar-nominated) co-writer, she exhibited bankability in two areas, and in case you didn’t know, bankability in Hollywood plays a major role in opportunity, of which she has plenty: Aside from next week’s Friends with Kids, which she booked pre-Bridesmaids, Wiig has roles the Sean Penn-directed The Comedian, the star-studded remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the ambitious Imogen, the canine-centric Revenge for Jolly, the almost too-weird-to-be-true Freezing People Is Easy, and now the aforementioned untitled action-com from Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Meanwhile, her involvement, or lack thereof, in a potential Bridesmaids sequel seems to change with each week, but … how would she even have the time?

Melissa McCarthy

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The true breakout star of Bridesmaids, as the laughable-then-lovable Megan, McCarthy lost Best Supporting Actress to Octavia Spencer on Sunday, but the two ladies are landing jobs at the same breakneck rate. Although McCarthy has a hit-sitcom day job (Mike & Molly), she’s managed to book two high-profile acting roles, in Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 and the Jason Bateman vehicle ID Theft, not to mention a dual writing/acting gig in Tammy, directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. And that’s just movies! McCarthy has been almost as active with small-screen projects, including two that she and husband (and Bridesmaids costar) Ben Falcone co-created and sold.

Maya Rudolph

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Rudolph seemed to disappear for a while pre-Bridesmaids, but now, thanks to her bride-to-be role – and perhaps her poop-in-the-street scene – in Bridesmaids, alongside old friend Kristen Wiig, her career is in full swing, probably more than ever. Rudolph is busy regularly playing an Oprah-esque talk-show mogul on NBC’s hit sitcom Up All Night, and she recently returned to her Saturday Night Live roots to host the show. Long-term, she’ll also be seen, er, heard in summer 2013’s Turbo, a surefire blockbuster from DreamsWorks Animation. Off-screen, she and director Paul Thomas Anderson welcomed their third child together last summer.

Rose Byrne

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The Aussie actress, and arguably most under-noticed Bridesmaids cast member, didn’t necessarily need the career boost, which might explain the dearth of news regarding her post-Bridesmaids movement: Byrne will reprise her key role as Ellen Parsons on TV’s critically beloved Damages, whose fifth and final season will return this summer, and the very intriguing-sounding thriller The Place Beyond the Pines sometime this year, alongside hideous men Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. But aside from that, pretty much nothing ... yet.

Wendi McClendon-Covey

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The former Reno 911! actress, who played loose-cannon bridesmaid Rita in the movie, has appeared on a number of TV shows but seems ready to make the full-time leap to movies. Most notably, she’s landed roles in the male-stripper flick Magic Mike and the sure-to-be-huge adaptation What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but she’ll also soon appear in smaller fare like Sleeping Around later this year and the even better-titled A White Trash Christmas in 2013.

Ellie Kemper

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There hasn’t been a whole lot of activity for Kemper – whose role as receptionist/unlikely temptress Erin on The Office probably doesn’t leave her a ton of time – in the wake of Bridesmaids-mania, but she will be seen in 21 Jump Street, out March 16, and later in a wedding dress, following her recent engagement to Michael Koman.

Chris O’Dowd

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Last but not least, the male (not named Jon Hamm)! If not the aforementioned Kemper, then O’Dowd is certainly Bridesmaids’ freshest face, even though it was a face that seemed so familiar to audiences. That, coupled with his likable and believable performance as Wiig’s boy toy-turned-boyfriend, has deservedly led to some upcoming movies for the up-and-coming Irishman: the comedy Frankie Go Boom, Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 – in which he’ll reunite with Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy (see above) – and the 2013 indie Calvary. Not to mention a prominent role in the soon-to-be-released, Bridesmaids-cast-friendly Friends with Kids. His own lead roles may well soon follow.

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