Rebel Wilson brings quirky comedy to film and TV

Australian actress, writer and comedian Rebel Wilson

LOS ANGELES — Get ready to notice Rebel Wilson.

She already may have caught your eye with her brief appearance in “Bridesmaids,” playing the freeloading roommate who reads Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) diary.

The Australian actress’ scene-stealing turn in the 2011 hit got Hollywood’s attention. “Basically, the week ‘Bridesmaids’ came out, I booked up for the rest of the year,” Wilson, 28, said.

Among the gigs: Joining the A-list ensemble in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” voicing a hostile kangaroo in the animated “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” working with Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s crime dramedy “Pain and Gain” and playing a silky-voiced (if aerobically challenged) competitive singer in next month’s musical comedy “Pitch Perfect.” She’s also about to start taping a TV pilot with Conan O’Brien, “Super Fun Night,” which she’s set to star in and produce.

Wilson’s latest on-screen work is in “Bachelorette.” Writer-director Leslye Headland cast the comedian as the straight woman in the dark comedy. Wilson plays Becky, a sweet, beaming bride, the first of her friends to marry. Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan are her troubled friends whose hard-partying threatens to ruin Becky’s day.

“It was sort of crazy, because it’s like, really? You’re going to cast Rebel Wilson as the straight guy?” Headland recalled. “Becky is a very difficult character to cast. You need really, really adept and fearless actors. I met Rebel and I saw her work and I was like, ‘I have to have her.’ ”

“Pitch Perfect” director Jason Moore agrees.

“There’s this beautiful openness to the way Rebel approaches everything,” he said.

In “What to Expect,” for example, the full-figured actress trades outfits with petite Elizabeth Banks and romps about unselfconsciously.

Though Wilson is a fresh face for American audiences, she’s no stranger to performing. A writer, actress and standup comic in her native Australia, she began on stage and appeared in more than a dozen TV shows before heading to Hollywood.

“I think I came to America at the right time,” she said. “To have ‘Bridesmaids’ be the first thing I was cast in and to have that be just such a huge hit, even though I was just part of the ensemble in that — I have just been working nonstop. I’m a writer as well, so I’ve got lots of things in development and it’s crazy. It’s just been a nonstop whirlwind, and I can’t wait for people to see all these movies.”