With a name like Rebel, it’s only fitting that Rebel Wilson has earned a reputation for making waves in Hollywood. At 38 years of age, the native of Sydney, Australia, is about to make her debut as a romantic leading lady—but the film isn’t your typical romantic comedy. Debuting on Valentine’s Day, 2019, Isn’t It Romantic thrusts Wilson’s character into a starring role in her own, personal romantic comedy—and Wilson is ready to wow audiences with her inimitable style once more.
“Isn’t It Romantic” – A Meta Rom-Com
Isn’t It Romantic is billed as a romantic comedy, so it’s easy to assume the plot of Wilson’s upcoming flick will be fairly boilerplate. In reality, however, it’s anything but. Indeed, Wilson’s character, Natalie, is a young, single professional who absolutely loathes the tropes that are so common in popular romantic comedies. When she hits her head after a scuffle in a subway station, however, she comes to in an alternate reality where she is the star of the cheesiest romantic comedy ever.
Anyone who has seen Wilson in unforgettable roles in films like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect shouldn’t be surprised that she’s finally landed a starring role. What is surprising, however, is that the movie is a romantic comedy—kind of. Backed up by a talented cast that includes Liam Hemsworth, who recently got hitched to Miley Cyrus, and Adam Devine, Wilson is certain to steal the show in what’s being described as a meta rom-com.
Who is Natalie?
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, who sprang to prominence with his well-received 2015 horror film, Final Girls, Isn’t It Romantic revolves around the adventures of Natalie, who must adjust to suddenly being the star of a personal romantic comedy. An architect by trade, the New York City based Natalie suddenly finds herself living in a pastel penthouse in a world that is strictly PG-13; nudity, swearing and other no-no’s are automatically censored.
What’s even more strange for Natalie is that she is also thrust into a love triangle between Devine, who plays her longtime friend. There is also Hemsworth, who plays hunky heartthrob Blake. The talented cast is also joined by Priyanka Chopra, who plays a yoga ambassador with whom Josh, Devine’s character, is smitten.
The film pays homage to many of the most popular and beloved themes and tropes of romantic comedies through the years. A soundtrack of perky Vanessa Carlton music constantly plays in the background, and characters break into dance numbers at seemingly random times. Test audiences loved the dancing and singing so much that Wilson opted to add yet another musical number to the end of the film. The movie also includes shout-outs to classic rom-coms like Notting Hill, Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally.
Rebel Wilson’s Background
Given where Rebel Wilson started out in life, it’s incredible to think that she soon will grace the big screen in her first starring romantic comedy role. Born on March 2, 1980, Wilson grew up in Sydney, Australia but moved around a lot because both of her parents were professional dog handlers. She spent most of her early life in New South Wales, however, and it is where she attended school and started her career.
Although she may not have stayed put in one home for very long as a child, Rebel Wilson has plenty of stability these days. In fact, the actress now owns several homes around the world, including a couple in Sydney as well as abodes in the Hollywood Hills, London and New York City. Indeed, the pink penthouse where her character lives in Isn’t It Romantic is probably not too far off from what the actress is now accustomed to in real life.
Bursting with charisma and natural talent, Rebel Wilson was thrilled to recently appear on the cover of Australian Vogue. It’s just the latest in an amazing career trajectory that continues to increase her prominence as a star. In 2018 alone, the actress had five movies in development—and that pace is only expected to increase in the years to come as she grows her production company.
Education in Entertainment
Although Rebel’s life revolves around acting and producing these days, Wilson didn’t always count on a career in Hollywood. While attending the Australian Theatre for Young People, or ATYP, Wilson was also enrolled at the University of New South Wales, where she earned degrees in the arts and attended law school. The young woman clearly didn’t want to put all of her eggs into one basket.
Earning a slot at ATYP had to have been a major coup for the fledgling actress; some of Australia’s best-known talents earned their chops there. In fact, Nicole Kidman, an alumna of the school, awarded Wilson with the very scholarship that she went on to use to attend the Second City Training Center in New York City. There is little doubt that this is the lucky break that ensured the future of the bright young actress.
After completing her education at the University of New South Wales but before starting her acting training in earnest, Wilson served as an Australian youth ambassador to South Africa. While living in the country, the young woman contracted malaria. During a series of feverish hallucinations, she saw herself accepting an Academy Award at the Oscars. In interviews, Wilson has stated that this is where she officially gained the inspiration to follow her acting dreams.
Rebel’s Official Debut
Rebel Wilson made her official film debut while still living Down Under. She had a small role in the 2003 Australian film, Pizza, that helped to put her on the map. She made her U.S. film debut in Ghost Rider, the 2007 movie starring Nicolas Cage. Although the film didn’t lead to instant stardom, it did give her valuable experience in acting in Hollywood. The young woman was hooked immediately.
Wilson finally really broke out as an actress with her role in 2011’s Bridesmaids, where she starred alongside Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig. Although she originally auditioned for Melissa McCarthy’s role, she ended up stealing the show as Wiig’s bizarre roommate. Immediately on the heels of that success, Wilson took the role as Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect series, which starred Anna Kendrick. Her choir-singing character won fans’ hearts and quickly turned her into something of a household name.
Even amid all of her success on the big screen, Wilson continued to pursue other interests as well. She launched a clothing line for plus-sized women fairly early in her career. Today, she operates Rebel Wilson X Angels, a body-conscious clothing line for plus-sized women. The actress is proud to serve as a role model for girls and women who don’t fit into society’s narrow standards of beauty, and she is parlaying her professional success into something positive for many people.
A Successful Entrepreneur
Not one to rest on her laurels, Rebel Wilson also now owns her own production company, Camp Sugar. She enjoys the work because it allows her to develop her own scripts and to sell them to studios. The actress continues to promote movies that empower women and girls. Her company’s first big project, The Hustle, is a remake of sorts of the 1988 classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Wilson will play the Steve Martin role and Anne Hathaway plays the one that was immortalized by Michael Caine.
Those who work for Wilson in her production company describe her as being very hands on with projects. Indeed, she is known to attend test screenings undercover to see for herself how audiences react to various things. That is precisely how she realized that Isn’t It Romantic could use another musical number, now included toward the end of the film.
When she isn’t busy with her production company, acting and clothing line, Rebel Wilson enjoys working with interior design and custom designs for the many homes that she owns around the world. The actress also sponsors children at the School of St. Jude’s in Tanzania. In a recent interview, she revealed that her first student had graduated from the program and had even earned her own scholarship.
A Valentine’s Day Must-See
With a release date of February 14, 2019—Valentine’s Day—Isn’t It Romantic is certain to take the box office by storm with its unique plot and interesting cast. It could very well turn be the project that cements Wilson’s place in the unlikeliest of genres—romantic comedies. However, it’s all in a day’s work for the actress, who has worn many different hats throughout her career. From Jenny Craig spokesperson to law school student, Rebel Wilson has shown time and time again that she’s willing to do what it takes to succeed.
Will 2019 be the Year of Rebel Wilson? Assuming that Isn’t It Romantic is the success that it is destined to be, it very likely could be. The real question, however, is whether Wilson will ever break away from comedy into more dramatic roles. Given her natural talents in so many areas, there is little doubt about that, either.