‘MacGruber’ Stars Will Forte, Kristen Wiig & Ryan Phillippe on Their Big Return
Co-created by Forte, Jorma Taccone, and John Solomon, the show reunites the über patriot with his comrades, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) who teamed up with him for the 2010 movie chronicling their fight against villain Dieter Von Cunth (played by Val Kilmer). MacGruber started out as a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch that parodied the original MacGyver series and quickly turned into something much bigger.
Now, a lot has changed since viewers last saw the trio leading this story, as MacGruber was imprisoned for his over-the-top killing of Cunth in the movie — a retaliation for the villain’s attempt to break up his wedding to Vicki. “He’s been in prison basically since we last saw him,” Forte shares.
So, how does he find himself outside of prison? “[The military comes] in and they give me an opportunity to get out. But in order to get out, I have to commit to a suicide mission,” reveals Forte, who originated the character with Wiig back in their SNL days. “It’s either stay in jail or get out and die for your country.” The suicide mission brings him face-to-face with new threats, like a villain from his past that viewers will meet for the first time, Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth (Billy Zane).
As for Vicki, Wiig is eager to report that she’s “still singing her heart out and writing beautiful music.” In terms of Vicki’s personal life, Wiig teases, “she’s moved on and she hasn’t.” One thing that hasn’t changed along with her songwriting? Her clothing. Vicki has “a very similar wardrobe,” notes the actress.
On the flip side, things aren’t so great for their teammate Dixon Piper. Phillippe jokes, “To be honest things are just not good. MacGruber took him down with him.” It may sound silly, but Cunth’s death does have repercussions as the actor continues, “Piper had to do a little jail time, lost his military eligibility, and is now teaching traffic school.”
Despite the more negative aspects of these characters’ lives when the story picks up, Forte, Wiig, and Philippe were all thrilled to be back in the game with this show. “There’s nobody like her and she’s just so much fun to act with as these dips**t characters,” Forte praises Wiig.
“Well, that’s how I feel about you,” Wiig echoes, complimenting her costar. “I loved making the movie and I know it’s become this cult comedy classic,” Wiig adds, “so it was a no-brainer.” Likewise, Phillippe was eager to return to set as well and had learned a few tricks to keep from laughing too much or breaking during scenes, because there are plenty of moments that will have you wondering how in the heck they didn’t break down into uncontrollable fits of giggles.
“I developed some techniques to distract myself,” says Phillippe. “I would bite the inside of my cheek [or] pinch my fingernail into my thumb just try to distract myself enough that I could hold it together. But it’s tough, especially once they start to improvise and deviate from what’s on the page.”
Luckily for viewers, they’re free to laugh through every second of the exciting new mission that introduces new baddies, allies, and more. Don’t miss it when MacGruber returns to TV on Peacock this December.
MacGruber, Series Premiere, Thursday, December 16, Peacock