If you’ve ever dreamt about hosting your own talk show, director Shira Piven’s newest film, Welcome to Me, is for you. In it, Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and decides to blow it all on her own Oprah-style daytime television program. Here, DuJour spoke to Piven (who happens to be the sister of actor Jeremy) about the film.
What attracted you to the script?
I was familiar with [screenwriter] Eliot Lawrence’s work, and he’s such an original voice, which is unusual. It’s so head and shoulders above anything that I’ve come across—a beautifully written original story. There’s also a fairy tale element to this film, like Punch-Drunk Love or King of Comedy. They play very real and straight but there’s an almost imperceptible fairy tale aspect to them and those are my favorite types of movies.
The role of Alice is quite a complex one for any actor to tackle; did you always have Kristen in mind for it?
She was actually the first person we made an offer to and we had to wait a while for her to read it but we really felt she was going to get it as soon as she read it. The nice thing is that she fell in love with the script too and we both approached it closer to a drama—the human element is really at the heart of it.
With a project of this scope, what were some of the challenges that you faced?
I come from a music and theater background and I found the music in the movie challenging because it almost feels like, why would this film need music? But it demanded something that we had to find a little bit by trial and error, and finding the music also helped us find the tone.
Do you have a favorite scene?
I definitely like the sequence of her unraveling in the hotel room, but I don’t want to give too much away!
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on three different adaptations; one actually involves my brother which is cool.
Must be nice to get to boss him around.
Yep, or he can boss me around!
All photographs courtesy of Alchemy