Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Kristen Wiig on her hair-raising role in Palm Royale and return to Saturday Night Live

The actress stars as social climber Maxine Simmons in the Apple TV+ drama 

Kristen Wiig at the Palm Royale premiere
5 April 2024
Share this:

Her fans have come to know her through her madcap comedy, but in new TV drama Palm Royale, Kristen Wiig changes genre completely to play a glamorous high-society woman in 1960s America.

Palm Royale – official trailer

The 50-year-old actress and comedienne, who first found fame on the comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL), fully immersed herself in her character and totally relished transforming her look into that of the icy blonde Palm Beach country club social climber Maxine Simmons.

Kristen Wiig as Maxine Simmons © Apple TV+
Kristen Wiig as Maxine Simmons

"I loved it," she said. "I think we all loved it. We had such an amazing hair and make-up team and wardrobe people. Every day was an adventure in being transformed and then to see everyone else step out in whatever look they had for that day.

"I can't take credit for the blonde hair – that was a really fabulous wig. I loved that wig! But the whole look with the hair, wardrobe and everything else took a couple of hours each day, which is pretty good. The only part I struggled with was the spray tan. Six and a half months of spray tans was pretty tough going."

Carol Burnett in Palm Royale© Apple TV+
Palm Royale had Kristen working closely with comedy legend Carol Burnett

Kristen also got to work with one of her own comedy heroes: Carol Burnett, who plays Norma Dellacorte, a relative of Maxine. "She was always making us laugh. She can sleep and still be funny. Carol Burnett is someone I have admired my whole life, so to work with her on this was just a dream come true.

"It's always kind of nerve-racking when you work with or even meet your heroes, but Carol lived up to expectations and more," continued Kristen. "She's so lovely, so much fun and so incredibly talented. I think we just got very, very lucky and she's just incredible in the show."

In Palm Royale, former beauty pageant queen Maxine tries to befriend the high-society women at an exclusive beach club, but does not receive a warm welcome. "It's full of comedy, mystery, 1960s glamour and it's wonderful to look at. It's a really fun ride," Kristen noted. 

Kristen Wiig instantly as Maxine Simmons© Apple TV+
Kristen instantly fell in love with the character of Maxine

Playing Maxine was "so much fun", she added. "She's a character that I think you instantly fall in love with. I did and I really think the audience will. You want her to succeed. She's positive, she's determined, she's sweet and you really do root for her in this environment."

Kristen Wiig and Avi Rothman attend the American Museum of Natural History's 2016 Museum Gala at American Museum of Natural History on November 17, 2016 in New York City© Getty
Kristen Wiig pictured alongside her husband, Avi Rothman

While California-based Kristen, who has four-year-old twins with husband and fellow actor Avi Rothman, has moved into more serious roles in the past, including parts in The Skeleton Twins and The Martian, she is still best known for her comedy work, including co-writing and starring in hit 2011 movie Bridesmaids. She says it's the part of her life that fans remember the most. 

"Sometimes I'll be shopping or in a restaurant and someone will be like: 'Do the voice!' Or they'll expect me to tell a joke or something. But I get [that] it's because they know you from comedy, so they think you must be funny all the time. I'm not really that person at all and I'm definitely not showy like that," Kristen reflected. 

Kristen Wiig wearing a brown oversized blazer at PaleyLive© Getty
The actress is excited to return to Saturday Night Live this month

However, she is still very much a part of the comedy world and will be one of the guest hosts for SNL's 50th anniversary season, which she is "really excited" to do. "I'm always excited to go back and always a little sad to leave," said the star. "I don't miss the hours and how it really left no time at all for a personal life, but I do miss that feeling of being on the team."

Being part of SNL history – the show launched the careers of stars including Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jimmy Fallon – is "incredible", she noted. "I'm so proud to have played a small part in that history. I still love the show and it's still so special, and that goes down to the many amazing producers, writers and performers down the years.

Kristen Wiig wearing a burgundy blazer at a New York event© Getty
Kristen will host SNL on April 6

"I love that the SNL spirit has lived on until now and will do for many, many more years because people love that sense of fun, that joy every week. I still love it and I miss it."

Having worked in both TV and film, which does she prefer? "I don't prefer either one over the other," replied Kristen. "If something comes to me and I love it, I want to do it. The script and who I am lucky enough to get to work with is the most important thing."

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More TV and Film

See more