With her uncanny talent for impersonation, mixed with an ability to concoct truly bizarre and memorable original characters, Kate McKinnon has made herself the biggest star on Saturday Night Live. The next move for McKinnon is to find herself a movie vehicle that can fully showcase her unique talents and help her segue into the next phase of her career.
Thus far, McKinnon’s biggest movie role was in the much-discussed 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, a performance that made a good impression even though the film itself did not do as well as expected. Last year also saw McKinnon appearing in supporting roles in the comedies Masterminds and Office Christmas Party. In 2017, she’ll hit the screen alongside Scarlett Johansson (whom she appeared with on SNL earlier in March) in the all-female dark comedy Rough Night. Team-ups appear to be McKinnon’s thing, and we’ve now learned she has also lined up a future project that will pair her with Mila Kunis.
According to Deadline, McKinnon and Kunis are in talks with Lionsgate to appear together in the action/comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me, directed by Susanna Fogel from a script Fogel wrote with David Iserson. The film concerns a pair of best friends who find themselves in the middle of international intrigue, after one of them discovers her ex-boyfriend was a spy. Brian Grazer is producing through Imagine Entertainment and the plan is for the movie to go before cameras beginning this summer.
The Spy Who Dumped Me sounds like it could be part of the recent trend of more explicit R-rated comedies starring women. That trend paid off big-time for Mila Kunis in 2016 when her Bad Moms film did nearly $180 million at the box office, and McKinnon will ride that particular wave herself this summer in Rough Night, which involves a group of friends accidentally killing a male stripper. However, The Spy Who Dumped Me writer/director Susanna Fogel’s last film, the friendship comedy Life Partners, was actually fairly low-key so we’ll have to wait and see what tone the movie is trying to strike.
As we’ve learned from the cases of so many SNL featured performers who tried and failed to make the leap to big-screen stardom, finding that one perfect vehicle can be difficult. It’s one thing to be good at firing off catchphrases or lampooning politicians while wearing wigs, but it’s something else altogether to carry a whole movie. Thus far, McKinnon has stuck to ensemble movies that surround her with solid co-stars, and it appears that for the time-being she’s content to continue teaming up rather than going for a true breakout star vehicle.
Of course, if The Spy Who Dumped Me doesn’t do it for her, McKinnon could always try to kick-start her big screen career by spinning off one of her own SNL characters into a movie vehicle (it worked for Mike Myers). If she does go this route, let’s hope she chooses Ms. Rafferty, her filthy character from the infamous UFO abduction sketch that almost killed Ryan Gosling.