TODAY -- Pictured: Rebel Wilson on Monday, April 1, 2024 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Gett...
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Rebel Wilson Is Going Through “Insane” Sleep Deprivation With Daughter Royce

It certainly helps that her little girl is very much in “such an adorable phase” right now.

Rebel Wilson has a lot going on right now. She’s promoting her memoir Rebel Rising, which was released to some hullabaloo in April, and has just put the “finishing touches” on The Deb, her directorial debut about a teenage girl’s debutant ball in rural Australia. Her biggest challenge at the moment, however, is one familiar to just about any parent in the world. “The sleep deprivation is insane,” she says. “It’s just myself and [my fiancée] Ramona parenting right now and Roycey was up at 5 a.m. this morning. Even if she’s sleeping and she might wake up twice a night, that’s twice when you’re in deep sleep and you hear the baby monitor and you’re like…” she trails off smiling, in a way anyone who’s had a 19-month-old would understand.

I spoke to Wilson via Zoom, she’s in a bookshop in Los Angeles, promoting both her new memoir Rebel Rising and Zevo, a bug trap company. After growing up with dogs, regularly “flea bombing” the house, and contracting malaria from mosquitoes, Wilson says she developed something she calls “bugziety.”

“In Australia, I guess spiders are our worst ones. They’re pretty nasty. Luckily, I’ve never been bitten by a spider,” she says. “I know they try to scare you Americans with our spider stories, but if you live in the city, it’s not too bad.”

Not so bad that she doesn’t want to return. In fact, Royce, who was born in the United States, just obtained Australian citizenship. “But she’s just in such an adorable phase,” Wilson coos. “She is very into books and classical music, which is really, really cool. Beethoven, Mozart, all of that. I think she’s a little genius, but I think all moms might think that about their children at that age.”

Wilson says she is most excited about her daughter turning 5 or 6, so she can take Royce to the movies and live theater. “I think that’s where I’m going to excel as a parent.”

One of the movies they might be watching at that stage is The Deb. The musical comedy, written by Hannah Reilly and Meg Washington (aka Calypso on Bluey), first came out of a writing scholarship Wilson sponsors in Australia. The play takes place in a small town in the outback and tells the story of teenage outcast Taylah, who wants her moment to shine at a small town debutante ball, and her cousin Maeve, who is determined to put a stop to the event. The stage show premiered in 2022 at the Australian Theatre for Young People’s Rebel Theater. (No, it’s not a coincidence: the space was named for Wilson herself, who donated $1 million to the organization that meant so much to her as a young theater kid.)

She didn’t always see herself as a director, but the decision ultimately came about because some in the industry didn’t always see her as an actor. “I think people saw me in Australia in the early days and didn’t think, ‘Oh, she’s a natural.’ I think I didn’t look like Nicole Kidman or I didn’t have that kind of look or whatever. So I had to really use my personality to get things across. I love being a performer, but I always had to write and produce in order for people to see what I could do, and so directing kind of seemed like the next logical step.”

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that The Deb is a comedy musical, Wilson’s “favorite genre” and one she’s well-known for thanks to the Pitch Perfect franchise. “It just has such heart,” she says. “[Taylah] kind of feels like she has to be pretty to be valued. And what she realizes is she’s actually pretty strong as a person, and that’s more important than being pretty. I think that’s just such a nice, positive, uplifting message.”

It’s the kind of message that could make a difference to little kids like Royce as they get older. The idea of breaking bad patterns is something Wilson is acutely aware of. It helps, of course, that she began working on her memoir around the same time she became a mom.

“I write a lot about food and my kind of disordered eating in the book. Writing it out and having to sit there and really process it even more than I had before has affected me as a mom,” she says. “It’s just made me really aware of patterns that existed in my family and of those negative patterns, how I can prevent my daughter from going through the same thing.”