I don’t know if I would say that Owen Wilson is having a comeback, because his popularity has never really waned, and certainly public affection for him has only grown over the last twenty-plus years, not lessened. But he definitely slowed down his work pace in the mid-2010s, even taking a couple years off (his only credits in 2018-2020 were voicing Lightning McQueen in a LEGO video game and appearing on Documentary Now!). Now, however, between joining the MCU via Loki and appearing in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, it seems Wilson is “back”. He’s expected to reprise the role of Mobius M. Mobius in upcoming Marvel things, he’s co-starring in The Haunted Mansion with Tiffany Haddish and LaKeith Stanfield, there’s that JLo rom-com forthcoming next year, and he was in upstate New York earlier this summer, filming an indie comedy with Michaela Watkins. This is the Owen Wilson trifecta: broad studio movies, rom-coms, and indie comedies. Now, Wilson is crowning his “comeback” by hosting SNL for the first time on October 2, with Kacey Musgraves as the musical guest.
Though he is a founding member of the “frat pack” of early 2000s comedy stars, Wilson has never hosted SNL before. He appeared on Weekend Update in character Hansel, and he’s been lampooned plenty of times—most notably by Edward Norton, and Melissa Villaseñor does an impression, but I don’t think she’s ever done it on SNL—but this is his hosting debut. (It’s also former cast member Jason Sudeikis’s hosting debut on October 23.) It’ll be interesting to see how Wilson does. He’s funny, but he’s so laid back, and there is a certain reserve in his public persona that may or not work for him on a live show. He’s also got an edge that doesn’t really translate on screen.
He is WAY smarter than he lets on, the type of person who thinks a LOT more thoughts than he voices, and in person, there’s a kind of “what will happen next” energy that I’ve yet to really see captured on film. Like he’s the most interesting person in the room and it’s a struggle not to follow him around and see what situations develop. Will SNL bring out the best or worst in that type of person? The worst thing a host can do is get in their own head and start doubting every decision. The best hosts just abandon themselves to the chaos. Owen Wilson seems like a chaotic type, but he’s also a much deeper thinker than anyone credits him for. We’ll see how it works out in a couple weeks.
Speaking of Owen Wilson, though, there is a situation to put on your gossip radar. In interviews, including his recent cover profile with Esquire, his first such interview in years, Wilson speaks frequently of his two young sons. He has yet to mention, though, his toddler daughter with ex-girlfriend Varunie Vongsvirates. All of Wilson’s baby mama situations have been dramatic, but this one seems especially fraught, and has, thus far, only been the provenance of tabloids and mommy sites. Because of his past, public struggles with mental health, I think there is a tendency to protect Owen Wilson from his own spotlight, and I certainly feel that, too. But this omission has become conspicuous, so it’s worth noting it. I don’t know what the other shoe here is, just that it’s out there, waiting to drop.