The Evolution of a ‘Tina Fey Character’

Michiko Kakutani and BuzzFeed both called it.

In March 2011, New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani suggested that journalist Kim Barker came across in the book The Taliban Shuffle as “sort of a Tina Fey character.” In March 2014, Barker took the BuzzFeed quiz “What Actress Would Play You in the Movie Version of Your Life” and got Fey. Today, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the movie based on Barker’s book, opens in theaters with Fey in the lead role.

Another media strand worth highlighting is that Lorne Michaels, Paramount Pictures and co. chose to adapt a book that, per Barker, had sold a total of 11,000 copies through December 2015. In a Feb. 28 NYT essay, Barker also recalled her initial meeting with Fey:

Fey and I first met in the late summer of 2014, for lunch in Midtown Manhattan. I know we talked about specific things, although I was so full of adrenaline and a desire to be funny, I could hardly remember anything afterward. I know we both complained about high heels. I know she asked me about Afghanistan. We made no future plans; I had no certainty that this movie would actually happen. It felt like an awesome first date that went nowhere.

It was when Barker visited the set of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in New Mexico last spring, she writes, that the movie adaptation finally felt as real as a second, third, fourth date and eventual proposal. The Fey angle was also front and center this week in a piece by Soren Andersen published by one of Barker’s former print homes — the Seattle Times.

Jacket cover courtesy: Penguin

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.