After Anna Kendrick first rose to fame in The Twilight Saga movies, she soon established herself as an A-list celebrity in her own right. And through her movie roles and generally wholesome media appearances, the actress has managed to maintain a rather squeaky-clean image. It may surprise you to know, then, that during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kendrick admitted she had lied to her castmates from the movie Pitch Perfect. But why exactly did she decide to trick her fellow stars in this way?
We’ll return to exactly what Kendrick said to her colleagues a little later, but first let’s explore a little more about the actress herself. In September 2018 the tech magazine Wired interviewed Kendrick alongside Blake Lively – her co-star from the movie A Simple Favor. And there, the pair answered questions about themselves that were often searched for on the internet.
In the video interview, which was uploaded to YouTube, Lively repeats the commonly asked query, “Is Anna Kendrick Canadian?” And her fellow interviewee appears to be flattered by this, joking, “Oh my gosh, that’s so nice… I tricked people into thinking I have a good personality!” Ultimately, though, Kendrick clarifies, “No, I’m not Canadian. I’m from Maine, but you would be surprised how many people think that Maine is a part of Canada.”
Yes, Kendrick was in fact born in the state’s biggest city, Portland, in August 1985. And while she is not actually Canadian, her home city is only a few hours’ drive from the country. Perhaps, then, that stereotypically Canadian personality trait of politeness somehow seeped over the border.
In any case, Kendrick started her career off young, being only 12 years old when she first appeared in the Broadway musical High Society in 1998. And the budding actress quickly made an impact, too. That year, she won a Theater World Award, with further nominations coming from both the Drama Desk Awards and the Tonys. Given such acclaim, then, it’s perhaps no surprise that Kendrick decided to tread the boards again in the New York City Opera’s 2003 production of A Little Night Music.
Kendrick’s movie debut came that same year, too, in the comedy musical Camp. This was followed in turn by the 2007 dramedy Rocket Science. And the fledgling star certainly seemed to prove her talent on the big screen, as she went on to earn award nominations for both movies. In 2008, though, Kendrick finally scored her breakthrough role.
This part, of course, was Jessica Stanley in the hit movie Twilight, with Kendrick also showing up as Bella Swan’s friend in two of the franchise’s sequels. And this opened the door to the actress’ first leading role in the thriller Elsewhere – setting her up in turn as one to watch in Hollywood.
Plus, Kendrick received yet another big break when she was cast opposite George Clooney in the hit comedy Up in the Air. And the star’s portrayal of a college graduate with lofty ambitions also caught the eye of critics, with The New York Times Manohla Dargis writing that she “grabs every scene she’s in.” Kendrick’s turn in the flick earned nominations at the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes and the Oscars to boot.
By 2012, then, Kendrick had a number of comedy movies under her belt as well as that time spent performing on Broadway. And when auditions began for the musical comedy Pitch Perfect, this experience naturally made the actress a good candidate for the lead role of Beca Mitchell.
In Universal Studios’ released production notes for the movie, producer Paul Brooks revealed, “First and foremost, we were looking for actors who had comedic instincts and thought we’d get lucky with terrific actors who happened to be funny and can actually dance and maybe sing.” That sentiment was seemingly shared, too, by Elizabeth Banks, who also served as one of the film’s producers.
Banks explained, “The character Beca required someone who [is] grounded, who has a strong point of view on the world, who is funny and empathetic and who we can all relate to and root for.” And although finding the right woman for the job could have been a tall order, Kendrick was actually already in the producers’ minds.
Banks continued, “[Kendrick] is all those things, and there was no other choice.” And her colleague apparently agreed. Brooks added, “I saw [Kendrick] in Up in the Air and thought it was the most exquisite, elegant, balanced, sublime performance. [Kendrick] was our first choice for the role of Beca.” Luckily for the duo, then, the actress chose to sign up to the musical comedy.
In the movie, Kendrick plays a freshman student at Barden University – the very same college where her dad is a professor. And while Beca dreams of becoming a music producer in Los Angeles, she instead attends school on her father’s insistence – even though music remains her focus.
After that, a reluctant Beca joins a female acapella group known as the Barden Bellas, and the movie follows the girls as they sing their way through competitions. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a healthy 80 percent rating, too, and noted that “the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping.”
And thankfully for Kendrick and her co-stars, Pitch Perfect proved a hit with audiences. Yes, although it took a while for moviegoers to make the film a success, it nevertheless went on to earn more than $115 million globally following its release in September 2012.
Fans will also likely remember the famous shower scene in Pitch Perfect. During this part of the movie, Beca is accosted in the college’s communal showers by Chloe Beale, who overhears the freshman singing to herself. Chloe then refuses to let Beca go until she agrees to audition for the singing group. And it seems that these tactics ultimately pay off.
In auditions to recruit members for the Barden Bellas, a number of women take turns to impress group leaders Chloe and Aubrey Posen. Then, after each of the others slays their try-outs, a reluctant Beca appears at the end for a low-key rendition of “Cups (When I’m Gone).” And, interestingly, this stand-out performance almost wasn’t included in the movie at all.
Pitch Perfect viewers may remember that Beca hadn’t prepared a song for the audition. Still, she had one in her repertoire: the now-famous “Cups.” And in an example of art imitating life, Kendrick had auditioned for her Pitch Perfect role by performing the very same tune – having taught herself after watching videos on YouTube.
In the movie, meanwhile, the Barden Bellas have opportunities to showcase their talents outside of the singing competitions. For instance, in one scene, the competing groups take part in “riff-offs” – which sees groups perform songs all about a randomly selected subject.
And according to Skylar Astin, who plays rival acapella group member Jesse Swanson, the riff-off scene played a big part in the Pitch Perfect cast forging friendships off screen. It turns out, moreover, that this was largely a result of the challenging conditions that the stars had faced during filming.
Apparently, you see, this particular part of the film was shot at 3:00 a.m. in the dead of winter. And in a 2012 interview with website Movie Viral, Astin described what had transpired, saying, “There were no places to keep cast members’ chairs or keep warm, so we bonded a lot that night.”
However, the Pitch Perfect cast had plenty of time to get to know one another even before filming began. You see, the stars participated in a month-long training bootcamp in order to learn all the songs, harmonies and dance routines in the movie. And it seems that they grew close during this period, too.
In 2012 Hana Mae Lee recalled to the entertainment website Young Hollywood, “Filming was like summer camp. We were there four weeks prior to filming – we would have four hours of dance and two hours of singing a day… We’re still friends now… We were all from a different place, yet we were all together making this beautiful and fun movie together.”
In fact, the Pitch Perfect cast’s friendships have grown far beyond the movie set. Camp and Astin married in 2016, with co-stars Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson and Ben Platt all in attendance. Brittany Snow was even one of Camp’s bridesmaids. And Snow told People in 2016, “It’s funny since I’ve known [Astin and Camp] from the beginning of them meeting and dating, and to now see them get married is pretty surreal.”
Sadly, Camp and Astin would go on to announce their separation in 2019. But, as it turns out, they weren’t the only Pitch Perfect cast members to have co-habited. In 2016 Snow explained to Refinery29, “Kelley Jakle and I live together in real life, so we share everything.”
Plus, when the Pitch Perfect girls appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in December 2017, Kendrick had a confession to make. She revealed, “[Camp and I] feel especially close to one another because I’m wearing her bra – because I forgot mine.” And in a later appearance on the talk show, the actress had yet another interesting revelation to share.
Being a particularly close-knit group, the Pitch Perfect actresses make a point of celebrating their birthdays when they’re together. Indeed, in September 2018 Kendrick revealed to DeGeneres, “We are very big into birthdays in the cast.” And so when Chrissie Fit joined the ensemble for Pitch Perfect’s two sequels, her fellow stars naturally had to commemorate her own special day.
To celebrate Fit’s 34th birthday, then, the women went to The Magic Castle. Kendrick explained, “[The venue is] this secret club for magicians. It sounds really dorky because it is, but also it’s amazing. They did all these magic tricks, and it was so much fun.” The stars had even had a trick performed on them.
Kendrick told DeGeneres that a magician had instructed the actresses to add together random numbers. Then when they were done, the final total appeared to resemble a phone number. And as a member of the group called that number, the magician’s phone started to ring. Kendrick later confessed of that moment, “I don’t know how he did that. [It] was so cool, and it was the greatest night.”
The next day, however, the magician contacted Kendrick’s friend to ask her on a date. And, as it happens, the actress had her own theory about the invitation. Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she said, “My question is, ‘Was he just going to hit on one of the girls that called him? Or is this a really good trick?” Then Kendrick speculated upon the magician’s intentions.
Kendrick added, “Did he know how to get her to call, and they’re going to end up married with kids, and it’s like the greatest magic trick of all time?” Yet the magician and Kendrick’s buddy apparently never dated. And when it comes to celebrating her own birthday, the actress seems to prefer lower-key affairs.
Some may have been shocked, in fact, when Kendrick described how she marked her 33rd birthday in August 2018. She explained to DeGeneres, “I didn’t do anything. I hate my birthday because I hate attention. No, I don’t know why.” And although this information was delivered in the actress’ typically irreverent style, she would go on to reveal a dark secret.
Kendrick admitted at first that her fellow Pitch Perfect castmembers “always try and get [her] to do something with them” on her birthday. To avoid any discomfort, then, the actress had resorted to an extreme and devious tactic: she had lied to her co-stars about her birthday plans.
“I actually told them, ‘I’m in Vancouver, visiting a friend,’” Kendrick revealed to DeGeneres. And although the premise was a total fabrication, it was only to avoid a situation that the star may find embarrassing or awkward. Besides, in setting herself up as unavailable, Kendrick got to do exactly what she wanted on her birthday.
“I organized my sock drawer, and I didn’t do anything. And it was amazing,” Kendrick added. It appears, then, that the actress wasn’t kidding when she said she really doesn’t like celebrating her birthday. But when Kendrick was pushed into disclosing whether she did anything to mark the occasion, she responded with snarky wit.
DeGeneres also asked Kendrick if she had received any gifts on the day. To this, though, the actress replied, “No. I’m good. I’m chillin.’” Still, despite the star’s laid-back approach to her own celebrations, she did admit to making one concession.
“I ordered a cake for myself. I’m not a monster, I’m not a sociopath,” Kendrick joked. And the actress was quick to clarify that she’s only reluctant to celebrate her own birthday. This is perhaps just as well, too. If she had snubbed her castmates, after all, she may have risked being, in Pitch Perfect parlance, “cut off.”
And Kendrick has spent much more time with her fellow Pitch Perfect stars since the first movie’s release in 2012. Yes, as fans of the franchise will know, its main players went on to reprise their roles in two sequels, which hit movie theaters in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Kendrick also scored a Billboard 200 top ten hit with “Cups,” with the song going on to be certified three-times platinum. And she’s seen further big-screen success, too, in the likes of Into the Woods, The Accountant, A Simple Favor and smash-hit animation Trolls.
In 2016, moreover, Kendrick released the book Scrappy Little Nobody – a collection of personal essays that follow her life from Portland, Maine, to the Hollywood A-list. And, of course, the star continues to entertain her 7.4 million Twitter followers and nearly 16 million-strong Instagram fanbase with her off-beat humor.