A Day on Set of the New Movie Pitch Perfect
"Oh my God, I want to murder our costume designer," says Anna Kendrick—who plays Beca in the upcoming movie Pitch Perfect—between grueling takes of a dance number that requires a tight skirt and heels. "I will have his head on a platter."
"She's kidding," explains a chipper Brittany Snow, who plays Chloe.
"I'm not," Anna says.
Even though the cameras have stopped rolling, it's as if each of the girls is still in character—Anna Kendrick is the outspoken badass, and Brittany Snow is the happy-go-lucky leader of her college a cappella group. The two couldn't be more different, but play off each other well both on screen and off.
It's late. I'm not sure how late—I'm afraid to turn on my phone and run the risk of Facebook's pings ruining a take of this scene before I have the chance to silence the dang thing. I'm in Baton Rouge, and have been watching Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, and the rest of "The Bellas" do a stiffly-choreographed rendition of Ace of Bases's "The Sign." I've been watching so long that my own legs hurt. From sitting. The actresses must feel like butt.
Ester Dean, a real-life singer who plays a Bella named Cynthia Rose in Pitch Perfect, says her skin has broken out. Adam DeVine, who plays the Bellas nemesis, Bumper, says he's put on weight because he can't stop eating the southern staple, po boy sandwiches. And then there's Anna Kendrick in those heels. But to me, they all look amazing. Focused and professional, but still having fun. I'm a little jealous.
"[We hang out] weird amount," says DeVine of his castmastes. "It’s a bizarre… more than my best friends back home. Because we stay in the same motel, we shoot together all day, and we don’t know anyone else here, so we were forced to make best friends of each other."
The night before, I'd gotten a taste of the cast's Baton Rouge hangouts: casual restaurants with plenty of fried food and typical Top 40-blairing college bars; nothing like the fancy restaurants or clubs in LA. And this is where the cast of Pitch Perfect spent three months recording songs, learning difficult choreography, and making each other laugh. Of course, it's easy to make people laugh when your script was written by a 30 Rock writer and produced by comedic actress Elizabeth Banks. During my day on set, I realized pretty quickly that Pitch Perfect is not a kids' movie. It's a legitimate comedy that just so happens to be about young people. I predict it will have the staying power and repeat watchability of Mean Girls.
The plot is simple: An all-girls college a cappella team (The Bellas) must reinvent itself after losing most of their uptight, attractive members. No one wants to see them fail more than the Treble Makers, the all-guys a cappella group from the same college. The Bellas take on new members like Anna Kendrick's Beca, who breaks the group out of their comfort zone as she goes through her own changes.
"It’s a very classic coming of age story," says producer and actress Elizabeth Banks, who plays an a cappella commentator in the movie. "'What am I going to do, who am I going to be with, in my life?' And when you get to college you get a do-over, right? Whatever you were before doesn’t matter; it’s all about starting over. So you get to be whoever you wanna be. And this is a story of Beca Marshall deciding, figuring out who’s she’s going to be and wondering if she made the right or wrong choice throughout the movie."
Coming of age? Music? Comedy? Is this a Glee knockoff?
No, says literally everybody. In fact, the script was started before Glee was even a thing, and is based on a book about college a cappella. Plus, unlike Glee, this movie actually makes sense. In fact, the script was so strong and the project so well-conceived that all actors, including Oscar-nominated Anna Kendrick, were willing to properly audition for their roles. The result? Gutsy, interesting casting. It was hard to picture the usually-uptight Anna Kendrick as a loose cannon, but she totally pulls it off opposite her co-star Skylar Astin (Jesse), who played Georg in Spring Awakening on Broadway.
What makes the movie super special, though, are its comic actors, Aussie Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy) and Workaholics star Adam DeVine. Rebel is a total scene-stealer, and honestly, every time Adam speaks, I giggle. It's embarrassing. He's just got some kinda charisma that turns me into an adoring puddle of mush. Giggle. That's it, I'm not going to let our intern Jenny transcribe the tape of my DeVine interview when I get back to the office.
Okay fine, I will, but I'm going to be very, very apologetic about it.
Pitch Perfect comes out October 5. Will you see it?