In spite of not being a household name (yet), Anna Kendrick has notched up a diverse and interesting selection of roles in her relatively short career, including Scott Pilgrim’s sharp-witted and slightly scary sister, the very sweet and somewhat out of her depth Natalie in Up in the Air – for which she received an Oscar nomination, as well as putting in the only watchable performances in the entire Twilight saga.
She’s also a massive film fan, and for that reason alone we absolutely love her.
Anna was recently in town to promote 50/50, and we had the opportunity to speak to her about her experiences making the film, her first time as a romantic interest, and how to talk about Twilight without actually talking about Twilight.
On becoming involved with 50/50
I read the script mid-2009, and didn’t hear anything about it I met with Nathan Kahane from Mandate about it, but it was sort of about other things, and you never want to say, ‘I really want to do that movie’. You want to act super cool. Then, out of nowhere, at Christmas they offer it to me and I was really excited. I thought it had disappeared, and then it came back. I was very excited.
Now Seth and Will and Jonathon say, ‘we had her in mind the whole time’, but you never know about that stuff. It wasn’t written for me, no. It’s funny, because I wonder to what degree they were expecting me to do the same performance I did in Up In The Air. At a certain point I felt like that’s exactly what they wanted, and I felt bad because I felt like I was tricking them into offering me a part, and then planning to do something else, but everybody was happy with what I was doing.
On creating the character of Katherine
Somebody had told me, they were misinformed, but they told me that Katherine was based on a real character, and her dad was a therapist, and her heart wasn’t really in it, but she felt like she had to continue the family business, and I met with Jonathan after they’d offered me the part and said, ‘I can’t really reconcile that back story with what’s on the paper’, and he was like, ‘good news. She’s not a real person, so we can do whatever we want’. We tried to come much more from a place of a girl who cares so much, and is so excited to help people that she is sort of getting in her own way a lot – and that was much more exciting for me. So it didn’t feel like what was on paper was changing, but it felt like I was given permission to try something else.
On filming a story based on real experiences
It never felt like pressure, it felt like a relief. If we’d been making a comedy about cancer based on the ideas that popped out of somebody’s head, that would have been really terrifying. Having him as our writer, but then also having him on set all the time, he just kept us honest. There was never a moment where we felt like ‘oh my God, some cancer patient is going to see this, and we’re going to be crucified for it’, because we had a friend sitting in the same room to be our Sherpa.
On her playing a romantic role
My first actually. Which I didn’t realise until we started shooting some of the flirtatious scenes, and particularly the final scene. I was so exhausted and I couldn’t figure out why, it seemed like, these kind of things are really simple, and I mentioned that to Joe, ‘I just realised that this was my first romantic role’. I always play weirdos, so I’ve never had a love interest, and it was great to hear from him, ‘it’s OK. It is a lot harder than it looks’, so it’s not like I’m just sucking. It was difficult to stay charmed for twelve hours, for both of us, I’m sure.
It dominates interviews, because people want to hit whore, as it goes. Is that a thing, hit whoring? So I guess I try to keep my comments boring and minimal, because otherwise it seems like I gave an interview about Twilight. But I know people have to ask about it, because otherwise they get in trouble, so I get it. But it’s tricky to be honest, but also be aware that you don’t want it to dominate everything you try to talk about.
Actors drawing in an audience
Convincing people to see a film about cancer
Well, it’s tricky. Comedy about cancer, it’s tricky, but I think knowing that it’s a true story, and I think, especially the thing of seeing Seth, essentially playing Seth is fascinating to me. That’s why I would want to see it. [The fact that] Seth was actually the best friend to this guy is bizarre. When has that happened before? I think a movie like this, a lot of it is word of mouth. I know plenty of people that say to my face, which always amazes me, ‘I was thinking about seeing it, but it’s going to be such a downer because it’s a cancer movie’. I think it takes having a friend see it and say that it’s really good and it’s not a sappy cancer movie. Read More: heyuguys.co.uk
ICYMI From huffingtonpost:
Kendrick plays Katherine, a 24-year-old psychotherapy graduate student who is charged with somehow comforting a terse, scared — and three years her senior — Adam. Hot on the role from the moment she read the script, Kendrick said she felt a certain empathy with Katherine from the start.
[She] was such a mess. She was so vulnerable and terrified on the inside. I liked that a lot,” Kendrick told The Huffington Post in an interview on Monday. ”I felt like a lot of people didn’t see that, and maybe that’s because I projected some of that on to the character, I guess I’ll never really know.”
”So I think it was great to be able to say, ‘I think this is a girl who has great instincts, really listens, all of her friends really came to her for advice, and she will be a good therapist one day,'” Kendrick said, ”‘but right now she’s so nervous and she’s trying too hard to say what she’s supposed to say and to sound like what she thinks a grownup should sound like, but she’s really ineffective.'”