PICTURE PERFECT 2
Back to Pitch-Slap the World
The Barden Bellas are back to pitch-slap the world in Pitch Perfect 2, the Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Entertainment follow-up to 2012’s runaway global hit about a group of lovable misfits with only one thing in common: the irresistible way they sound when they’re seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like never before.
It’s been three years since the Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow) brought their signature vocals, style and attitude to become the first all-female group to win a national title. But when they get banned after a scandal that threatens to derail their last year at Barden, the three-time defending champs worry that this time they’ve lost their harmony for good.
With just one chance left at redeeming their legacy, the Bellas must fight for their right to win the World Championships of A Cappella in Copenhagen. And as they struggle to balance the pressures of musical domination with senior angst, it will take the power of sisterhood to find their voice and see what it takes to be the world’s top pitches.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, co-star and producer of Pitch Perfect, and produced by Pitch Perfect’s Paul Brooks and Max Handelman and Banks, the comedy finds Kay Cannon back with the team, to pen the next chapter and co-produce.
ANNA KENDRICK – “BECA”
STRIPLV: Bring us up to speed on what’s gone on with the Barden Bellas.
ANNA KENDRICK: The Bellas are three-time champs. We’re doing this performance for the President, it goes badly wrong, and we have to find our way back to glory through going to the World’s and defeating the Germans.
STRIPLV: So they’ve raised the stakes for both your character and the Bellas?
ANNA KENDRICK: The stakes are higher. (smiling) Beca is trying to find her place at an internship with the hilarious and intimating Keegan-Michael Key, who was a joy to work with, like: “We wrapped and we’re sisters.” And I was like: “I still have to keep making this movie…” (whining, laughs) That was with Keegan and that was so much fun to have as the coda to my experience on this film, and (thinking out loud) right: ‘What’s the plot of the movie?’ The Bellas! You know the stakes are higher because… of that stuff that happens in the movie… ‘cause they get kicked out and they’re trying to get reinstated… through a very, very weird sort of set of by-laws, I guess. I saw the movie last night and I brought a friend, as he was like: “Why didn’t they initiate Emily into the Bellas until the end of the movie?” I was like: “You know, ‘cause they had to get reinstated, so they had to win the World’s. He was like: “Oh, I didn’t get that.”
STRIPLV: The first film was more of them finding each other, and this one?
ANNA KENDRICK: The first one felt intimate, and it was shot in a more intimate way, and the girls sort of felt like this sort of rag-tag team and this one is sort of pulled back and much glossier, much more polished. Yeah, I think there definitely are times where it doesn’t feel like the same group of girls, but hopefully there are scenes where it feels like we are still, uh, losers…that’s the goal. That’s my goal.
STRIPLV: Tell us about your German rivals: Das Sound Machine.
ANNA KENDRICK: DSM is so good! And it’s just movie magic and all, but like, oh, my God! They’re dancers! They’re dancers and they’re incredible, and it’s so much fun to watch them. Flula is so funny. Birgitte is like so funny, and so pretty—you just get lost in her eyes… It’s pretty good.
STRIPLV: And working with Hailee?
ANNA KENDRICK: Hailee is like an angel! She like, in real life, says things like: “Oh, my stars!” It’s crazy! Like, I want to put her in a bowl, and like, eat her up with sprinkles on it.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with the Green Bay Packers?
ANNA KENDRICK: That was another thing that brought me a lot of joy, was seeing the Green Bay Packers. Get low. They were just this source of joy and energy and commitment. Even in the rehearsal, they had a whole thing, they were like getting low, they were super into it, and they were like throwing a lot of winks at us while they were doing the dance. Wow, I loved it!
STRIPLV: (laughter) Why do you think this film resonates so much with people? Because the first one really resonated with such a large group of people and then this one as well, is really touching people’s hearts.
ANNA KENDRICK: Good! Yeah, the first one I think was about watching a group of women interact with each other and discover that they could be a support system for each other, and I think that that’s, you know, just a world that you want to live in. My favorite movies when I was younger were all sort of female-centric movies, and so I can understand why that would resonate. Hailee hadn’t seen Sister Act 2, and we showed it to her. And I’d just assumed that everybody had seen that movie, you know, because there’s so much in Picture Perfect and Picture Perfect 2 that’s like, really sort of eerily similar to something like that, and it’s like: “Right, but this generation needs that movie, I guess.”
ELIZABETH BANKS – “GAIL” / DIRECTOR
STRIPLV: Tell us about making your decision to direct and what it was like.
ELIZABETH BANKS: The studio came to me very early in the process and said: “We think that a young female director should take the reigns.” I said: “Oh, I’m so glad you think she’s young.” (laughing) It really was a culmination of work I’d been doing. I’d been wanting to direct a feature for a little while now, and had been directing smaller things here and there when I could, because as you know, I’m also an actor and I don’t always have the time and schedule to direct a feature. I knew I was going to be making the time to do this film as a producer, no matter what, so it just seemed the natural progression to take on the directing duties, as well. And really, I think, as with all things in Hollywood, the stars just sort of aligned for this one. When it looked like Jason’s other movie was gonna come together, and we made a list of who else could direct the movie, everyone just said: “The list is stupid. You should just do it.”
STRIPLV: How did you find it, this movie, as the director?
ELIZABETH BANKS: I loved it! I mean, I think I look back on it probably more fondly than I felt everyday working on it, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I’m really excited that I took it on. I really did enjoy it. I loved working with the crew especially, just collaborating with them on a daily basis… You know I’ve obviously worked with actors my whole career, and I love actors, and I’m so in love with all the actors in this film. But it was the crew all working toward the vision that really impressed me the most. I had so much fun with everyone.
STRIPLV: What did you especially enjoy about doing a sequel?
ELIZABETH BANKS: Sequels just allow us to spend a little more time with characters that people love and allow us to tell more of their story. It’s really fun to go back and think about where these women would be at three years later. And I think the notion of graduation… the first movie was about them coming together and being freshmen and forming these bonds. Now this film is about them breaking apart, going their separate ways again, leaving the nest and the anxiety that goes along with that, and the legacy you leave with your friends and the people that you leave behind.
STRIPLV: How are the stakes even higher this time for the Bellas?
ELIZABETH BANKS: In the first film, the Barden Bellas are sort of big fish in a small pond. The whole setting on the college campus, it’s the boys against the girls, and it feels young and bright and fresh, and everything that it’s supposed to feel. But I really wanted the second movie, because the women are now graduating, older, looking at life after the Bellas, looking at the big world, I wanted the movie to be the big world. So I wanted the pond to be an ocean, and I wanted them to be guppies again, with sharks swimming around them. And that was really my main goal. I wanted to feel like everything was bigger, that they were meeting a lot of adults. All the new cameos in this film are bonafide grownups. You know, the “riff-off” from the first film, which was in the pool at night with the other collegiate groups—very sweet and cool. This one is like a fight club, you know, an underground, dark, much scarier event with real grownups as their competitors. So I wanted to be constantly on theme that these women are graduating from Barden Bellas to Bellas for Life, and that we were telling a story in that transitional time, when you go from being a big fish, a senior on your college campus, to having to start over again.
STRIPLV: You gotta grow up!
ELIZABETH BANKS: (laughing) You gotta grow up! Everybody’s gotta start over all the time—constantly starting over.
STRIPLV: So where are the Bellas at the start of the sequel?
ELIZABETH BANKS: The Barden Bellas are three-time national champions who have been invited to perform for the President of the United States at his birthday celebration at the Kennedy Center. It’s a performance that goes wrong and immediately makes our Bellas underdogs again in the world of a cappella, or as Chloe says: “Laughing-stock-a-pellas.” They are now kicked out of collegiate competition, but they realize that they can still compete at the professional level. They register and go to the World A Cappella Championships in Denmark at the end of this film to face their new arch nemeses, Das Sound Machine, who have come to America to take over the Bellas victory tour, which they are no longer allowed to partake in for fear that their performances will continue to go wrong. Then the journey goes from there, and it’s about sort of winning back their dignity, their pride and their place in the a cappella pantheon.
STRIPLV: What are your favorite performances or songs in this and why?
ELIZABETH BANKS: I mean, I handpicked everything, so… they’re all my favorite. I really couldn’t pick. I had a lot of fun shooting DSM. It’s kinda not fair, because we cast a lot of that group with professional dancers. They’re completely amazing as a unit. I think the choreography that they do is incredible. But it wasn’t quite fair. We had to make the Barden Bellas the underdogs, and the best way to do that was to create a group that was even better.
STRIPLV: What was important to you when picking the music and the mashups?
ELIZABETH BANKS: I just didn’t want to tarnish the legacy of the first film—that was my biggest concern with the entire movie, but especially with the music. I think Jason Moore did such an incredible job putting the music together on the first film, I wanted there to be really specific sound differences between The Bellas and DSM—they’re rivals. So I was picking music for Das Sound Machine that had a rock edge in it and some electronica in it, bringing in the European flavor. There are eighteen members of that group, so we had a lot of fun just playing with the arrangements and what you can do vocally with eighteen voices. It’s really incredible and it sounds absolutely amazing and they do mash-ups. Much more sophisticated, layered music than the first film, but the sensibility of it has not changed. I feel like some people don’t realize that this ”Tsunami” song is mashed into the original song, but there is so much going on musicially in that song. It’s a huge accomplishment to put that stuff together, and to arrange it a capella, and to make all those sounds with your mouth. It’s incredible. Every sound is made by a human being. Most people don’t believe us, but it’s true.
STRIPLV: Tell us about all your new people.
ELIZABETH BANKS: In the script, Flula’s role was actually written for a woman. And it was sort of like a doppleganger of a German Fat Amy. And I felt like Fat Amy didn’t need any competition in the movie, and I also felt like one of the ways that she works really well is with like interesting sexual tension, (laughter) and I wanted to give her a boy to play off of, and frankly, Flula just came in, and he’s so interesting and original and I feel like our movie is so original and unique, that I just wanted to populate it with really unique performers. David Cross is one of them, Reggie Watts, you know, Fitz, who’s an incredible beat boxer—just trying to populate the world with as many of those super unique individuals as possible. It just gives so much texture to a movie, and Flula brought that in spades. He just walked into the room. He was completely not right for what was written on the page, so we just threw out the page and said: “Let’s just write for Flula.”
STRIPLV: And you’ve got Hailee, and like you said, all these amazing cameos…
ELIZABETH BANKS: Yeah. Hailee… that was a long time in the making, because we probably saw 100 girls. She was making a movie while we were casting, so she was sort of unavailable to even think about being in this film. And then finally as she was wrapping up that movie, she sorta raised her hand and said: “I might like to do that.” And I was like: “Yay, I love that girl! Let’s see!” And then, you know she’s such an incredible singer! She’s just got so much charm. She brought that exact feeling of like the “little sister” that I wanted. She’s meant to be sort of the next generation—the little sister. And you really feel that dynamic. She’s seventeen, you know—it was really amazing.
STRIPLV: So glad you brought Anna Camp back!
ELIZABETH BANKS: We always knew we wanted to bring Anna Camp back, but also to give the Bellas an excuse to sleep out in the woods and be really physical. (chuckles) I felt like a lot of the humor in the first film was great, so many jokes, but I really wanted to expand the world into more physical humor this time around. And the camp let us do that in spades. We happened to shoot it first up and it really is about team building and it really is about overcoming your fears. So many of these girls did not want to…they’re afraid of heights, or they didn’t want to do this, or they didn’t want to get wet, or they can’t swim…and we got everybody up high, in water, over things… It was just incredible, like everybody’s commitment to it. So, they all got to play and work together as a team and it really was fun. The whole crew had a good time, and it was an awesome way to kick off the movie and the footage is incredible.
STRIPLV: Tell us about working with Rebel Wilson.
ELIZABETH BANKS: We knew when Rebel very first walked in the door on the first film that she was Fat Amy. There was no other Fat Amy. She owned it from minute one, and really saw the opportunity to play this charismatic, confident woman that never thinks about her size at all. I just love that about her, and everyone loves that about her. It’s very true to her. She really is someone who is proving every day that your body type doesn’t determine your fate in life. She’s really gonna inspire a lot of people with the physicality of what she does in this film too, with the dancing and singing. Giving her a love story was really important to me. I really felt like she deserved it and they have great chemistry and it’s really fun.
STRIPLV: Why do you like this film so much?
ELIZABETH BANKS: I love first all of that it’s a story about amazing, interesting women who are really funny. It’s an underdog story, which I always find compelling, and most importantly, it’s very joyful. I think this film resonates with people because of the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that comes with bringing a bunch of people together, in this case a bunch of misfits, and accomplishing a goal. I think if you’ve ever been on a team, you understand that dynamic. And then it’s just wickedly funny. It’s very surprising, the humor in it, and very joyful. There is nothing mean-spirited in this movie. There’s just a true sense of people doing something they love.
STRIPLV: Most outrageous line you enjoyed seeing someone say?
ELIZABETH BANKS: Well, Gail and John definitely said the most outrageous things, and most of them are on the cutting room floor. But they’ll be on the DVD Extras! (pointing and smiling) We put together a whole line-a-rama for the DVD Extras. All I can say is that they involve large body parts…male anatomy…a bit of that. (laughter)
REBEL WILSON – “FAT AMY”
STRIPLV: Where do the Barden Bellas pick back up in this film?
REBEL WILSON: It’s three years later. We’ve won the ICCA’s like three times, like (hand-gesturing) “three-peat.” We’re pretty much legends in the a cappella world…we’re unbeatable. Then we get to perform for the President, Mr. Obama, and we basically fall from grace. We really embarrass ourselves. I have nothing to do with it. It’s the other girls that are embarrassing. We really become the underdogs once more, going into this world championship competition, where we meet these new rivals, the German team called DSM, Das Sound Machine, and they are amazing. And we thought we were good, but then we met them and we thought: “Oh gosh, this is going to be a challenge.” So you follow our adventures leading up to the world championships. And do we win? You’ll have to see.
STRIPLV: What’s the skinny on you and Bumper this time around?
REBEL WILSON: This time around, I think they thought people really want to see that Bumper and Fat Amy relationship. So weirdly, I have the love story in this movie, and it’s very lovely, and erotic, and sexy. There’s a lot of gross... some people might say our affair is, but I think people will find it very funny, the culmination of what happens with Fat Amy and Bumper in this movie.
STRIPLV: You two make such a great pair!
REBEL WILSON: The cool thing about being paired with Adam DeVine is that we both kinda come from a similar background in comedy, so we both had experience doing stand-up and doing sketch and doing improv. So it’s really cool to do two-handed scenes with Adam, because we can both just go-go-go-go-go. And some takes, like the scenes you’ll see under the gazebo, I think we did 20 minute takes, every time, and we’d just keep going at it. We would just go and go until Elizabeth finally yells “cut.” And, sometimes she doesn’t. She just let’s us go. It’s cool, because we love improvising stuff together. So hopefully all the good bits make it into the movie.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Emily, played by Hailee Steinfeld?
REBEL WILSON: Emily is the newest Bella to join the group. She’s such a sweetheart. I love her character. She’s so sweet. She’s an amazing singer as well, as a character and in real life. I think Hailee is just a great addition to the group, because she’s younger than us. We can be slack to her and pay out on her, and it’s hilarious. What’s she going to do? We’re older, we’re seniors and she’s… a freshman, yeah, like we were in the first movie, and Aubrey would pay out on us. But now we have someone younger to make fun of. She’s so sweet and I love that we have her in our cast.
STRIPLV: What reaction do you expect the audiences to have of the sequel?
REBEL WILSON: I think audiences are going to love Pitch Perfect 2, because it’s a lot bigger than the first one. In the first movie we’re just doing ICCA championships on a more local level, but in this one, because it’s the World Championships, just the stakes are so much higher. So the musical performances are just huger…is that even a word?… It’s not proper English, but who cares, I’m from Australia. They’re just bigger and better, I think, the musical routines. I think there’s so much comedy, and intertwined with really good performances and really great heartfelt moments.
BRITTANY SNOW – “CHLOE”
STRIPLV: Where do we find your character, Chloe, as the film picks back up?
BRITTANY SNOW: I play Chloe, and Chloe is a member of the Barden Bellas, but she is what they call a “super senior” in the sequel, because she is so passionate about singing and about being a Bella, that she has intentionally failed college three times so she can stay in the Bellas, which I find hilarious, because I was always wondering how I was going to be in the second one, and I was worried if I was. Then when they told me she was going to be intentionally failing because she’s so desperate to be part of the group and get to sing, I found that endearing and very hilarious.
STRIPLV: Tell us about your new additions: Hailee and Chrissie.
BRITTANY SNOW: We are so, so blessed that these girls are actually the real deal. I mean they’re the coolest girls. I’m pretty sure that Hailee and Chrissie will be friends of mine forever. Chrissie Fit plays Flo and Hailee Steinfeld plays Emily, and it’s always hard going into a group of girls who’ve been together for a long time since the first movie. And they fit right in. I’m pretty sure that Hailee is the smartest person in the world. She’s seventeen, but she is so self-aware and genuine, and just really has it all figured out. And Chrissie is, I think, an extension of me and my personality and we get along so well. They just fit right in to the dynamic of us girls, and they’re so extremely talented.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with the Green Bay Packers?
BRITTANY SNOW: The funny thing about the Green Bay Packers is, I didn’t know this, but they are huge fans of the movie to the point where it’s a little weird, but we love them. Now we’re friends with them, which is one of my coolest things. They love Pitch Perfect and can quote the whole thing. They can sing the entire songs backwards and forwards. So, they were all for it. They went all out for the singing and dancing. They really sing and they’re really dancing. Clay Mathews is really acting and well, so it was cool. It was really cool to see.
STRIPLV: What can fans look forward to when going to see the sequel?
BRITTANY SNOW: They have the same characters to look forward to that you know and love, but everything is pushed a little bit more. I think that everybody kind of just goes for it in this one. The first one was really funny, but this one’s even just a little wrong, I guess, in a couple ways. My character has completely lost her mind so you can look forward to that and she’s a complete nut case. I think also it’s just the same characters that you’ve attached yourself to, but a lot bigger and crazier.
REBEL WILSON AND ADAM DEVINE
STRIPLV: So what’s new in this film?
REBEL WILSON: We get to perform for the President, and unfortunately, there’s what I call a “wardrobe malfunction.” Let’s just say it’s just a “flashy” opening to the movie. I’m wearing a unitard and it consciously uncouples. It can’t hold my girl power.
ADAM DEVINE: (laughter) Her girl power exploded through. And Bumper’s baaaack! He’s been fired from being John Mayer’s backup singer. He may have accidently gotten into his [Mayer’s] closet and stolen a leather jacket because he wants to be just like John. He’s now working security at the campus.
STRIPLV: You two have real chemistry. Tell us some spicy updates in your relationship.
REBEL WILSON: We’ve both done standup, improv, sketch, nude scenes…
ADAM DEVINE: A ton of nude work…
REBEL WILSON: Just a similar background and professional experience…
ADAM DEVINE: Nude work mostly!
STRIPLV: Tell me about what it’s like working with Elizabeth Banks directing?
ADAM DEVINE: She’s great! She was so cool about our scenes. She let us do whatever and have fun with it. We’d do it a couple of times with what was written and then she’d tell us to get weird with it. And, we did.
REBEL WILSON: Some outtakes went for 20 to 30 minutes in that gazebo scene.
ADAM DEVINE: Yeah, we were hard acting there.
REBEL WILSON: (laughing) I think only a small percentage of nudity will make it into the film, but I hope on the DVD more (hand-gesturing “having sex”) …of our improvising. (busting out laughing)