Since breaking out as a high-school debater in 2007’s Rocket Science, Anna Kendrick has chalked up a string of preternaturally smart, endearingly awkward characters: The latest is Katherine, the eager but painfully inexperienced therapist to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer patient in 50/50. While she was still in junior high, Kendrick picked up a Tony nomination for her role in the Broadway revival of High Society, and she made her film debut as a scheming theater-camp soprano in 2003’s Camp. Since then, she’s been a corporate hatchet woman opposite George Clooney in Up In The Air, and played an ongoing role as a dimwitted high-school student in the Twilight franchise. During a whistle-stop press tour following 50/50’s Toronto première, Kendrick sat down with The A.V. Club to talk about her belated introduction to onscreen romance, her formative experiences at theater camp, and why even her idiots are precocious.
- The A.V. Club: In 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing writer Will Reiser, and Seth Rogen is playing himself. Your character is wholly invented. Is that a weird place to be, playing a fictional role opposite actors who are drawing from real life?
Anna Kendrick: No, it was a nice place, actually, because I had the freedom to create her from the ground up. Someone was misinformed and told me that she was real, and that she only became a therapist because her dad was a therapist, and she felt like she had to, and her heart wasn’t in it. And when I spoke to the director for the first time, I was saying, “I can’t reconcile that with what’s on the page.” And he told me, “She’s not real, so we can go ahead and do whatever you want.” We felt like she has probably always been a good listener, always been the person her friends came to for advice, and thought that doing it professionally would be just as easy as it always was for her. Now she has to channel that through her textbook lingo. She’s really getting tripped up, and that’s what is causing her to be what I lovingly referred to on set as the worst therapist in the world. I feel pretty badly about how bad she is. There are times when I felt really embarrassed and said, “Can we give her some great moment where she really helps [Gordon-Levitt’s character] Adam?” I was terrified, but hopefully it’s endearing. I think the moment where I forgive her, anyway, is when she says, “I’m really trying my best,” because I think anybody in their 20s understands that feeling.
Anna Kendrick, 26-years-old, talented, kind, humble — and rising quickly up the Hollywood ladder of success. Having “caught” the acting bug at the age of 10, Anna’s parents allowed her to ride the bus into NYC to attend auditions. Her first one hit at the age of 12 and she has been working ever since.
Anna is most known for her roles in:
- The Twilight Saga (Jessica Stanley)
- Up in the Air (Natalie Keener)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
- Rocket Science (2007)
- Camp (2003)
- Broadway musical High Society (1998)
I had the honor to sit down with Anna and interview her at a roundtable. So, although I may not have gotten to ask many questions, the ones that I did ask, received truly inspirational answers.
I believe that many young actors can look up to Anna Kendrick and learn from this very grounded and kind actress. She shares advice on rejection and how she remains a positive role model for young actors.
- What advice can you give to young actors who want to start off in acting?
Advice to starting out in acting is tough for me because I started so young. I can’t imagine trying to find an agent and getting my first job at a later age. When you are 10-years-old, you go into an agent, you meet them, you read a cheesy commercial and they decide to represent you. I think it’s a really difficult thing and I think it takes a lot of courage.
I guess I would say rejection doesn’t get easier. If it’s not getting easier it is not because you need to grow a thick skin. It’s just something that we all go through. The only comfort you can take from that is knowing that everybody has gone through so much more than they would care to admit. Certainly, I wouldn’t want to name all the things that I didn’t get. A lot of those things weren’t even quality projects. It’s not a reflection of you. Everybody goes through it. I guess that is the only advice I could offer because I feel it is unfair to say that, everything happens for a reason or it’s their loss because people told me that and it didn’t make me feel any better.
Juicy leading roles are flooding in for the extremely in-demand actress (and native daughter).
In her first major screen role — “Up in the Air” with George Clooney — Portland’s Anna Kendrick earned herself an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.
So it’s probably not surprising that, two years later, the 26-year-old actress is very busy.
Her latest film, “50/50,” is currently showing in theaters nationwide. It’s a comedy (yes, a comedy) about cancer, based on a true story, with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
In November, she’ll be seen in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” in which she will reprise her role as teenager Jessica Stanley in the vampire/werewolf/teen angst franchise.
Kendrick will also star in two films slated for release in 2012: An over-the-top religious comedy called “Rapturepalooza” with Craig Robinson (Darryl on “The Office”), and a police drama, “End of Watch,” with Jake Gyllenhaal. Her voice will also make an appearance next year in “ParaNorman,” an animated film about a boy who talks to ghosts.
Another promotional interview of Anna for “50/50″ is added in Kendrick Tube and our galery:
I found a video and some pics from a couple of weeks ago when Anna attended a “50/50″ screening in Dallas followed by a Q&A:
Toronto Film Festival favorite “50/50” certainly qualifies as a bit of an anomaly: a based-on-a-true-story comedy about coping with cancer.
Within that unusual premise, Academy Award-nominated actress Anna Kendrick found an opportunity to play a different sort of role in Katherine, a fledgling therapist trying to help her third patient, 27-year-old Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who has just started treatment for a massive, malignant tumor growing along his spinal column. According to his Internet research, the understandably shell-shocked Adam has a 50/50 chance of survival, despite his youth and otherwise excellent health.
In movies, psychiatrists are often portrayed as older, wiser and a bit enigmatic, but Kendrick, 26, was drawn to her “50/50” character’s vulnerability, uncertainty and obvious nervousness.
“It’s not a character I’ve really seen before, but I think anytime like someone sort of admits, ‘I’m just trying to do my best here, you know, I’m just trying to find my way,’ I think that’s the kind of moments that intrigued me about this character,” Kendrick said in a phone interview from Dallas, where she was promoting the film.
“It wasn’t specifically that this is a new take on the profession as much as it was that I just liked someone who is expected to know what they’re doing being able to admit, you know, that they’re trying their best.”
Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) has been busily promoting her new movie, the Toronto Film Festival favorite “50/50,” because the acclaimed cancer comedy is opening in theaters Friday.
But of course Kendrick, 26, has been fielding plenty of questions about “The Twilight Saga” along the way.
The Maine native has been part of the supernaturally popular vampire romance series since the first film, 2008′s “Twilight,” playing a supporting role as Jessica Stanley, a gossipy classmate of human heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).
She will reprise the role in the hotly anticipated two-part franchise finale “Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” opening Nov. 18, and “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” due out in fall 2012. Hence, all the “Twilight” questions.
Sorry, Twihards, but Kendrick declined to reveal any secrets about the last two movies based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling book series. But she did describe the feeling of finishing up filming on the five-movie franchise in a recent phone interview.
“It’s sad but it’s not sad. It’s more like a peculiar feeling for it to not be there anymore. But we weren’t maudlin on the set; we were happy to get out of the cold,” she told me by phone from Dallas. Since much of the filming was done in Vancouver, British Columbia, that makes sterling sense.
I think this is the last “50/50″ promotional interview for now. Enjoy and check back for more Anna stuff soon: