August 8, 2010

2 posts

Anna is this months cover girl for American Way Magazine, the in-flight magazine for American Airlines. I believe this is Anna’s first solo cover (:D!! ) while the shoot is from back in December 2009. The article is a great read, too! :

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Anna Kendrick may be small, but she’s got some major chops — and her big presence is being felt all across Hollywood.

Anna Kendrick’s been up all night. Not because she was posing for the paparazzi, courting the tabloids or otherwise misbehaving as so many of her 20-something Hollywood contemporaries are wont to do. No, Kendrick was burning the midnight oil performing dialogue from a pivotal sequence in an upcoming, still-untitled project co-starring Seth Rogen.

After an “over the rainbow” 2009 in which the 25-year-old actress strode a yellow brick road — in the form of a red carpet — through endless months of extreme makeovers, mind-numbing interviews and other promotional duties in support of the blockbuster Twilight franchise and the Oscar nomination she garnered for her star-making turn opposite George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air, this dedication to her craft is Kendrick’s way of staying grounded.

“I’m really glad that the Oscar stuff is over, to be perfectly honest,” she says. “I mean, I am infinitely grateful — I’m so lucky — but it’s been a really crazy year. You’re constantly wearing clothes someone else picked out for you, delivering sound bites instead of real feelings, and walking into rooms full of people you don’t know. I didn’t become an actor for any of that, so it’s been kind of a confusing time for me.”

Which is to say that Kendrick was more than happy to lose sleep for the sake of her work, even if it was for a phone-call sequence in which she won’t even appear on-screen. She simply felt her voice on the other end of the line in this dramatic scene would elevate her co-star’s performance.

According to Rogen, Kendrick’s instincts were spot-on, if almost unprecedentedly magnanimous. “No one does that — staying awake all night to help out another actor,” he says. “The actor is almost never actually on the other end of a phone call you see the actor on-screen making, especially when the scene films in the middle of the night. But Anna was there, above and beyond what I expect from an actor.”

Expectations are something Kendrick is getting used to these days, or trying to anyway. She claims to be feeling “a little skittish” the morning after her all-nighter, catching only three hours of shut-eye and eschewing cosmetics and haute couture in favor of sneakers, a loose-fitting black-and-white hoodie, an iPod and a cup of joe. After almost a full year on the celebrity treadmill, leapfrogging from morning news show to magazine cover to morning news show, Kendrick’s self-described “plain Jane routine” is almost a form of protest — a return to self, forged authentically by a fine young artist intent on becoming an even greater one. “I don’t have any beauty tips. And the only hair secret I have is that I constantly think about chopping mine off,” she confesses with an endearing laugh.

As rebellions go, it’s fairly intoxicating; on this rainy April afternoon, Kendrick is at once breathtakingly beautiful, absolutely approachable, perhaps a touch shy and almost palpably sweet, thrilled to be acting again instead of posing. With two films out in 2010 — this month’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the recently released The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, as well as the upcoming Rogen project, each of them wildly different from the other and showcasing a range and depth at which Kendrick has only previously hinted — the actress need not lose sleep over her career, no matter the face she wears. Indeed, after a long and winding road in service of Twilight and Oscar, not to mention the dozen years of local theater, Broadway musicals and independent cinema before that, Kendrick is finally coming into her own, and it all comes down to the work — even if that work is done at 4 a.m.

“I was really struggling through awards season. [I thought,] ‘If this is what I’ve been working so hard for, then why am I not enjoying it more?’ Things like that,” she reveals. “But we got into rehearsals for [the Seth Rogen movie] and I was surrounded by these great actors and this great director, and we were just focusing in on the words, the scene, the characters, and it all became very clear to me: I didn’t work so hard to wear designer dresses or go to dinners with foods I can’t pronounce. I did it for this. This is who I am.”

The irony of Kendrick’s distaste for high fashion is that the 5-year-old version of her would have adored such frilly duds. She grew up in Portland, Maine, toddling her way through a happy childhood scored by show tunes while dressed in tiaras and tutus. All the world was indeed her stage, and by design: At age 6, she was doing community productions of Annie and Gypsy.

“I used to be this girly, princessy little kid, and I had this weird idea about what adults were like, that all of the women of the world wore high heels and tutus. I might have been wrong,” she says, laughing. “But I really wanted to be grown-up. I wanted to be big.”

For many years, size definitely mattered to Kendrick, her otherwise idyllic upbringing marred by her comparatively pint-size physique and the cruel attention it was paid on the schoolyard. “Kids can be mean,” remembers Kendrick, who today stands 5 feet 1 inch tall. Fifteen rounds of playground agony inspired Kendrick to search for a place where she belonged. The viciousness of her peers was finally relieved when she, quite literally, found her voice onstage. “I remember auditioning for these musicals and singing these songs and being told by casting agents and directors, ‘You have a giant voice’ or ‘You’re a big singer,’ ” she says. “That kind of validation immediately caught my attention. There was one place in the world where I wasn’t tiny.”

As far as friend and co-star Rogen is concerned, Kendrick has never had a problem measuring up with her generation’s finest actors. “The first time I met Anna, I was blown away by how powerful such a small person could be. As a huge person, I attribute a lot of my presence to my sheer occupation of space,” he says. “Anna proves that theory wrong. Never has such a tiny person been such a presence in a room.”

Before Kendrick was a teenager, she was holding her own on some of the world’s biggest stages, treading the boards on Broadway. She and her older brother, Michael, would commute on Greyhound buses from Portland to New York City for auditions. She landed plum roles in big shows such as High Society (for which she was nominated for a Tony), a musical adaptation of the classic film The Philadelphia Story and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. When Hollywood beckoned, Kendrick moved west and did a round of failed television pilots that kept her from waiting tables, then quickly landed her first film role in 2003’s Camp. Small-statured though she may be, Kendrick’s star wattage has always been big enough to avoid the bane of odd jobs that afflicts most Hollywood comers.

“It’s luck, pure and simple. I mean, I work very, very hard, but I don’t take any of this for granted and I don’t think any of it is because I’m better or more talented than other actors,” she says. “There are people who work at least as hard as me and are twice as talented, and nobody’s asking them about makeup secrets. There is a lot of luck to how my life’s turned out.”

Kendrick’s rise was so immediate and stratospheric, she can still barely believe it happened. Credit the Stephenie Meyer Effect. “None of us knew that Twilight was going to be such a big deal. We really thought we were just making this little movie. Maybe it would turn out OK, maybe a few people would see it, maybe it would break even,” she says. “We were all just happy to have jobs.”

Kendrick relished the opportunity to play a high school student so completely opposite from her own adolescence — her version of Twilight’s Jessica Stanley is a prickly, self-absorbed gossip girl — just the same as she embraced Natalie Keener, the tightly coiled corporate lass she portrayed in Up in the Air, a role Kendrick says is “much closer to who I am.” The similarities may or may not be coincidental; either way, the film’s screenwriter and director Jason Reitman, a longtime fan of Kendrick’s work, penned the role of Natalie specifically for the young actress.

“You get a lot of stuff from Anna that you don’t get from other young performers. Her voice is so clearly articulated,” Reitman says. “What impresses me most is her ability to play a part without judging a character and her obsession with honesty in the moment.”

For Kendrick, the gig was a no-brainer. “People ask me what drew me to Up in the Air and I’m, like, ‘Is this a joke?’ It’s George Clooney and Jason Reitman and the script is beautiful and they actually want to hire me,” she says. “It didn’t matter what the movie was about, really. I was just so lucky to be asked to do it.”

Today, Kendrick is exercising a more powerful voice in the projects she chooses, and she’s doing her best to choose wisely. She recalls a piece of advice she was given before Up in the Air premiered. “Everyone told me, ‘After this movie comes out, you’re going to be offered a lot of movies and 99 percent of them will want to cast you as the character you just played, but with a different name. Don’t do those projects,’ ” she says. “And it’s true: Almost every script I’ve gotten has been, ‘Rebecca, overachiever, business suit, uptight.’ I don’t think I can do that any better than I have.”

Kendrick, whose favorite films are screwball comedies of the 1930s such as The Women and His Girl Friday, is particularly sanguine about this month’s Scott Pilgrim — which is “stylistically, tonally and visually like nothing anyone’s ever seen before,” she promises — and is presently holding out for the right roles in the right projects. She would love to do a musical comedy and deeply desires the opportunity to deliver more crackerjack dialogue in the Cary Grant–Rosalind Russell mode, the kind rarely offered up by contemporary cinema. After several years of playing strong women in search of their softer sides, Kendrick is looking to portray women “who feel a little lost or a little vulnerable,” she says. “Maybe the interesting part of that job would be finding the character’s strength. This is certainly a reflection of what I’m going through in my life right now.”

And if her good fortune should expire — if she doesn’t find the character she’s yearning to play or nobody wants to hire her ever again and she’s suddenly small again — what would she do? Kendrick, who has recently discovered a passion for baking, has a viable plan B.

“I could just walk away and go to culinary school or something,” she says with a winsome smile. “With a movie, I work for a few weeks or months, but the movie doesn’t come out for a year and it takes so long to know if people like what you did. And even if they do, you’re only a small ingredient in a bigger thing. With baking, it’s cause and effect, instant response. You can always say, ‘I made this.’ That’s an important instinct in human beings, I think.”

Reitman, for one, is confident Kendrick won’t be sending tuition checks to Le Cordon Bleu anytime soon.

“She’ll be working long after the rest of us,” he says. “She is so well beyond her years that it will be exciting to see who she is when we all catch up with her.”

From Portland to Hollywood, Anna Kendrick is on a meteoric rise

Anna Kendrick has become “that girl.’’ Most notably, she’s that girl from “Up in the Air,’’ the peppy one whose sparring with George Clooney earned her a nomination for best supporting actress at this year’s Oscars. To the indie movie crowd, Kendrick is that girl who played spitfire Ginny Ryerson from 2007’s “Rocket Science.’’ And to a different segment of the population — the one that’s still debating Team Edward vs. Team Jacob — Kendrick is that girl from the “Twilight’’ series, the too-peppy, self-absorbed Jessica, who steals many a scene from her brooding costars, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

And now, because of her small-but-sharp role in the film adaptation of the comic book “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,’’ Kendrick will be a geek-love hero for bringing Scott’s endearingly judgmental sister, Stacey Pilgrim, to life on the big screen. The movie tells the story of Scott, who must fight his new girlfriend’s evil exes in order to win her heart. Those exes are played by a number of familiar faces, including “Fantastic Four’’ star Chris Evans, Brandon Routh of “Superman,’’ and Jason Schwartzman of “Rushmore.’’

For Kendrick, a 24-year-old Mainer who began traveling to New York to audition for Broadway shows when she was a kid, it’s been a weird and fast journey. What started with a Tony nomination for her role in “High Society’’ when she was just 12 has become a busy, A-list movie career that had her filming “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,’’ “Up in the Air,’’ and “Scott Pilgrim’’ at the same time. She just wrapped a movie (“Live With It’’) with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt up in Canada. And soon, she’ll be back on the road to film yet another installment of “Twilight.’’

But the other day — during a stop in Boston to promote the Friday release of “Scott Pilgrim’’ — the very approachable and sensitive Kendrick was just happy to be home in New England.

AK: [Looking skeptically at a cappuccino that was delivered to a hotel conference room before her arrival.] Is this for me?

MG: It’s not for me. I didn’t order it. I think they brought it for you.

AK: I didn’t ask for it. It’s funny — there’s a cappuccino here as though I demanded it. I didn’t. I asked for nothing. It looks like, “She’s such a diva.’’

MG: I’ll make sure I put that in the story. “She did not make a demand for coffee. Not a diva.’’

AK: Good [laughs].

MG: We should have done this interview years ago, when you started your career, because you’re basically from here. We consider Maine “here.’’

AK: I feel like I’m from here. When I was growing up [in the Portland area], Boston was like, the big city — sort of in starry lights, like the proverbial starry lights. I have spent quite a bit of time at the bus station — South Station. Most of my time in Boston was spent taking the bus to New York or the bus from Boston back home. I’ve had a lot of lonely nights with, like, a crappy Discman.

MG: You know, there’s a difference between a kid who decides she likes acting and tries out for theater in Portland and a kid who says, “Get me on a bus to New York.’’ That was you.

AK: I sort of marvel at myself. Maybe at a certain point everybody feels like the person they were when they were younger is a stranger. Because I seemed to be much more driven and focused at that age. I had the intention of being on Broadway. I am just very grateful that my parents treated me with respect . . . and really, really supported me.

MG: You were so young. Did they go to New York with you?

AK: At first, they drove me down, and then sometimes we’d take the bus. They were both working parents, so they eventually started sending me with my brother. When I was 14 or something it was just me.

MG: You were going to school at the same time?

AK: Sick days. I went to public school, and God bless the public school system, but if you ever missed a few days, it was never that big of a deal.

MG: Which public high school?

AK: Deering. Go Rams.

MG: Any plans to return to theater or will it be movies from now on?

AK: I have no plans to go back to theater — but I feel that it’s definitely something I’d like to do. . . . It becomes scarier the longer you’re away from it. I want to do it again before it seems too daunting.

MG: You’re a part of this huge, crazy “Twilight’’ thing, and then all of a sudden you’re an Oscar campaign. How have you maintained any normalcy?

AK: I’ll tell you, the really humbling moment is the moment that you get home from the Golden Globes or the BAFTAs or the Oscars, and you sit on your bed, which is the same crappy IKEA bed you’ve had since you were 18, and you put on an old episode of “Family Guy,’’ and you have a frozen meal . . . and you’re trying not to get macaroni and cheese on your thousand-dollar gown.

MG: There is something about you — and this could be the roles that you play — but you’re approachable. I’ve heard women, young women, talk about how you could play them in the movie of their lives.

AK: People say that? That they want me to play them in a movie?

MG: Yes.

AK: That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard! That’s amazing. I’m not trying to be Cameron Diaz and I would never claim to be Cameron Diaz — because that would be ridiculous. I would never want to accidentally present myself as someone who is unapproachable or unattainable. I don’t think anybody would be fooled into thinking that anyway. . . . My favorite actresses are people like that — like Patricia Clarkson and Laura Linney. In a reverse world, those are the people I’d want to play me in a movie — not necessarily, like, Gwyneth Paltrow.

MG: In every interview I’ve read with you, you get asked something about your costars Robert Pattinson and George Clooney — like, what does one smell like versus the other. Or if you were on an island, who would you bring? You always play along. It must get annoying.

AK: I’ve always tried to be nice and not to dismiss that question, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m wondering why I don’t. . . . It’s one of the things that really makes me hate doing interviews. If somebody said that about me all the time or asked, “Who’s sexier, Anna or Kristen Stewart?,’’ it would make me feel terrible. And I would imagine it would make her feel terrible, too.

MG: You know, I actually went to “Scott Pilgrim’’ last night thinking it might not be for me — that it might just be for comic-book boys. But I laughed a lot.

AK: Honestly, I feel like, when you see this movie, you realize why there’s no trailer or TV spot in the world that can accurately capture the tone and energy of it. I think it’s going to be one of those word-of-mouth films.

MG: As Scott Pilgrim’s sister — and in all of your movies — you have these quotable moments, these scene-stealing moments. You’ve become comic relief. Is that surprising to you?

AK: I guess I don’t think of myself as funny. I do think of myself as awkward. I’m like a total one-trick pony. I have a lot of fun being awkward and that’s the easiest way for me to be funny. I don’t know how I would fare being everyone’s favorite funny girl in a movie. It has to be that thing where the character isn’t aware that she’s funny.

MG: You just filmed another movie, “Live With It.’’

AK: And honestly that’s the same thing where [my character is] very sweet and very vulnerable and very soft, so I was very excited to play that after “Up in the Air,’’ but at the same time, I think a lot of that comedy comes from her lack of self-awareness.

MG: How often do you get home? Who’s still up there?

AK: My mom and dad still live in Portland. I haven’t been home in, shockingly, a long time, which is a bummer. It’s like, when I got off the plane last night, it just feels different. The air feels different.

MG: Do you still have friends up in Maine. Are you in touch with them?

AK: I’ve still got a couple of friends from childhood. And a couple of people who I was never really friends with got in touch around Oscar season.

MG: And you were nice to them?

AK: It was funny to see that the people who I was really friends with didn’t get in touch because they didn’t want to be “that guy’’ — and some people I never really knew made sure to get in touch. It was really strange. It was interesting, who felt the need to give me space and who felt they had a right to hit me up for . . .

MG: For what? What did they want?

AK: I don’t know. You know, “If you’re home . . .’’ or “The next time you’re in New York . . .’’ And it’s sort of like, “I don’t think we knew each other that well . . .’’

MG: Who was your Oscar date?

AK: My mom.

MG: And there have been lots of pretty dresses since then. Is that part of your world shocking?

AK: I have fun with it, but sometimes it felt really — like a lot time and energy wasted. Because if you put a good girlfriend in the position of spending hours picking the right dress and having it tailored and having your hair and makeup done . . . and then you have some snarky style blog tear that to pieces, then it’s like, “What did I do that for?’’

MG: You read those blogs?

AK: I looked a lot during that [Oscar] season, which was the biggest mistake I could have made. I’ve been a lot better about not looking.

MG: I thought the blogs loved your dresses.

AK: But that’s the thing. I don’t see the nine positive things. I see the one negative. That’s the thing I remember.

MG: No one has ultimate control of their own destiny for roles. But if you did, what would you want for the future?

AK: I’d really like to work with another female director. I’ve only worked with [“Twilight’’ director] Catherine Hardwicke and it was this very large cast in a very cold and rainy environment. It wasn’t quite the love fest that I was anticipating. I’d love to work with another lady director.

MG: Who has been a surprising advocate for you? I just imagine it’s very intimidating, knowing who to trust — walking into some of these parties.

AK: There are a handful of actresses who have been very generous with their time and their words. It felt like the generation before me was sort of popping up every now and then to say, “It’s going to be OK.’’

MG: And do you feel like it’s going to be OK?

AK: Yes. I have a very small role in this movie, and I’m very proud of it, and that makes it very easy because I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I don’t know if I will always feel that way. I almost feel like I got thrown into the deep end, and at this point, the hard part’s out of the way. {boston.com}

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