August 9, 2010

3 posts

National Post: Scott Pilgrim’s Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick talk evil exes, real and fictional

Jason Schwartzman walks into a hotel room strumming a guitar, with a Cheeto affixed to his dress shirt. The publicist warns that, prior to this, he’s been conducting all interviews — and photo shoots — in a bathrobe, so anything could happen.

This isn’t so unexpected; after all, the 30-year-old actor is known for his roles in quirky indie films, from his debut as a young nebbish in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore to a love interest in Shopgirl, followed by more Anderson films — The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Now, he’s playing evil ex-boyfriend Gideon Gordon Graves in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, the much-hyped screen adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic series. One of his many co-stars is the Oscar-nominated Anna Kendrick (of Up in the Air and the Twilight films), who comes trailing into the room behind him, looking entirely normal.

“Are you married?” says Schwartzman. These are the first words out of his mouth, as he sits down and notices a ring on the reporter’s left hand.

“Best wishes,” says Kendrick. “You know, that’s an old-fashioned thing to say. You’re supposed to say ‘best wishes’ to the bride because it’s, like, of course she deserves a husband — you never say ‘congratulations’. And to the groom, you should say ‘You’re a lucky man,’ which of course you wouldn’t say to a woman because that’s weird.”

“I just say, ‘Oh, cool — call me when it’s over,’” says Schwartzman.

It sounds like something his character might say. Gideon, a music mogul who temporarily wins Ramona back from Scott, exudes a mix of pretentiousness, apathy and fake charm, which somehow come together to pose a romantic threat.

“[Director Edgar Wright’s] theory was that Gideon was the ultimate evil ex in passive-aggressive behaviour,” says Schwartzman. “He smiles a lot and he’s very patronizing. See, there are two types of passive-aggressive people: There are passive-aggressive people who are clearly passive aggressive when you meet them, then there are passive-aggressive people who seem kind, but then a little while later you find out they’ve been pulling some strings.

“We weren’t sure which one Gideon was,” he adds, “so we just did a lot of different takes and then let Edgar pick and choose which versions he wanted.”

Schwartzman was able to draw on real-life experience for this role — not because he’s a jerk, but because manipulative ex-lovers who pretend to be cool about their former partners moving on are ubiquitous.

“It’s actually quite a natural instinct,” he says. “I’ve met ex-boyfriends of girlfriends I’m dating at the time and they’re like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take you surfing, bro! I’ll take you surfing!’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to go surfing with you — what, you’re going to take me out there and watch me fall all over the place? I’m not going surfing!”

Kendrick, who plays Scott’s sister in the film — a character who loves gossip and has little time for her younger sibling — keeps quiet on the subject of evil exes.

“Jason does most of the talking in these interviews and I just say, ‘Well put, Jason,’” she says.

Well, that’s not entirely true. When asked about her career trajectory and award nomination, the 25-year-old actress jokes about crashing hard after losing the Oscar for best supporting actress this past March to Mo’Nique — in reality, she’s happy to be goofing around on a press tour.

“At no point do I have to take myself seriously,” she says, “and that was the tricky part of the Oscar season. I had to talk about my work in a way that I wouldn’t normally. I’d be interviewed by somebody like Elvis Mitchell and if he asked me a serious question, I wanted to give a serious answer.”

An attempt is made to ask how she trained herself to respond to these serious questions, at which point Schwartzman interjects with, “Yeah. Seriously.”

“I don’t know,” says Kendrick. “It took me a while to stop instinctively saying silly things. It’s kind of like slowly realizing the person you’re talking to has had a death in the family or something, so you change the way you’re talking to them. That’s a terrible example. But you basically have to try and respond to people’s energy.”

Responding to people’s energy is also something both actors did while rehearsing and performing their respective parts. The plethora of digital effects in Scott Pilgrim wouldn’t be added until the shooting was wrapped, so the cast relied upon each other to get the perfect mix of intensity, sarcasm and humour onto the screen.

Schwartzman attempts to elaborate on this artistic process, as well as his own method of preparing for a big role, but it’s not all that easy to describe.

“I don’t know what the words are,” he says, “but when I’m working on a movie, it’s definitely on my mind a lot. I’m just thinking about it all the time. But I would hate to define it because then someone who’s really great at acting will say, ‘What is that kid thinking?’ So I plead the fifth.” {nationalpost.com}

Screen Crave – 1-1 Interview: Anna Kendrick for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

This week, Edgar Wright’s extraordinary comic-book adaptation, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World will finally be in theaters. The film stars Michael Cera and has an extraordinary supporting cast which includes the Academy Award nominated actress, who broke out last year and keeps coming back with more, Anna Kendrick. I had the chance to speak with Anna over the phone about working with Wright on making this film.

Find out what it was like working with Wright, why Keiran Culkin is an asshole “in the best way” and more below…

Where you able to make it to any of the Comic-Con screenings?

Anna Kendrick: Yeah. I’d seen [Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World] before. I’d seen it a couple of times, but obviously not with that audience, like none of us could be happier with how it was received.

Edgar Wright picked a style and he picked what he was going to do and went 100% with it. What was that like when you got to see it onscreen and also being on set. Were you aware of everything?

AK: More or less. Some effects kind of went in and out to try to get the perfect balance because you don’t want to do it in every shot, but you definitely want to make your mark and make it so like — graphics are something that exists in this universe and — from the get go show that, that’s something that is going to be happening in the movie, so get use to it. It was definitely a specific shooting style, so you had to be aware of what was going to happen in the shot because you had to work the limits of what was going to be onscreen with you.

You kind of got to be the much needed normalcy in life and the one that kind of says the realistic things and dealing with life, love, relationships and all that type of stuff. How do you feel about your character and the importance of it within this crazy universe?

AK: I been a disapproving younger sister my entire life so I think it’s incredibly important aspect for everybody. It’s nice to be the voice of reason for Scott and try to be his moral compass. I’m like the little voice in the back of his head saying, “You know that you shouldn’t be doing this, but I know that you’re going to do it anyway.” You can’t learn somebody else’s lessons for them so Scott just has to go through it anyway.

Can you talk about working with Edgar Wright on set?

AK: It’s great because nobody is more excited to see the movie than he is. He’s been behind the monitor, very excited and very supportive. It’s definitely not like he’s putting an unreasonable amount of pressure on anybody, it’s just like he’s enthusiastic about what the finish product is going to be. He’s enthusiastic for you.

What about working with some of your other cast?

AK: We did a lot of separate shooting but then there would be times when we be in like the background of a scene and we would be just hanging out, in the background, not doing anything. You form relationships with people. Kieran Culkin and, I would say this to his face too, but Kieran’s a total asshole, but in the best way.

What should audiences be looking for?

AK: I think that this is one of the most original films out there. I think that every film in the next year is going to completely rip it off. If you don’t see it, you’re going to be left out of the conversation. It’s one of those movies where you need to see it so you can say, “I was there when that movie came out. I saw it the opening weekend and it blew me away, and the audience freaked out.” I’m excited for people to see it, like my friends who haven’t seen it, I tell them you are in for a treat. It’s this fun experience — I’m like jealous of people who haven’t seen it yet because I’m excited for them.

Is that part of the reason why you took the role in the first place?

AK: Definitely. The script. The script itself was actually a little psychotic. When you read the script, on paper, it looks like, it’s so dense and it’s so tight that it’s like reading “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” where you feel that you’re inside the mind of an insane person. I was a little bit confused about how it was all going to come together but I just had too.

It seems like it would be a hard script to read?

AK: You can’t read as fast as some of these visual gags happen, so you’re not really sure how it’s going to work. That was one of those leaps of faith where you just have to think like I know this is going to be amazing because I know how talented these people are.

What’s the difference between working with someone like Edgar to some of the director’s you’ve worked with in the past?

AK: Working with Edgar was definitely unlike any experience I’ve had before but I think that’s because of the specificity of it. That shooting style is not what your traditional wide/medium/close shooting style. It’s like, this is the shot where going to use for this line, this is that shot were going to use for this line, and there’s no cutting back and forth because it’s meant to look like a new panel of a comic-book every time they change the frame. It’s not like you’re editing between three shivas. That made it kind of nerve racking because as an actor, you don’t have as much room for error. It’s nice to be challenged that way.

Which was you favorite scene to watch onscreen?

AK: My favorite scene, the first piece of footage of the finished film that I ever saw while I was shooting it (they shot this scene before) and Edgar showed me this little scene was when when Michael finds out that Ramona went through a “phase” and he says this line, “What is she talking about?” Which isn’t a funny line in it and of itself, but the way he says it is so funny to me. I laughed so hard the first time I saw it. It’s still my favorite moment in the film. It’s not even a joke, but it’s still the funniest for me. It’s like Michael Cera is making a joke about making a joke. That’s when you just think like Michael you’re a genius. There’s a reason why you’re in the position that you’re in.

Could you speak a little bit about how important it is for the relationships, in this film to be believable again?

AK: There’s a scene — I just kind of make fun of him and give him a hard time through the movie, but there’s a scene where things have gotten really bad for Scott and like I wanted it to come across that I cared about him, his family. But at the same time not have it be a mushy scene. The way I interact with my bother, I think the closest we’ve ever come to having a big mushy corny moment is slapping each other on the back. That’s the way that I interact with my brother and so I wanted to keep that all grounded in the world were their young. The most caring that Stacey is toward Scott is when she offers a piece of tried and true advice, you know. There’s somebody out there for you and that’s as good as it gets for her. But I think, in their relationship, that means the world. In those moments it’s important to show as much as you can, quickly. Like in real life, just immediately snap back into it by giving each other a hard time.

Check out Scott Pilgrim in theaters this Friday, August 13th! {screencrave.com}

Wall Street Journal: Kendrick Keeps The Twilight at Bay

Anna Kendrick shot to fame last year with her Oscar-nominated role opposite George Clooney in “Up in the Air,” but New York theater fans have been familiar with the actress for more than a decade. In 1998, at age 12, Ms. Kendrick was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway production of “High Society,” becoming one of the youngest actresses to achieve the distinction.

At the time, Ms. Kendrick, who is from Maine, lived with her father and older brother in Yonkers. Since then she has grown into a promising adult actress, with roles in the musical theater-inspired “Camp,” the wildly popular “Twilight” franchise and “Up in the Air.’ Her latest role is as the no-nonsense sister to Michael Cera’s dreamy garage-band lothario in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

The Journal spoke with Ms. Kendrick, who turned 25 on Monday.

Wall Street Journal: You attended Comic-Con recently to promote “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” which is based on a comic book. What’s the convention like?

Ms. Kendrick: Comic-Con was awesome. It’s like geeks take over the city of San Diego. [They’re] in their element and really shining.

WSJ: Speaking of geeks, movies like “High School Musical” and shows like “Glee” have made musical theater cool among kids in recent years. Was that the case when you were in high school?

Ms. Kendrick: We were total freaks. It was not cool. I did not get any street cred for doing theater at my school.

WSJ: So when you were younger, where did the motivation to act come from?

Ms. Kendrick: Why does a six year old kid want to play soccer? I think it’s the same thing. You just want to be on stage. That’s the only thing that matters. You don’t worry about the motivation for that.

WSJ: What was it like to be a 12-year-old stage actress in New York?

Ms. Kendrick: I went down on the bus with my brother and we would sort of like be running around New York. When I was doing that show and doing auditions, we were staying in New York by ourselves. We thought we were pretty rad. I guess it’s strange, because I get these gasps of horror when I say that I went to New York with my brother or by myself when I was really young from Maine. But kids live in New York. It was like a magical place for us. We didn’t think it was that big a deal.

WSJ: If you were writing a manual for other young actors titled “How to Survive Awards Season,” what would be your advice?

Ms. Kendrick: To not worry about the fact that the thing you probably care most about in the world—your performance and your work—is being reduced to a soundbite about lip gloss. You’re going to be on red carpets and the only thing they’re going to ask you about are your shoes.

WSJ: When you’re involved in a cultural phenomenon like “Twilight,” does someone from the movie studio sit you down and prepare you?

Ms. Kendrick: Nobody ever really sat me down. I understand that, because people react differently to that kind of thing. I’m glad that the paparazzi haven’t followed me. It’s amazing the way from the outside you can think that there must be something kind of cool or glamorous about it. The very few times it’s happened to me, it’s so terrifying. {wsj.com}

The Record: Cera, Wright, Schwartzman hold court at Toronto homecoming of ‘Scott Pilgrim’

…And just because it was inspired by comics and martial arts mayhem, doesn’t mean female fans won’t be able to relate to the story, says Kendrick, who plays Scott’s no-nonsense sister, Stacey.

“There’s a great gender cross-over,” says Kendrick.

“I think, you know, the other example of that is ‘X-Men,’ I think girls really respond to ‘X-Men’ because there’s girls fighting and it’s girls with guys. It’s not just Wonder Woman, it’s guys and girls fighting together and I think that’s the cool thing about this…. It’s girls and guys fighting each other and fighting alongside one another and I think that girls will really respond to that.” {therecord.com}

Anna posed for a cute photo shoot while in Toronto with her Scott Pilgrim co-stars Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman. Here it is, exclusively, below! :D:

Photoshoots & Outtakes > Session 037

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Scott Pilgrim Press Tour – Toronto

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Texture by AmazeedVeeHudgens

Anna turns twenty-five today! Hopefully she is having a great day to celebrate her whirlwind year! MTV also has a sweet little shout out for Anna on her big day :):

Anna Kendrick Turns 25, And We Highlight Her Accomplishments! :

You may not have a starring role in your upcoming film, Anna Kendrick, but you do get a chance to star in what is sure to the most beloved film of the summer. Can “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” top “Inception” in reviews and the box office? Only time will tell.

If that alone isn’t enough of a great 25th birthday present, you can add to that the fact that in one quarter of a decade you’ve managed to accomplish more than most actors — film or stage — have accomplished in their entire career.

You’ve worked alongside greats like George Clooney and Angelica Huston, as well as with as your own up-and-coming generation of stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Cera and Robert Pattinson.

You also have great relationships with some of the better directors to come out of the past 10 years, like Jason Reitman, David Slade and Edgar Wright (a little more than a friendship with this one, we hear). The films you have coming up, like “Live With It” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” are sure to help your resume out a lot as well, by being the main scene stealer in “The Twilight Saga” and starring in a dramedy opposite Seth Rogen.

Add that to the fact that you have already been nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and a Tony, and we think you’re in pretty good shape for only living a quarter of a century. Here’s to you, Anna Kendrick, and here’s to 25 more awesome years for you! We’re guessing you’ll have won at least one of each of the three aforementioned awards in that period of time. {mtv.com}

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