Anna Kendrick was a Tony nominee at age 12 (for High Society), and her big movie coming-out was 2009’s Up in the Air . Playing a laser-focused corporate efficiency expert who specializes in laying off employees from the safe distance of a Skype connection, she brought finely controlled humor to the role and earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. She was on top of the world.
And scared stiff.
“I was going through a moment in my life where I felt like everyone expected me to know what I was doing and sound very professional and know what I was talking about,” she says during a recent stop in Dallas to talk about her new film, 50/50. “But I was terrified, and I secretly expected everyone could see right through me.”
That experience helped guide her toward 50/50 , another comedy with a strong dramatic undertow. She plays Catherine, a therapist assigned to help a young cancer patient (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
A 24-year-old doctoral student, Katherine is terrified. She secretly expects everyone can see right through her.
“I tried to focus all of my anxiety into this character,” says Kendrick, now 26. “It was my little therapy.”
Her profile is higher than ever now, thanks to Up in the Air and her ongoing work in the Twilight franchise. She exudes the kind of energy and smarts that would be right at home in a Golden Age Hollywood comedy.
No need for anxiety. But if it feeds the performance, no need to take it easy, either.