Barry Koltnow
From: Herald Sun
December 21, 2009 1:05PM

Anna Kendrick, George Clooney, Up in the Air

The arrival of Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick, left) complicates Ryan Bingham’s (George Clooney, right) work life in Up in the Air. Paramount Films Source: HWT Image Library

AMID enjoying her new status as a Twilight starlet, Anna Kendrick is being accused of stealing scenes from George Clooney.

The 24-year-old – who plays Bella’s friend Jessica in The Twilight Saga: New Moon – had just finished shooting that role when she was offered the new Clooney caper Up in the Air.

Clooney plays a business traveller with one of the worst jobs imaginable – he works as a roving hatchet-man, hired by companies to fire people.

Into his carefree existence comes a humourless, by-the-book efficiency expert (Kendrick) with a plan that threatens to upset his routine.

But Kendrick, who has been in show business since she was a child (she was the third-youngest Tony nominee in Broadway history), says her audition for director Jason Reitman went so badly, she thought she’d been scratched from the short list.

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“Jason asked me to come in and read, but I had no idea that he had written the part for me,” she says.

“He said he didn’t want to psych me out. He told me he didn’t want me to know that he had written it for me so I shouldn’t feel like I had messed up.

“He told me at a cast lunch, and I acted as if that sort of thing happened all the time. I was pretending like I wasn’t out of my league at all.”

What was it like acting with Clooney in every scene?

“The great part was that it wasn’t a romantic relationship, which made this movie so unique. It was so much fun to work with him, and not be drawn in by his charm. I liked our contentious relationship.”

Kendrick says that despite Twilight’s success, she has “only 65,000 followers on Twitter” and few celebrity moments.

“I get a couple more girls coming up to me in airports to ask me for autographs, but other than that, my day-to-day life is exactly the same.”

Jessica, she says, was fun and easy to play. “I know what my purpose is in those movies. I’m a device to move along certain scenes,” she says.

“I don’t need to do extensive investigation into the character’s background. But I do feel like I am a piece of the puzzle, and I have to do my piece right or the puzzle doesn’t work.”

Twilight: New Moon is now showing. Up in the Air opens on January 14.