New York Daily News: Anna Kendrick of ‘Up in the Air,’ ‘New Moon,’ glad she started on New York stage

By Mark Ellwood
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Saturday, December 12th 2009, 4:00 AM

Kevin Hagen

Anna Kendrick in New York, where she came frequently for auditions while growing up. She says SoHo and Greenwich Village are still her favorite neighborhoods.

Anna Kendrick in New York, where she came frequently for auditions  while growing up. She says SoHo and Greenwich Village are still her  favorite neighborhoods.

Q. In the new movie “Up in the Air,” you play a frequent flier opposite George Clooney. As a child actor, you shuttled often between Portland, Maine, and New York for auditions.

A. It started out with my parents driving me down for auditions and stuff. After a while, they both worked and couldn’t always drive, so when I was 12 they started sending me on Greyhound buses with my brother, who was 14.

Q. That was timely – your big break was in the show “High Society” in 1998, when you were 12. How did you land that role?

A. When I went to New York to audition for that, they asked me to stay overnight. And of course, we were planning on getting the Greyhound bus back that evening. So my parents had to fax a credit card to a hotel. They told us, they were adamant, “Stay in the hotel and only go out for your audition.” But my brother and I, being precocious little 12- and 14-year-olds, thinking it was the coolest thing in the world to be alone in New York City, we went to Bleecker and MacDougal and had breakfast. We thought we were the coolest kids in the world.

Q. Did you live alone in the city during your six-month stint?

A. My dad was a teacher at the time, and it was easier for him to leave and come to New York with me. So we got an apartment in Yonkers and drove in every day – we couldn’t find an apartment we could afford in the city, because we were being supported by the minimum wage for Actors’ Equity. As a 12-year-old, you’ll take whatever’s given to you, basically.

Q. What’s your favorite area now?

A. I’d say it’s probably SoHo or Greenwich Village, because though I never lived there, those were the places that felt like I disappeared into New York. I used to go there with my brother. There was so much of New York that belonged to the rest of the world, but certain places – like SoHo – felt like they still belonged to New York and we were lucky to be a part of it.

Q. As a cast member in “New Moon,” you’re surrounded by young actors transitioning to adult careers. Are you glad you started out in New York rather than L.A.?

A. Absolutely. Thank God I started on stage and not in film. On a film set, you’re sort of coddled, but when you’re on stage, even as a 12-year-old, you’re expected to be a professional and deliver every night. It was hard work, and sometimes it was really lonely, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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