The “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” stars pass along some shocking break-up stories

By Matt Pais

Metromix
August 10, 2010

Anna Kendrick and Jason Schwartzman at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. (Credit: Christopher Smith/ RedEye)

Q&A: Jason Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick

Comedic-action-video-game-love-story “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” has so many pop culture references it can be hard to tell where the movie stops and other influences come in. Co-star Anna Kendrick knows this first-hand.

“I’ve definitely heard people say things like, “Oh, that part where he does this was so funny, what’s that a reference to?” says the actress, nominated for Best Supporting Actress last year for “Up in the Air.” “And it’s like, ‘Well, it’s not actually a reference to anything, and even if it was, you thought it was funny anyway, so what does it matter?’”

Kendrick’s co-star Jason Schwartzman agrees, reiterating that the film, based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels and directed by ever-hip director Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”), isn’t a joke that you either do or don’t get. “I really just see it as someone’s imagination going crazy and it just being about freedom and fun and fighting for a girl,” he says.

Click here to watch our video interviews with Cera, Kendrick, Schwartzman and Wright, who offer break-up tips and more

Schwartzman plays the last of the evil exes that Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) must defeat to maintain his relationship with Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Stacey (Kendrick) is Scott’s sister who’s constantly appearing as the know-it-all voice of reason.

On the day of Kendrick’s 25th birthday, she and Schwartzman, 30, chatted about fighting on film and the worst break-ups ever.

How often have you had to fight the evil exes of someone you’ve dated?

Anna Kendrick: The only guy that I ever dated who had an evil ex I realized later that maybe she was not so evil because he turned out to be totally nuts.

Jason Schwartzman:
Ah ha. That’s good.

AK: You have to take everything with a grain of salt.

JS: I have the same story. I’ve never come to blows with anyone. To quote “Chicago,” “I’m a man who will fight for your honor.” I would fight for a woman’s honor, but all the women I dated, their boyfriends have all been pretty much like me. Like, we all get along. I meet all the boyfriends and like …

“We should hang out more!”

JS: “Screw this girl! We should be friends. You’re great! You want to go to this movie with me?”

Jason, you’ve long wanted to fight on film. Did anything scare you about doing that?

JS: The only thing that’s scary is it really is a lot of hours doing it. It took about three weeks to shoot the whole fight scene and it was like 12 to 14 hours a day of solid exertion. The fight scene was so long I actually had three days off for my wedding. I went home and got married and flew back. You can see a difference post marriage in my fighting style.

What changed?

JS: Just the look in my eye. It was more sharp, more diamond-like. The thing is your mind gets fatigued as well as your body. Me and Michael really had to be in sync with each other. If my mind wanders, I’m tired, and I swing at his head when I’m supposed to be swinging at his feet, and he’s expecting to block my sword at his feet. I could knock him out. So there’s a lot of trust that goes into it. Though everything is safe as can be and the swords aren’t real, it just takes one person to go the wrong way and you can seriously hurt someone.

Anna, did you want to get involved in that?

AK: The finished product looks really, really cool and I’m really jealous, but seeing a fellow actor in a harness for three hours did not make me jealous. At all.

On Twitter @caratweets wanted to know: Jason, why are you so awesome?

JS: Oh, thank you. That’s so nice. I don’t think that I’m very awesome. I can tell you that much.

Why not?

JS: I don’t know. Just never have. But I appreciate it.

What would have to happen for you to think that you were?

JS: Money. Fame. The stuff that makes people happy.

You’re clearly doing terribly for yourself. Anna, why are you so awesome?

AK: That didn’t get asked! You’re just throwing me a bone. Nobody asked that.

I’m asking that right now.

JS: He’s asking. He thinks you’re awesome.

AK: Um … I’m from Maine.

JS: Nice! What what!

AK: We’re just made that way. We’re chosen people.

The movie is about relationships and breakups, sort of. What’s the worst breakup story you’ve ever heard?

AK: What kind of language are we allowed to use? I have a really terrible one, but I really don’t think I can [say it].

JS: Can I hear it?

We can use asterisks when necessary.

AK: No, it’s really terrible.

JS: Ok, let’s hear it.

Me and Schwartzman together: Come on!

AK: Like, seriously, I don’t even know. Wait, let me think about this. No, I really can’t tell the story.

JS: Just go. Take the action! Just take the action and jump off the diving board into this pool of filth. Tell me the story, woman!

AK: OK. It’s so bad, if I get in trouble I’m going to kill you. So this guy’s sick, he stayed home from school. This is in high school. He stayed home from school and his girlfriend made him a tape of all his favorite “Simpsons” episodes. And a plate of brownies. And brought them over to his house because he was sick. And he was watching the “Simpsons” episodes and eating a brownie and halfway through the video it turned into a video of her having sex with another guy.

JS: Oh no!

AK: I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! That’s all I can say. That’s all I can say.

JS: Ah ha, but I have the upper hand because I can be with her later and she’s going to tell me the rest of this.

That doesn’t seem fair to me at all.

JS: Did he do something to the brownies? (Whispers) He s*** in them? He [ejaculated] in them? He [ejaculated] in the brownies?!

AK: (nods, whispers) And he ate the brownies.

JS: You’re disgusting. How could you tell a story like that?

And on your birthday!

AK: I hate you guys!

JS: I thought you were going to say something like a guy had some cotton candy with his girlfriend and she slapped him on a pier. No, I’m just … wow, that’s amazing.

What about you, Jason? Top that.

JS: I was the guy in the brownie story. No, let me think. I know a guy who was at home and his girlfriend was at a basketball game [but] said she had something to do with work. Guy’s watching the basketball game, cut to his girlfriend at the game, making out with his father.

What?

AK: No.

JS: Kissing on the camera with his father.

AK: That’s not true.

What did he do?

JS: That’s all I know. I know they broke up. He talked to the father first. Father denied it. And then he talked to the girlfriend and she said it was true. And he doesn’t talk to the father or the woman. The father was divorced; there wasn’t a woman he was cheating on. But he was cheating on his son, really. It was terrible.

Anna, what are you going to do for your birthday?

AK: I don’t know. I’m going to try and do my taxes or something. I’m 25 now; I need to learn how to do stuff.

You should rent a car right now.

AK: OK.

JS: Oh yeah!

AK: Oh yeah. Oh God. There’s nothing left. There’s nothing left.

JS: Yeah, there is.

AK: Social security? Menopause?

JS: Well, there’s the senior citizen rate at the movies. There’s menopause.

What would it be like to actually fight Michael Cera?

JS: Terrible because he’s a sweet man. I would never fight him. I couldn’t imagine hurting him. At all. With words even. I don’t want to ever hurt his feelings. I just love him.

AK: I want to tuck him in at night.

JS: Yeah, I do too.

What they want to do in Chicago
AK: “Oh, man! The local coffee shop with the free Wi-Fi always intrigues me. The free Wi-Fi attracts all kinds. Starbucks is, like, you have to have a T-Mobile account which is fine. There is something about—in Baltimore, in St. Louis, in Toronto, anywhere that I’ve filmed—when you find the free Wi-Fi cafe, you find good people watching.”
JS: “I’d love to go to a Cubs game and a White Sox game. I love going to baseball stadiums. I know you have to have like a private ticket to do it but I’ve always wanted to sit on the seats on top of the apartments because I saw it once on the news when I was a little kid and it’s one of those things that gets burned in your head. It just always seemed incredible and unique. There’s also some great guitar stores around here. So maybe go guitar hunting.”
Chicago experience
AK, who had never been before and could only eat one piece of Gino’s East deep-dish: “It was so thick,” she says. “There was not as much bread as I was expecting. It is like so much cheese and meat, it was huuuuuuuuuge. It was really excellent, but I may never need to eat again.”
JS, who spent lots of time here when touring with former band Phantom Planet: “We would always make Chicago the place where we would have our days off. So we’d tour, tour, tour but then instead of having like three days off in New York, we’d prefer to have it in Chicago.”

Matt Pais is the Metromix music and movies producer. mpais@tribune.com