Aug 10, 2010 – By Mali Elfman
This week, Edgar Wright’s extraordinary comic-book adaptation, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World will finally be in theaters. The film stars Michael Cera (check out our interview with him as well!) 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!