The Daily Californian: ‘Up in the Air’ Actress Anna Kendrick’s Career Flies High

Anna Kendrick received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Natalie, starring alongside George Clooney in Jason Reitman’s film ‘Up in the Air.’

At the ripe old age of 26, actress Anna Kendrick has had some impressive strides on Broadway (scoring a Tony nod) and in Hollywood (where she has been nominated for a variety of awards). She has starred in “The Twilight Saga”, “Rocekt Science” and most recently “Up in the Air,” a role which got her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. From here, the only way for Ms. Kendrick to go is up. The Daily Californian sat down with Kendrick for a chat.

Daily Californian: 2009 was a great year for you. You got a Golden Globe nomination for “Up in the Air” and you were in the second installment of the Twilight franchise. So how’s 2010 treating you thus far?

Anna Kendrick: It’s good. I’m going to do another movie. I’m kind of excited about getting back on a film set and not talking about the same film over and over. As much as I adore this film, I don’t want to talk about George Clooney any more.

DC: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

AK: Oh, god. I’m trying to get better at texting and emailing back sooner. I always read things and put them back in my pocket and forget about them. I’m just trying to be better about keeping in touch with friends and family too. I’m definitely on everybody’s shit-list. My mom is like, “Are you alive?”

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DC: You were at airports a lot during this movie. Did it make you more appreciative of the traveling process, or are you getting sick of it?

AK: I’m pretty sick of it. Hopefully I’ve gotten a little better at getting through security. But it’s still annoying. Jason Reitman has a love of air travel, otherwise he couldn’t have written and directed the movie the way he did. But I will never understand it.

DC: You seem to be attracted to smart, strong female roles. Is that something about you that draws you to those characters?

AK: I want to express what I can’t express in real life. I am very, very timid. So I love the idea of calling George Clooney an asshole. There are so many times when I should have said something that I didn’t or I didn’t stand up for myself.

DC: Was it intimidating when you found out you were going to be in a film with George Clooney?

DC: And you and George were toe-to-toe for a majority of the film. So what was the set like?

AK: It was really fun. We cultivated the relationship that we had on-screen off-screen. But in a friendlier way. You know, I’m constantly making fun of him and he’s constantly making fun of me. It was great. I couldn’t ask for a greater movie.

AK: Yeah, especially when I got the part. I went back through the script and reread it, knowing now that I was actually going to do it. Every single scene was with George. I realized that if this guy isn’t wonderful, it’s going to be impossible because I will be so intimidated by him. And luckily, he turned out to be more wonderful than I hoped. He’s the guy who wants you to forget he’s George Clooney. So he made me feel really comfortable.

DC: What immediately attracts you to a script?

AK: The great thing about Natalie is how independent she is, and how juicy the script was without any romantic relationship-which I think is really rare. This was more than a no-brainer for me.

DC: What made you most nervous about doing this movie?

AK: Jason made me pretty nervous. When I auditioned, he barely looked at me. So when I got the job, I was like, “is that how he is when he’s going to hire someone? I better not mess up.” But he turned out to be so intuitive and warm. He’s very reserved and quiet, but before you know it, he has you completely figured out. He’s smart enough to figure you out and then approach you just the way you need to be approached. It felt like he tailored his directing to each actor and it was impressive.

DC: The film speaks to current economic times.

AK: Absolutely. There were a bunch of people in St. Louis and Detroit who Jason interviewed for all the firing montages. They really lent an air of realism to the set. And there were a lot of extras who had recently been laid off. It definitely made you want to be sensitive to what was happening in the economy and to those people. For Natalie, that helped a lot. She went into it expecting it to be easy and realizes that it’s not. Being surrounded by those people made you realize the humanity of it.

DC: Natalie is just out of college entering the rocky workforce of this economy. What would you say to college students in or about to be in the same situation?

AK: What Natalie is going through in the movie and what I am going through at the same time, is that she is getting a lot of what she wants and a lot of what she has worked so hard for. She thinks she’s worked harder so she thinks she will have a complete and full life. I have been very fortunate this year-but there will always be compromise for Natalie and there will always be compromise for me. Even if you do end up getting what you want, you might be disappointed. That’s a good thing to keep in mind when you don’t get what you want-even if you had, nothing’s perfect. There are no magic solutions.”

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