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Anna Kendrick Talks About ‘Up in the Air’

Anne Kendrick may be recognized by millions of females worldwide as Jessica in the Twilight film series, but it’s her starring role opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air that’s attracting serious awards attention. Kendrick plays an earnest, hard-working but naive new employee of a firm that does all the dirty work of firing people for large companies. Adapted from the Walter Kirn novel by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner and directed by Reitman, (JunoThank You for Smoking) hopes are high for Up in the Air‘s chances at a little Oscar glory.

In LA for the press day for the Paramount Pictures movie, Kendrick said she just loved how complicated her character, Natalie, is in Up in the Air. “I love that she’s unapologetically ambitious. That’s not a quality that I have, but I admire it in her,” admitted Kendrick. “It’s funny, I feel really protective of her, and it’s funny the way the audience loves her after she falls apart. It makes me want to defend her and it makes me wish that people admired that strength in her. At the end of the day, I read a lot of screenplays about a guy on a journey who meets a girl and the girl doesn’t really do much other than kind of stand there and look pretty, and is used kind of as a device for this guy. I love that she existed for her own story and that she didn’t have a romantic story.”

Writer/director Reitman said that although Kendrick didn’t know it during the audition process, he actually wrote the part for her. “She auditioned against 30 of the best actresses of her generation who all wanted to play this part, and she’s the only one. It was just like night and day,” revealed Reitman in our exclusive interview. “She came in and it was just like she started doing it and I had to stop myself from giggling because I was having such a good time finally watching dialogue be said the right way.”

Speaking of Reitman, the writer/director has been busy traveling the country promoting the film. Countless interviews with journalists asking nearly all the same questions prompted him to keep a pie chart made up of the questions. Kendrick doesn’t have a pie chart, but she’s tempted to make one. Of course, if she did it would mostly consistent of questions pertaining to working with George Clooney or Robert Pattinson (in the Twilight films). “I keep meaning to keep a pie chart actually, especially on the plane junket because I knew it was going to be all kind of contained and in a row,” said Kendrick, referring to an actual press junket conducted on a plane traveling from New York to LA. “But I don’t know how he does it for himself. I would have to have somebody listening because otherwise I’d be keeping a tally and not answering questions. He’s a lot smarter than I am so maybe that’s how he does it.”

“But my pie chart, I don’t know…my pie chart would be pretty boring. It’s basically George and Rob and that’s it. I’m so sick of talking about those two,” joked Kendrick.

Building Up Frequent Flyer Miles

Kendrick had to juggle shooting in Vancouver on The Twilight Saga: New Moon with filmingUp in the Air in Detroit, St. Louis, Omaha, Miami and Las Vegas. “Honestly, Omaha was my favorite place. Miami was a nightmare. It was just sticky and strange, and Omaha was so lovely. We were staying in the most generic chain hotel imaginable. It was actually so charming and lovely, I’m sure that that’s because I’m from Maine and it reminded me of home, but I liked it a lot,” said Kendrick.

Asked if she’s hooked up with American Airlines now after starring in a film all about frequent flyers, Kendrick laughed. “Yeah, don’t they know who I think I am? Yeah, I think I’m getting all the miles now. I think it’s good. It was actually funny, they wouldn’t let us into the flagship lounge at the airport when we were going to do the press plane thing. It just took them a minute to get it organized or whatever, but it was like, ‘You realize we’re going to go on a plane that you guys have chartered just to talk about the movie that basically is a love letter to your company.’ So, I don’t know. They’re busy folks over there at American Airlines.”

Up Next for Anna Kendrick

Kendrick recently completed work on the film version of Scott Pilgrim vs the World, based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Written and directed by Shaun of the Dead andHot Fuzz writer/director Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, the much-anticipated action comedy is set to hit theaters in 2010.

The film follows Scott as he tries to defeat his new girlfriend’s seven ex-boyfriends. Kendrick plays Scott Pilgrim’s sister, Stacey. “I basically just sort of judge Scott for all his life choices and tell him how to live his life, which is fun. But I care about him, too,” explained Kendrick.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World features lots of cool fights, but Kendrick wasn’t involved in any of them. “No! No, there’s one scene. I’m at the theater where Scott fights Matthew Patel [played by Satya Bhabha] and that was really fun. I will tell you right now Michael Cera kicks so much ass in this movie. I mean, everybody does, but the bigger shock is to see Michael doing kung fu.”

Kendrick got to meet the woman who inspired her character during production of the film. “It’s Bryan Lee O’Malley’s sister, Stacey. Her name is Stacey, but not Stacey Pilgrim.”

“She’s half-Asian so we’re not exactly the same. but she seemed really, really sweet. I was like, ‘You get a bad rap in these books.’ But she did say that she used to give Bryan a really hard time about whoever he was dating, so that’s where that came from.”

Kendrick’s seen about 30 minutes of footage and warns that audiences should be emotionally prepared for the ride they’re going to go on watching the film. “It’s so good, people are not going to know what hit them. I have a small role in it so I’m allowed to gush. It’s so cool. I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s an energy and a style that I’ve just never seen before, and I think it’s going to make the fastest movie you’ve seen look like a Merchant Ivory film. There, I said it.”


December 4, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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