Opening this weekend is director Kirk Jones’ What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The star-studded ensemble comedy tells the intertwining story of five couples that are having very different experiences while expecting babies. The cast also includes Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jennifer Lopez, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Chace Crawford, Matthew Morrison, Brooklyn Decker, Thomas Lennon, and Wendy McLendon-Covey. For more on the film, here’s the trailer and a TV spot.
At the recent Los Angeles press day I was able to speak with Anna Kendrick twice. The first time was a video interview alongside Chace Crawford (click here if you missed it), and the second time was a more in depth interview with just her. During our wide ranging conversation we talked about what she collects, how she made seven movies last year, what it was like to film What to Expect When You’re Expecting with such a huge cast, upcoming films like Get a Job, End of Watch, and a lot more. Hit the jump for more.
Anna Kendrick: Yeah, yesterday got weird. I started talking about a lot of inappropriate stuff that I wouldn’t normally [talk about] for a film that I was trying to pretend that I’m all classy [on], but it got inappropriate. It was great. I started talking about how I hate babies, it was weird (laughs).
I’m sure that’s going to come back to bite you in the ass in either People Magazine or one of those weekly rags.
Kendrick: Yeah. I thought that’s sort of like saying you’re not a dog person, to me, in which case I’m like “Who are you? Where are you from that you’re not a dog person.”
So you agree that you’re either a dog person or a cat person?
Kendrick: Uuuh. . . I dunno. I don’t have a problem with cats, I just want a dog.
Sure, I think there’s pros and cons to both animals. What kinds of things do you collect?
Kendrick: This is a stupid one, but it’s like an OCD thing, it’s not as much something I enjoy. If I see a chapstick that I’ve never tried, I have to buy it. And then once that door’s been opened, I have to check the whole store to see if there are more chapsticks that I don’t have.
So you’re very expensive as far as what you collect.
Kendrick: Yeah, exactly (laughs).
You drop real money.
Kendrick: I have priceless collections of chapsticks.
I have not heard the chapstick one.
Kendrick: Yeah, it’s weird.
Kendrick: I like Bert’s Bees. Their Pomegranate is really nice.
And I’m sure people will seek it out now. I want to open the door on the last year, it seems like when I look at IMDB you have been working a lot.
Kendrick: Yeah, I made seven movies last year.
I was gonna say.
Kendrick: That was a mistake.
Are you all of a sudden realizing “I’m going to have to promote all seven of these?”
Kendrick: (laughs) Yeah that’s actually kind of scary, because the promoting is no fun. The making is always fun, the promoting is not so fun. I was also just really tired, I just over extended myself and I shan’t be doing it again. But talking about all the movies and genuinely keeping them straight is gonna be tricky.
Most people aren’t going to be like me, asking about specific projects. Most people are there for the project at hand. I’m of course the curve ball that ruins everything.
Yes, lets quote that one, “You’re awful.” Did anyone say to you when you were making this many in a row, “wow”? Or were you sort of like, “These are all good roles” or “These are all characters I’ve wanted to play, I really want to make this”?
Kendrick: I think there was a certain point where several people went, “hey are you gonna die soon, or what are you trying to do to yourself?” But, for example, I was making a movie and the opportunity to do a very small role in a Robert Redford film came up, and obviously I just said “yeah, let’s figure it out, let’s make it work.” And it was not a simple task, but it was important to me to do that because, obviously, that’s one of those things you want to be able to do in your lifetime. So, yeah, it was a lot of stuff like that where something would seem simple and straightforward and some really wonderful opportunity would fall in my lap and I had to try to figure out a way to get it done.
I do want to ask a question about What to Expect: Is it cool being involved in a project where you have so many cast members, where you’re not working all the time? Or was your schedule the way the film was where you shot all your stuff in a short period of time and then you were done?
Kendrick: Mine was a little spread out and there were a couple days—maybe actually four or five days—where I was in Atlanta but wasn’t working. So I just kinda got to hang out and explore during the day and then the “dudes” group, Amir [Talai] and Tom [Lennon] and Rob [Huebel] and Chris Rock, would go out to dinner at night and I’d get to go and hang out with these amazing, talented guys. So it was not too shabby for Anna. I just looked at that as “This is fucking great, I get to hang out with Tom Lennon and Rob Huebal. . .”
They’re all very funny people; when you’re out to dinner with them are they constantly trying to one-up each other or are they just shooting the shit about movies they like?
Kendrick: Well I actually worked with Tom and Rob on “Ralph-a-Palooza” and was sort of in awe just watching them do their thing. I think at first it sort of looks like they’re on all the time or something, but then you just realize [they’re] not even trying, [they’re] just breathing funny all the time. So it’s madding in a sense, but it doesn’t feel competitive and weird. If anything I’d say that’s more the unemployed, in-their-20s, actors set. That kind of Frat-boy, Jackass mentality. Jackass the show, not just jackassery. They’re very established and they know that they’re good at what they do so they’re not competing with each other, they’re just being awesome and I am fortunate enough to get to witness some of it.
Kendrick: If it’s a long way off I’ll kind of delve into it semi-intensely when I first get it and get really excited about it and find a place where I’m excited and enthusiastic and then put it away until it’s much, much closer. So kind of a combination of both, because I don’t want to get burned out on it. I guess it’s like how’s you’ll listen to your favorite song just until you’re almost getting sick of it, and then it’s so fun to rediscover after a couple of months.
What’s the most research you’ve done, or the most prepared you’ve ever been, for a role?
Kendrick: Well this was the first time that I’ve ever had lessons set up for me. Like cooking lessons, a bunch of them, as though we were training to be Iron Chefs or something. And then when we shot the scene they were like, “Oh don’t even worry about it, the camera can’t see your hands.” So as far as specific research, next time I’m going to find out specifically what we’re shooting. I’m going to talk to the cinematographer first (laughs).
I want to ask you about Get a Job, and a few of the other projects you have. Have you wrapped on Get a Job?
Kendrick: That was so fun. It was also the first time I got to play, like, a dirty stoner. She doesn’t start out that way, but she sort of ends up that way, and let me tell you, I want to do that all the time. It was the best thing ever. The hairstylist told me not to wash my hair, so I got to run around being really dirty just having the excuse of “Oh, this is for a role.” But that was so freeing and fun and I want to put it out in the universe that I would like to play more stoners.
I know they filmed that in the valley and you had a nice little cast with that one.
Kendrick: Yes, absolutely. Miles Teller, Nick Braun, Chris Mintz-Plasse, and Brandon T. Jackson were like The Four Musketeers. It was adorable to see; they were all so in love with each other, it was fantastic.
Most of your scenes were with who?
Kendrick: With Miles. I did work with Bryan Cranston, and the rehearsals for that were embarrassing because I kept forgetting that I was in the scene and would just be laughing along with the director. So I’m sitting at this table rehearsing while the director’s in the corner, but I’m acting like I’m just hanging out watching Bryan Cranston do this thing, like I’m just the peanut gallery.
He’s kinda talented, he’s okay.
Kendrick: Yeah, it’s insane. He’s so fun to watch.
Kendrick: Yes, I saw a screening of it and it was very bizarre coming out of it because I realized it was the first thing I’ve ever done that was super intense and serious. I came out of [the screening] physically feeling ill because it was so intense, and I was so tense through the whole movie that my back hurt (laughs). So I was like, “is that good? Did we do a good job? Is that okay?” Because usually you come out of a movie and your like, “That was fun, right everybody? That was a good movie, maybe?” And this was like, “I feel awful, that’s good right?”
So what are you doing for the rest of the year?
Kendrick: I don’t know, which is great. I just moved so I have a mattress on the floor and that’s it. So I’m happy to just have a second.