If you’re Anna Kendrick, you’ve got to be pretty excited right about now. Your second tour of duty in the Twilight franchise is coming out in a week, and you get to enjoy everything that comes with being involved in a phenomenon without the terrible scrutiny faced by its two leads. But more importantly, your role in George Clooney’s next movie is receiving unilateral praise, and the film itself, Up in the Air, is already being called one of the year’s best. And for the capper, there’s a good chance that come winter, at the age of 24, you’ll have your first Oscar nomination. You’re no longer just the girl whose face was licked by Robert Pattinson. Here ‘s the budding star on her proximity to the supernovae that are Robert and Kristen, that infamous photo, and the sneaking suspicion that things are about to change.
Does your relationship with George Clooney in the film have any romantic undertones? No, that’s actually one of the things I love about this script and this role. My character is a young woman, but there is never a romantic plot for her, and there is never a romantic interest with George. George has his own love interest, and the role really could have been for any general age, it just happens to be a young woman. She’s not romantic in any way, just smart and driven.
Is it true that you beat out people like Ellen Page and Emily Blunt for the part? I don’t know anything about that. I know it was printed, but certainly I don’t know anything about that.
What was your reaction when you got the role? I had already signed up to do Scott Pilgrim, and I was so worried about scheduling problems and letting anybody down that my immediate reaction was this overwhelming anxiety about not being able to all the things I was signed up to do at the same time. So, it should have been this really overwhelming thing and immediately my brain goes to, how is this going to work and who am I going to piss off?
How do you spend downtime between movie shoots? Basically, I watch a lot of movies too. I’m trying to kind of get all of the classics under my belt. I’m a big fan of staying at home and watching movies.
Do you think your supporting role in Twilight can result in backlash from fans of more serious fare? I understand a certain amount of backlash to something that’s really popular. I think particularly this being popular with young women, it takes a certain amount of flack. I mean, I can tell you a lot of the actors in Twilight are incredibly talented. It might be something that’s driven toward young females, but it has no bearing on anybody’s acting chops.
There’s a picture online of Robert Pattinson kissing you. Do people tease you about that? I have seen fans comment on places that post them, but no one in person has ever said anything but nice things to me about being in Twilight. The fans, when you are removed from them and they’re on the internet, can seem a little scary and overwhelming. Even at the premiere, which was loud and massive and crazy, once you got up to the fans to start signing stuff, they were really warm and respectful.
Is that part of your job a source of anxiety? Premieres are always interesting. Every time I sort of convince myself that it’s going to be fun, I get a little nervous right beforehand even though it’s coming from a good place. Having that much energy thrown at you is really intense and just a little jarring.
Can you even begin to fathom what Rob is going through? Yeah, I went Comic-Con and I have never seen anything like it. For whatever reason Rob and Twilight kind of flipped the switch in people’s heads, and all they can do is scream. It is really intense but I kind of wanted to see what it was like for myself. I kind of needed to know first-hand because I’d seen these videos from the first Comic-Con they did. I just figured it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing, so I had to see for myself. And it was every bit as intense and terrifying as I thought it was going to be.
What’s the hysteria like on set in Vancouver? The one thing that we had to shoot outside was just with Kristen, and they kept Rob really covered because again, even if it’s Kristen, girls seem to have the ability to stay quiet and be respectful, but with Rob, it’s like a different story. So, they have to kind of block out the set and we are kind of working in something of a cave because having him around is a security risk.
With Up in the Air getting so much positive buzz, does it feel like you’re approaching a career turning point? I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of the films I’ve been in, and having a slow and steady build. I have done smaller films that a lot of people in the industry have seen, and I feel sort of fortunate that it hasn’t been this overnight thing. I’m hoping that it continues to be this slow and steady thing so that I can take a deep breath and get used to it.
How did shooting New Moon differ from shooting the first film? The set feels different, but I think part of that is we are shooting in a different city. We understand better what the film is going to be and what it means to people. That was something that even I forget sometimes, just how little anybody in the cast really understood what a phenomenon this was. So there’s a little bit more of an expectation to deliver, because you understand what it means to people.
How has the atmosphere changed around Robert and Kristen, now that they’re superstars? The atmosphere hasn’t changed, and they haven’t changed and certainly the way that they behave, or we behave around them hasn’t changed at all. It’s as though everything is normal except there are these crowds of screaming people, but it feels completely separate from the movie. It feels almost as though it has almost nothing to do with what we are actually working on.
Are you embracing life in Los Angeles? I’ve been living here for a few years now, and at first I was really fighting it. When I first got here somebody told me that it takes a year to really embrace it and I think it took me a little bit longer. Growing up back East and coming to L.A. when you’re 18 is quite a culture shock. But yeah, it’s home now and I’ve kind of learned how to navigate.
What is your favorite thing in the city? I really love the silent movie theater on Fairfax. I saw a screening of The Passion of Joan of Arc with a live new age electronic band scoring the movie. It was sort of mind blowing. If nothing else, it seems a be a town that’s committed to film, and that’s pretty fantastic.
Would you call yourself a film buff? I always hesitate to categorize myself that way because I know there are so many films I haven’t seen and a true film buff could eat me for breakfast.
Are you nervous about becoming famous? Yeah, I’m sort of trying to allow myself to think about it because I think the worst possible thing would be to be caught off guard.