SANTA MONICA, California — Happy “One Month Until ’Twilight’ Day,” everybody! If you haven’t gotten yourself a cake yet, please rush out to your nearest bakery immediately.
To help you celebrate, indie darling Anna Kendrick stopped by the MTV studios recently for her very own “Twilight” Tuesday. A fun, sweet, down-to-earth actress whose career is moving along almost as quickly as she spoke in last year’s “Rocket Science,” Kendrick was eager to talk to us about her role as Bella’s bud Jessica Stanley, making googly eyes at Rob Pattinson, and her undying love for things wrapped in pancakes.
MTV: So, Anna, how did you start out in the business?
Anna Kendrick: Well, I grew up in Maine, so it was an unlikely place to start. But my parents were really, really cool about supporting what I wanted to do at a really young age. I think I was about 10 when I caught the bug. They would drive me down to New York if there were auditions. When I was 12, I did this show on Broadway called “High Society,” so we moved to New York for the run of that. [I later] auditioned for “Rocket Science” after I did this film called “Camp” before that.
MTV: In “Rocket Science,” your character spoke very confidently, and extremely quickly. Was it tough, knowing that one wrong word would screw up an entire take?
Kendrick: Yeah, and so I would really, really try to get it right, because I knew we had a tight schedule. When I would mess up, the cursing that would follow was really severe.
MTV: How did you get from there to “Twilight”?
Kendrick: “Twilight,” I wish there was like a great story behind it, but it was a straight-up audition situation. They actually brought me in for a mix-and-match [with various actors]. I was so sick that they asked me to stay, and I literally told them I couldn’t because I just felt so ill and I had to go home. But then they brought me in for one last smaller mix-and-match, and I ended up doing it.
MTV: Was [director] Catherine Hardwicke a fan of “Rocket Science”?
Kendrick: Yeah, Catherine saw “Rocket Science” at Sundance. She was actually the one who presented the award to the director, Jeff Blitz, at the closing ceremonies, which was really cool.
MTV: Give us your take on Jessica Stanley.
Kendrick: Well, I always feel like if you read the books a little while ago, maybe you wouldn’t remember my character. Jessica is just, well, a friend of Bella’s. But she is human; she is a chatterbox and really insecure, and she basically is jealous of all the attention that Bella gets. I think she likes Bella, but at the same time feels a little threatened. She wants to keep her as close as possible.
MTV: What sort of stuff does Jessica do?
Kendrick: Like, the first time I see Bella and Mike talking — because, you know, I like Mike in the movie — I just trot over and weasel my way into the convo and make it really, really awkward. It is so clear that I have this agenda of, you know, “I really like you,” and, “Please don’t talk to him, because I like him.” It’s just kind of sad. [Laughs.]
MTV: And you also have a bit of a crush on Edward as well, right?
Kendrick: Yeah, and it’s easy to get googly eyed at Rob [Pattinson], because he is so dreamy. [In the one scene] where we really interact, Angela and I are supposed to be “dazzled” by him — that was the word in the script. It was really fun, and I think it was my last night of shooting. It was hard not to laugh the entire time, because to really play up that googly eyed, dazzled thing felt really funny.
MTV: What did you do to depict it?
Kendrick: Rob kept giving me this look that was his “charming” smile, but I thought it was his “I’m about to laugh” smile, which would make me laugh, but it actually ended up working because essentially it was uncomfortable laughter, and it made sense that I would be fighting these almost, like, church giggles.
MTV: Are there any great improv lines that you came up with?
Kendrick: Kristen has this line about eating disorders, and [the camera] cuts to me with a big chunk of food in my mouth. I don’t know why it’s so funny, but I think it’s really funny. It’s just like this forkful of grapes. … Also, this isn’t an intentional added improv, but I’m jumping a lot in all the outdoor scenes, which looks like I’m jumping around because it’s so cold. If you were there, it would make perfect sense that I’m jumping, but because you can’t feel how cold it was that day, it’s just weird.
MTV: So we should keep an eye peeled for you in the background, just leaping around?
Kendrick: Yeah, I’m like bouncing. I don’t know. Very bizarre.
MTV: What’s your favorite behind-the-scenes “Twilight” story?
Kendrick: Well, one time, we were shooting at the beach, and it was the day I was shooting with Taylor [Lautner], who plays Jacob. I guess he’s this incredible martial artist, and he was talking about how he can do a standing backflip. I think it was Justin [Chon] who dared him to do it. But I was convincing him not to do it, because I’m like, “You’re going to break your neck!” He kept saying, “Oh, these boots are kind of heavy,” and he’s not used to doing it in his wardrobe, and I’m like, “You shouldn’t do it, because if you break your neck in front of me, I will just have a stroke!” And I kept trying to get him not to do it, which I think kept egging him on in the long run. After about 10 minutes with Justin telling him to do it, he just busted out a full backflip — just standing there! That was kind of crazy.
MTV: Speaking of accidents, I see a bandage on your arm. What happened to your elbow?
Kendrick: Oh, well, apparently I think I’m an 11-year-old boy. I tried one of those — wow, this is so embarrassing — a friend of mine got a rip stick, and we were trying it out, and I just ate it really hard a couple of times. But I took it like a dude and just got back on. It’s one of those skateboards that, like, twists.
MTV: We have a few questions from the Twilighters: If you got so famous that you had to hide, where would you go and what would you bring?
Kendrick: Oh my God. I guess I would go home. I would go to Maine, which is pretty isolated, and I would bring the entire Criterion DVD collection, and, you know, obviously some device for playing it. What else? Oh, one of those nap spa robes from Brookstone. I would just live the rest of my life in the nap robe from Brookstone, watching Criterion DVDs.
MTV: Kellan Lutz loves Runts. Do you have a favorite sweet?
Kendrick: Runts? [Laughs.] Oh, I thought you meant puppies! Wouldn’t that be adorable though? I bet you he does. I’ll bet he’s the kind of guy that likes runts. No, I think he has a big dog, actually. I have such a sweet tooth, it’s awful. There is a chain of [Japanese convenience stores] in California called Famima!!, and they make this really bizarre thing that I tried. It’s a banana dipped in chocolate that’s wrapped in a pancake that’s covered in banana-flavored whipped cream! It sounds really gross, but it is amazing.
MTV: When the Twilighters find out that you love those, they’re going to mail you, like, 10,000 of them.
Kendrick: Yeah, like Mike [Welch] and his socks ! [Laughs.] I don’t think anyone should send me those things. The banana things are very perishable!
MTV: Last fan question: What is your favorite color?
Kendrick: Oh, man! It can’t be blue. That’s so boring and awful! I’m sorry, but you know, it makes me feel unoriginal. Maybe, no, it is blue. It’s blue!
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