Anna Kendrick on Scott Pilgrim, Meeting Edgar Wright, and Surviving the Oscar Gauntlet

anna-kendrick-pilgrim.jpgAfter earning a supporting actress nomination at the Oscars last year for her work in Up in the Air, Anna Kendrick again provides valuable support as part of the ensemble cast of Edgar Wright's hyper-caffeinated comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs the World. So how does the 25-year-old actress feel about shooting her role as Scott's sister Stacey, her part in the upcoming cancer comedy Live With It, and the rigors of an Oscar season she's finally put to bed? She told Movieline.

I've heard that Edgar was a big fan of your work in Rocket Science. Did he get in touch with you based on that?

Yeah, I think so. We had a meeting -- God, it was a couple years ago, now -- and it was actually at 6:30 in the morning before my flight to go shoot the first Twilight film. [Much later], I went in to read for Stacey and got hired. Standard stuff, really.

A 6:30am meeting sounds less than ideal.

Yeah, I was basically falling asleep. It was so early, and food sounded so gross to me, that I thought I was going to throw up at the breakfast table. It went good, though. It was a good enough impression, I guess.

What is Edgar's shooting process like? There are all these brief setups and half-second shots...was it a hectic filming experience?

It was not without its new challenges. [Laughs] It was definitely a way that I'd never worked before, so it was kind of like a trial by fire. You're doing a crash-zoom and by the time that it's, like, the twenty-fifth take, you're getting embarrassed in front of all the other cast members. At one point, Mary Elizabeth Winstead turned to me and said, "Don't even worry about it. This is like a rite of passage. You're not really a Scott Pilgrim cast member until you've done thirty takes of a crash-zoom."

Now, a lot of the actors in the movie spent over seven months training and shooting, but you have a smaller role where you breeze in and out and don;t have to do any fighting. Was your shoot more of an "I'll come in for a few days and eat whatever I want at craft services, la la la" experience?

[Laughs] I came in late and I was definitely nervous about the prospect of feeling like I wouldn't be part of the Scott Pilgrim family. But I was just overwhelmed by how friendly everyone was. It's such a young cast, but I think it's a cast of professionals, so there was no clique atmosphere by any means. These are hard-working actors and actresses, and they were just happy to have some fresh blood.

It's a young cast, and a movie that's perfectly executed for young people who grew up with all these videogame and comic book influences. Do you think older audiences will have any problems with it, though?

Not at all, actually. My mom saw it and she thought it was amazing. I think when people hear "It's a videogame-inspired movie," they kind of bristle, but I don't think that any of the references in the film leave anyone out. Actually, I think people think the movie is more reference-heavy than it actually is, because it's so smart and fast and funny. I'm surprised by how many times people will say, "That part with that thing was so funny, what was that a reference to?" And I'm like, "It wasn't a reference to anything. More importantly, you thought it was funny in the first place, so it doesn't really matter."

Are you the sort of person who catches those references? If there's a Legend of Zelda music cue, will you pick up on that?

No, actually. People talk about these music cues from Sonic the Hedgehog and Legend of Zelda, and I'm in the movie, and I have no idea what song cues they're talking about. It doesn't affect the way I enjoy the film, obviously.

anna-kendrick-pilgrim.jpg

Now, Comic-Con this year...was that your first time going?

It was my first time going and getting to have the full experience. I'd been with New Moon, but that was more of a Twilight-centric thing and we were sort of sequestered in Twilight world. This was the first time I got to go on the convention center floor, which was amazing.

The fans of Twilight and Scott Pilgrim are both very specific about what they want to see adapted onscreen.

Honestly, I think that in both cases, we're lucky to have fans who are happy to get a full twenty minutes in the film to just be kind of referenced. There are certain lines in Scott Pilgrim that don't come from the same scene or even the same character [as in the comic books], but they make sense in the story and I think the fans are the kind of people who will be glad that line or moment got into the movie. They won't be nitpicking, like, "Well actually, that line was in Volume 3, and Envy Adams said it."

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