So, recently I got to attend a early press screening of Pitch Perfect 2 and attend the press junket. If you weren't planning to see it this weekend, here are five reasons you should.
Anna Kendrick's character takes a bit of a step back in the sequel, but this isn't a bad thing as it allows for the rest of the cast to have more time to shine. While I thought that newcomer Hailee Steinfeld was a refreshing highlight, the person that really stuck out to me this time around was Rebel Wilson.
If you were a fan of the first movie, you were probably just as blown away with Rebel's character as much as I was. She's relatable to body image-conscious girls everywhere. While I would never have considered myself 'fat' or 'overweight' back in my school days, I certainly wasn't as skinny as some of my other girlfriends. And let me tell you, they made sure I knew it, too. Girls, even those that called themselves friends, always called me names behind my back. One day, I decided to get ahead of the name calling and started nicknaming myself 'fatty'. So you can imagine when Rebel Wilson's character came on screen and called herself 'Fat Amy' for the first time how much I immediately loved and related to her character.
Rebel dove into this idea at the junket, explaining that
Pitch Perfect obviously has such a great girl power message. We're ten girls in a group, we're all different sizes, nationalities, all different backgrounds, and yet we come together to like create something really great. And I have noticed I have a lot of young female fans, and I think what they're tapping into is that Fat Amy, and obviously myself, are very confident in our own skins and that kind of inspires them. Also, I guess on a personal level I'm all about what's up here [points to head] not necessarily what's on the outside. I think that's a really good message, especially for young girls to hear.
*Possible spoilers ahead. Read with caution*
Fat Amy is great because she breaks so many gender stereotypes, and does it in a relatable way, with humor. In Pitch Perfect, Fat Amy is a independent girl who doesn't need to be tied down and that's still exactly who she is in Pitch Perfect 2. She's still messing around with the adorkable Bumper, who accepts her for exactly who she is. Fat Amy soon finds herself conflicted between her wild nature and her feelings for him. When asked at the junket about their possible budding romance, this is what Rebel had to say:
"Adam and I have a long history of making out... Um actually, before you'd seen us in Pitch Perfect, I cameo'd on his show, Workaholics, and on the very first scene... We made out and he felt me up... We always had this strange chemistry, and in the first movie there was never any sub plot that something was going on between us. We were just of the large ensemble cast, we were just the two characters that were both writers and improvisers, and so we would always just sort of make up this stuff between us and try to get it in the movie and that developed in Kay Cannon writing in a love story for us in the second movie, which is really cool."
Rebel hasn't just broken gender stereotypes in the Pitch Perfect movies alone, she's also broken them in an industry dominated by one's physical appearance and the intangible "right" sort of look or body type. It hasn't always been easy for her. Upon occasion, it's even put her in a dangerous position because, along with being one of very few curvy actresses in Hollywood, there are also no stunt doubles of her size. In one of the opening scenes, Rebel actually had to pull off an incredibly physically demanding stunt while being suspended in the air.
For the aerial stunt sequence in the beginning I trained for 5 weeks with my coach, Alicia. She's been in a large number of Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas. And I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but if I couldn't do it, they couldn't get a stunt double that's my size to do it. They're all, like, skinny minnies, and so it was either I do it or it doesn't [happen]. That's not the opening in the movie. So I chose me doing it, even though I'm afraid of heights, and not that flexible! I decided, yeah, I'm going to go for it.
I always imagined that if I ever became an actress, I'd pull off my own stunts, but it's one thing to think and another to actually do. Especially when you're afraid of heights. So can we just take a moment to applaud Rebel Wilson on her bravery because that scene was hilarious and it wouldn't have been the same without her pulling that stunt.
Along with the five weeks of training and stunts, acting in the Pitch Perfect series is just a very physically demanding job in itself. Yet another stereotype that Rebel breaks: Just because a person is heavyset doesn't mean they can't be physically strong or fit. When asked about how she keeps on the weight after so much physical training and 16 hours of singing and dancing, Rebel's reply was inspiringly funny:
It's actually surprisingly easy! [Laughs] Did you see the brownies out there? No, you're right. Obviously...I am larger than most actresses but I would never want to promote being unhealthy, but you have to have so much stamina because when I work, I work 16 hours a day. On something like Pitch Perfect, you're singing and dancing for 16 hours. It's very physically demanding. So I actually work out five times a week with my personal trainer because if you're not physically strong, you just can't have that energy on set like that all day. And there's so much you don't see that we did on set for the movie like at the camp retreat. There is so much physical stunts and stuff that you don't even see. I just think that actresses can be all different shapes and sizes but it is a profession and as an actor you body is kind of one of your big tools. So yeah, you gotta be fit in that sense. But oh yeah, I eat a lot of dessert. Especially after work. So I haven't had a problem with losing too much weight. [laughs again]
She's certainly in way better shape than I am! I work out maybe once a week and at a glance people would consider me 'healthy', even though I, too, really love brownies.
But all that singing and dancing for 16 hours a day paid off, because Rebel has one of the best solo scenes in the entire movie. It had me laughing so hard I was snorting (which is embarrassing to do in the middle of a theater). And while the rest of the movie, and cast, is side-splittingly funny, it's Rebel who steals the show. Keep on being aca-mazing, Rebel.
Be sure to check out Pitch Perfect 2 in theaters today!