Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Ana Kendrick Story

Anna Kendrick's biggest fear? Being typecast!
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated September 10, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments


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Currently, the perky actress who complained that she once had frizzy hair and crooked teeth when she was in her teens, is providing the voice for Courtney Babcock, an animated character in the 3D stop-motion animated movie ParaNorman.
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“Oh my God, I am shockingly boring and awkward!” exclaimed Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick when the French journalist in our roundtable asked her to describe herself for his readers. Everyone in our table immediately protested because the star who famously ranted against George Clooney in Up in the Air two years ago is by no means boring or awkward. She was lovely and quite adorable, at least.

“From a weird drama student to a 26-year-old boring and awkward, not a huge leap,” she continued her self-deprecating description of herself even if we were all incredulous of her. Anna sensed our disbelief and she offered a new description that we all found rather more apt.

“I guess, I would say, I mean,” she haltingly began again, “I wouldn’t consider myself a boring person per se but I think that people imagine that I am more exciting than I am, probably. I really just, kind of, sit around and watch movies and stuff.”

She is absolutely right to think that people think she has a very exciting life considering how she managed to become the first star from the cast of Twilight to ever receive the ultimate industry recognition when she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her superb turn as an ambitious and motormouthed fresh graduate in Up in the Air.

Since her breakthrough role in the said movie, Anna has appeared in a diverse slate of movies that has highlighted her versatility and commitment as an actor. She sings in the upcoming Pitch Perfect and she appears along with Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon in the drama The Company You Keep, which is currently making its festival debut in Venice alongside the Philippine entry Thy Womb.

“Being in a Robert Redford movie was not ever something I would have ever imagined I could do,” she humbly stated. “I was so thrilled when that opportunity came up. I have a very small part in it but it was just magical and surreal to be on the set with him for a couple of days.”

Currently, the perky actress who complained that she once had frizzy hair and crooked teeth when she was in her teens, is providing the voice for Courtney Babcock, an animated character in the 3D stop-motion animated movie from the creators of Oscar-nominated movie Coraline called ParaNorman, which is distributed locally by Solar Entertainment. It was a conscious decision for her to take on this role because she always wanted to experience working as a voice actor ever since she saw Pixar’sFinding Nemo and found herself being moved by the brilliant turn of comedian Ellen DeGeneres. She also wanted to try as many character types as possible to further enhance her craft specially after all the attention she got during her Oscar run.

“After that time in my life, I was given a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise (received) but in a lot of cases, because Up in the Air was so fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a lot of opportunities to play basically the same character, which I didn’t want to do, and it weirdly took a little while for people to start just thinking of me as just an actress in a movie that they liked instead of as that character.”

For a brief time, Anna rejected a handful of roles because she wanted to avoid the pitfalls of being typecast. “It just felt like I just get offered this kind of thing and if I do that all the time, people will think that I am only capable of doing that thing so it was kind of a tricky moment to navigate.”

So when the offer to play the character in ParaNorman landed on her lap, she immediately liked the idea and agreed to do the movie.

“They want me to play the dumb cheerleading sister and I just love it when people want you to do something you haven’t done before!”

ParaNorman is a horror-comedy movie that tells the story of a young boy named Norman, whose gift of clairvoyance has turned him into an outcast within his family and his small-town community. It’s an entertaining tale featuring some of the funniest ghost zombies ever conceived on screen.

Anna provides the voice of the older sister of Norman and her character would like nothing to do with her weird younger brother and instead pursues every muscled jock that comes her way.

“I saw her on the page and I completely understood what they were trying to do specially when I saw a picture of what she was gonna look like, that really helped, because basically she was so strange-looking, really,” she said of her character. “She’s really lanky and long on top and wide on bottom. She looks like she had just this growth spurt and doesn’t really know where her body is and I liked the idea that her emotions were, like, volatile and dangerous in what looked like a new body.”

Her versatility has allowed her to transition between diverse roles with relative ease.

“I guess I get bored very quickly so I would hate to do the same thing over and over again. Like I think about if I ever did a TV show or something like that — I would have to be really passionate about it because it’s hard, I think, to live in the same world for so long because that’s part of the joy of this job — you get to do all these different things!”

And so after years of living in uncertainty and “not being sure if I was gonna make the rent or, like, I almost had my electricity turned off so many times,” Anna considers herself happy and satisfied with how her career has shaped into.

Yes, Hollywood has been good to her. She may consider herself boring at times but she finds her job nothing but boring. “I find it more fun than challenging,” she beams.

ParaNorman opens Sept. 12 in theaters nationwide.

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