The Cast of PITCH PERFECT 2 Talk Improv and Comedy
By Ben Kayser, Managing Editor of MOVIEGUIDE®
Movieguide® had the opportunity to hear from the cast of PITCH PERFECT 2, bringing back the a cappella college group the Barden Bella’s.
After winning the competition at school three years prior, the Barden Bellas are pulled from tour after an embarrassing incident in from of the President. Now they must compete at the world championship to redeem their name. Elizabeth Banks who produced the first installment stepped up to the directors chair for her feature film debut in PITCH PERFECT 2.
Here’s what some of the stars had to say.
Q: Talk to us about what it was like to have Elizabeth Banks as a director.
Ben Platt: She’s wonderful. It is kind of a lovely progression because in the first film she was so much our champion, so involved in getting the film made in the first place. So having her step into that director role felt very natural to us, and to have someone who is a peer but also respects us made us feel comfortable to do our best work.
Skylar Astin: She has become a good friend to us, and that could be worrying because that informality could become a problem, but she commands so much respect, so you never worry with Elizabeth. She is just the perfect person in the perfect place, and I think she is just going to go on to direct many films.
Q: I was wondering if there was anything you discovered about your characters this time.
Ben Platt: I think for me, because Benji is such a character in the first film, he is sort of this heightened guy. He’s got his magic thing and his Star Wars thing. He still has his quirks, but that is not the entirety of his character. So [he is] a guy who loves a girl and wants to impress her. I think Kay [Cannon] gave us such a platform to play beautiful people not just funny characters.
Skylar Astin: There was a storyline that was shot between Jesse and Beca that they did not end up [using], and that is very telling in the evolution of Jesse. I don’t want to say it, because they may use it another time, number 7, Pitch 7. I will say that Jesse became successful in what he was trying to do in the first film.
Q: Could you talk about the improv in this film, and if there were times that you couldn’t stick to the script because the improv was just that good?
Ben Platt: Definitely lots of improv in this film, and that was another great thing about having Elizabeth as a director, because of her comedic background in films… We all felt we were comfortable to do our own thing. When you work with Rebel Wilson, it is a little intimidating because she is a wonderful improviser, but this time we all felt confident to throw our hats in the ring and do our lines as well.
Q: Hailee (Steinfeld) can you talk about discovering your singing voice? What was the first time singing in front of people like?
I don’t really look at it as a matter of hiding it or keeping it. It’s something that I’ve loved doing always. I was just looking for the right opportunity to explore it. When this came along, I was able to find that in this. The first time I sang live in the movie was when I sing live for the Bellas when I audition for them. The first you [as the audience] will hear me singing live, is the first time I sang live.
Q: Was there much room to do improv?
Hailee Steinfeld: From an outsider’s standpoint, the other girls had it down the second time. There were statements made in the first movie that come back in the second movie and they all picked up on the banter. It’s so real and genuine and spontaneous. For me, my character is good at going with the flow. In terms of improv, it was fairly easy.
Brittany Snow: On this one, Elizabeth Banks gave us the freedom to try things out even if they didn’t work. She knew that the more time given for improv, the more little things could be picked up along the way. There was a lot more improv on this one. You got the sense that we tried new things and felt safe with each other. There was a collaborative atmosphere this time around – there was in the first one too, but we knew each other’s comedy so well and had the chance to play.