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December 15th, 2018

Rebel Wilson Interview, Pitch Perfect 2

Rebel Wilson reprises her role as Fat Amy, the larger than life, super-confident singer in “Pitch Perfect 2,” the follow-up to 2012’s global hit about the Barden Bellas, the lovable misfits with the signature vocals, style and attitude who became the first all-female group to win a national title. Three years later, the three-time defending champs find themselves banned after a scandal threatens to derail their last year at Barden, and they worry that this time they’ve lost their harmony for good. With one chance to redeem their legacy, the Bellas fight for their right to win the World Championships of A Cappella in Copenhagen.

At the film’s recent press day, Wilson talked about her strange chemistry with Adam DeVine and their cool love storyline, how her see-through pants sabotaged their seven-minute make-out session, the challenging physical demands of the sequel and how she managed to sing while paddle boarding, why it’s easy to maintain her weight despite the intense training, how she toned back her delivery after transitioning from stage to screen, what it was like shooting in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, why “Pitch Perfect” has such a great girl power message, and her upcoming projects: “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Private Benjamin.”

Check it all out in the interview below:

QUESTION: I enjoyed seeing Fat Amy sing while paddle boarding. Was that hard to do?

REBEL WILSON: I had to really hold my core because I was standing up. I didn’t want to fall in the water, because then it’d take two hours to reset hair and make-up and I’d have to do it all again.

Q: What about your make-out session with Adam DeVine? Was it awkward and hard to keep a straight face with that?

WILSON: Adam and I have had a long history of making out. Actually, before you’d seen us in “Pitch Perfect,” I cameod on his show, “Workaholics,” and on the very first scene we did – I didn’t even know him — we made out and he felt me up. So really, we’ve always had this strange chemistry. In the first movie, there was never any subplot that something was going on between us. We were just part of a large ensemble cast. We were just the two characters that had a strong [connection]. We were both writers and improvisers, so we would always make up this little stuff between us and try to get it in the movie. Then, that developed into Kay Cannon writing the love storyline for us in the second movie, which was really cool. But, a fun fact about that make-out sequence is that they noticed after filming that my pants were actually a bit see through, so a lot of the making out and rolling around on the ground and stuff had to be cut. We actually went for about seven minutes because we were going for an MTV Award Best Kiss. It’s all about the trophies. And it had to be majorly cut down because you could see my underwear through the see-through pants.

Q: The level of the stunt work in this has been raised for the sequel. What was that experience like for you?

WILSON: It was very physically demanding for this movie. I mean, the first one we had a lot of dancing and high energy choreography, but this one really was something else. For the aerial stunt sequence in the beginning, I trained for five weeks with my coach, Alicia. She’s been in a large number of Cirque de Soleil shows in Las Vegas. 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 that does it. They’re all like real skinny minnies. So, it was either I do it or that’s not the opening of the movie. I chose me doing it, even though I’m afraid of heights and not that flexible. I decided I was going to go for it and it took five weeks of stretching. You have to bend your back in really strange ways and hang from your butt for the one after I do the death drop where I’m hanging like that. It’s really tricky. Just try hanging upside down, to hold it for more than 45 seconds, is pretty [difficult]. You really do have to train for it.

Q: Since your trademark is now being a big, voluptuous woman and you may have to train a lot, how do you keep the weight?

WILSON: It’s actually surprisingly easy. Obviously, I’m larger than most actresses, but I never want to promote being unhealthy. You have to have so much stamina. When I work, I work 16 hours a day. On something like “Pitch Perfect,” you’re singing and dancing for like 16 hours. It’s very physically demanding. So I actually work out five times a week. I have a personal trainer, because if you’re not physically strong, you can’t have that energy on set all day. And there’s so much that you don’t see that we did in the movie. Like at the camp retreat, there’s so much physical stunts and stuff that you don’t even see. I just think that actresses can be in all different shapes and sizes, but it is a profession, and as an actor, your body is one of your big tools. So yeah, you’ve got to be fit in that sense. But I eat a lot of dessert, especially after work, so I haven’t had a problem with rapidly losing too much weight.

Q: Do you ever get a note from a director to “go bigger” or do you always know where to start to make the comedy work?

WILSON: No, I don’t get a lot of “go bigger.” When I first started acting, I was a stage actress and training as a stage actress. And then, when you make the transition to screen, you’ve got to tone it back a little bit. So, it’s always this fine balance about getting the right energy. Sometimes the way I deliver jokes is really low level because it’s really deadpan, and I’ll just through something at that level. Often the sound guys will go, “Could you do it again but at a bigger level?” And I’m like, “No, because that’s not how I deliver the jokes.” This is a weird technical thing. Sorry. But I don’t know, it’s just a feeling you get because you want to try to be natural when you’re on screen, especially in films, but then you’ve also got to give it some kind of energy as well.

Q: How was Denmark? Did you have the opportunity to do something fun and visit some interesting sites over there?

WILSON: You know what, we didn’t actually go to Copenhagen for the World Championships. That’s movie magic. We actually were in New Orleans’ French Quarter to do the scene where we’re like we’ve arrived in Denmark. And the finale was actually shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 110 degree heat. We shot a whole week of that and I lost 10 pounds in sweat just in that week because we did the routine about a hundred times. It’s about a four-minute routine. I was sweating like a bush pig that day. It was really bad. They had huge industrial fans, hand held. They were about that big. They would just blow you after the routine so that your make-up wouldn’t go everywhere.

Q: Have you been to Germany?

WILSON: Yeah. I was just in Berlin two days ago.

Q: What did you think of the portrayal of the Germans in the movie?

WILSON: When we did a fan screening, I said to the Germans, “I hope you enjoy the accurate portrayal of Germans.” Obviously, it’s a bit stereotypical but they’re such good writers. The reason why the German team was chosen is because we had so many fans from Germany. It was one of the biggest territories in the first film. So, it was a compliment actually.

Q: You’re always a joy to watch on screen. I’m wondering if young girls come up to you and tell you that you inspire them to do more?

WILSON: I think that “Pitch Perfect” obviously has such a great girl power message. We’re ten girls in the group. We’re all different sizes, nationalities, all different backgrounds, and yet we come together to create something really great. 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 skin and that inspires them. Also, I guess, on a personal level, I’m all about what’s up here and not necessarily what’s on the outside. I think that is a really good message, especially for young girls to hear. The fact that someone like me from the western suburbs of Sydney could become an actress in movies who didn’t look like a regular actress, and that I can make it I think gives a lot of hope to other girls who are really creative and don’t necessarily follow the standard of what some people consider beauty to be.

Q: One of my favorite scenes is when you’re rubbing off the confidence.

WILSON: (laughs) Anna Kendrick loved that.

You’re obviously very confident yourself. Have you always been so confident?

WILSON: No, I was very shy as a child, bordering on social disorder. I think I was very intellectual. I was lucky to be good at schoolwork and stuff, but that didn’t make me like the class. I remember reading somewhere where they said if you don’t change your personality by age 15, then that is the personality that you’re going to be. I really was the girl that would get very red-faced, like if I had to answer a question in class or that kind of thing. And then, I thought, you know what, I’ve just got to get over myself. I can be like the other popular girls. I just need to push myself a little bit. I started doing debating and public speaking in high school where you’d have to talk, and I would literally force myself to do it, to get over my shyness. The good thing about being shy though as a child is that you become very observant because you’re not really actively participating. You’re sitting back watching everyone. I think that’s really helped me as an actress because I’m good at observing people and then copying them for comic effect.

Q: Are there any Australians here in Hollywood that you’d like to work with like the Hemsworths or Jai Courtney?

WILSON: Oh yeah, I already tried to work with the Hemsworths. They’re like really busy. I’m like, “Guys, we’re all Australians. Can’t you just not do the other “Hunger Games” and do a movie with me?” That’s not even a joke. I have tried. You know who I talked to recently? Russell Crowe. I think he’s a really good actor. I’ve made terrible jokes about him in the past, but he still likes me. I’d love for him to play my dad in something. I think that’d be really, really funny.

Q: Is it a myth that you guys all hang out together?

WILSON: We do. I mean, sometimes there will be like one Australian actor’s birthday, and then you go there and it’ll be just all Australians there who are actors and it’s weird. Although my main base is all Americans. All my friends are. I mean I left Australia. I can’t just hang out with Australians all the time. I do find it weird that Australia is a relatively small country compared to everybody else and that yet per capita we have probably the most successful actor ratio to population. It’s so weird that we do so well particularly in Hollywood.

Q: You live in Los Angeles now. How has that transition been for you? Do you miss home and do you get to go home often?

WILSON: I do miss Australia. I try to go back obviously, at least for Christmas, because that’s the best time of year in Sydney. But I get so busy now in America. Between working as an actress and a writer, I work every day. So I try to get back there. But I’ve always loved America and obviously always wanted to work here, so I’m culturally I think very American. I just love L.A. I love that I get to live here.

Q: Do you drive?

WILSON: Oh yeah, of course. Sydney is just like L.A. where you have to drive everywhere. You don’t get on the train. So I just love it. I bought my first property now in L.A. I’m really making it a cool home base.

Q: Now that you’re a homeowner, do you miss your roommate?

WILSON: Matt? (Matt Lucas) Yeah. I’m still at Matt’s because I’m renovating my new home. But yeah, I will miss him and I think he’ll miss me a bit. He’s like an older brother. He’s coming over for sleepovers and stuff.

Q: You’re in “Kung Fu Panda 3.” Are you doing the voice of one of the pandas?

WILSON: Yeah, I’m a new panda in that. My character is called Mae Mae.

Q: Are you recording right now?

WILSON: Yeah. I’m actually doing another session on Wednesday, but most of it is done.

Q: Is it an Australian panda?

WILSON: No, American. I have an American accent.

Q: I really want to see you in “Private Benjamin.” What is the status of that?

WILSON: “Private Benjamin” is still in development, and we’re looking for the right director right now. Obviously I’m going to get a lot of heat when this movie comes out and crushes it at the box office hopefully in two weeks’ time. So, we’re looking to set that up, but finding the right director is so important, especially because that property is such a beloved property and we want to do it right.

“Pitch Perfect 2” opens in theaters on May 15th.


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