Anna Kendrick provided some comic relief as Bella Swan’s ditzy BFF in the “Twilight” series. Then the 24-year-old actress outshone many of her tweentastic peers in a possibly career-making turn as smart, driven Natalie in “Up in the Air.” Her performance earned her Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Screen Actors Guild awards and Golden Globes. There’s a chance an Oscar nod could be in her future.
Kendrick began starring on Broadway when she was just 14 years old and became the second youngest person to be nominated for a Tony. She nabbed a Best Debut nomination at the Indie Spirit Awards for the movie “Camp” and another Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Rocket Science” when she was 22.
Speakeasy caught up with Kendrick after the Golden Globes to get a recap, hear about coming projects, and to talk about George (Clooney) and Robert (Pattinson). Although Mo’Nique walked off with the award, this girl’s got our vote for Best Chance at Winning More Awards in the Future.
The Wall Street Journal: Congratulations on all your accolades including your Golden Globe nomination. Was this your first time at the Globes?
Yes, it was my first time. It was a little scary, I was seated less than two feet away from Meryl Streep.
Did you talk to her?
No, actually. There are certain people that I don’t talk to, and she’s one of them. Jane Fonda, Paul McCartney, Meryl Streep are among the people I’ve been offered introductions, but I don’t want to meet them unless I get to work with them. I wouldn’t know what to say! Those are the type of people that stay your heroes. I haven’t met Julianne Moore [also a nominee for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe] yet either, and I’m afraid of meeting her as well; I’ve idolized her for so long.
Any funny moments from the awards?
I ran into Lea Michele from “Glee” in the bathroom and she approached me, and I only realized then that we knew each other before. She was in “Ragtime” when I was in “High Society” on Broadway.
You started off on Broadway. Did you know you wanted to go into films then?
Film was never anything that I was actively pursuing, but it seemed silly not to audition for both film and theater roles. My first movie actually came out of my direct involvement with “High Society.” Randy Graff was in the show with me and her brother Todd Graff was the director of “Camp,” and she suggested that film.
By the way, you are #22 on IMDB Pro’s Starmeter, that’s above both your co-stars George Clooney and Vera Farmiga. What do you make of that?
[Laughs] The Starmeter is so misleading, I think it’s more about people who are new. It’s more like how many people went out to see a movie and went home and had to Google you.
How’d you pick your one-shouldered Marchesa dress for the Globes?
I have a stylist right now and for the Globes, I brought my two friends over and we had beer and pizza while I tried on dresses. I came out of the dressing room with that one and it was one of those moments that you just knew it was the one. Of course it was made for a nine-foot model [Kendrick is 5’1.5″], so there was this pool of fabric at my feet.
What do you think of Mo’Nique and her acceptance speech?
It’s incredible. Vera Farmiga was like ‘I want her to have her own church.’
How did you react to Jason Reitman winning best screenplay?
I was so happy for him. He deserves it 100%. I couldn’t ask for a better director. Your three leads don’t get nominated by accident, no matter how talented they are.
Jason Reitman did that viral video slicing up the press tour for “Up In Air.” It’s pretty manic. Is that how it’s been for you?
[Laughs] Yeah, it makes it look more like a whirlwind, but the thing that’s interesting for me is finding out how tedious it can be. It’s funny how slow it feels when you’re doing it. And I just feel so badly because I’m so sick of talking about myself.
Not only did you star in two very different, and very successful, films this year, but the characters you play are pretty much the opposite. What was it like to go from one to the other, especially since you were in production at the same time?
It was like coming up for air when I got to take a break from Natalie [in Up in the Air] and play Jessica [in “Twlight”] because Natalie’s so rigid. It was tough to play Natalie while Jessica’s really fun. Natalie was fun too, but I had to be more controlled.
Who are you more similar to?
[Laughs] Well, they’re not good characters to have to choose from. I suppose Natalie – I’m not as icy as Natalie, I hope, but I can be controlling.
You’re pretty funny in both movies as well – do you consider yourself a comedian?
What’s great about these characters is that they aren’t intentionally funny , so it’s easier – there’s less pressure to be the funny one. I don’t know how funny I am in real life. I’m pretty awkward, which helped.
What’s your favorite line from “Up in the Air”?
When I call George Clooney a 12-year-old.
I know everyone asks, but how was working with George? Did he treat you like a kid or like a peer?
George made fun of me a lot. I think if George isn’t making fun of you it’s a bad sign.
What’s next for you? What sort of films or roles are you looking forward to?
I’m excited at the idea of a role that’s softer and more vulnerable after playing Natalie, and I think my character in this next project is more unsure of herself. I’m going to be in this dark comedy with James McAvoy and Seth Rogan.
Wow, you’ve had some great luck with your male co-stars.
I’ve definitely had some eye candy. The entire “Twilight” set is eye candy, almost to the point that you feel bad about yourself.
I loved that you pitted Robert Pattinson and George Clooney against each other. How did Pattinson react after Clooney sent him that Esquire cover that said “Dear Rob: Thanks for all the inspiration. I’m a huge fan. Love, George (two-time Sexiest Man Alive)”?
I think Robert was just relieved that George thought it was funny. He was hesitant to do it because he was afraid that he’ll come off as a jerk. It was my idea to have Robert send George his GQ cover.
So, what’s it like right now? Are you still as busy as ever?
Every time I think I get a break, I don’t actually get a break. My next film goes into production in February, but there’s a lot to do with all the awards shows. Hopefully I’ll have time to do laundry at some point.