Interview: Rebel Wilson on Pitch Perfect
If you didn’t know she was a famous LA-resident, a screen star and America’s latest comedy ‘it’ girl, you would have glanced over at the blonde 20-something and then walked right on by.
There was no chaos, ‘in your face’ entourage or fanfare. And despite her newfound reputation for being Hollywood’s big, bold and brash funny woman, there were no hilarious stunts or ‘fat girl’ character impressions – only the real Rebel Wilson, back visiting her home town, Sydney, after reaping movie-magic fortune in the US.
“I love being an Aussie over there,” says the self-professed, now well-to-do ‘westie’ and star of the new musical comedy from Universal Pictures, Pitch Perfect.
“I feel like we get special treatment. I don’t know why? Maybe cos we‘re good! I really do feel they’re like ‘Yay. Rebel’s here’ when I’m coming into auditions and stuff because they like Australians…Cos we are good and not divas. And we’re well-trained.”
Donning pink and black Adidas ‘trackie-dacks’ with matching trainers, the Fat Pizza, Bogan Pride and The Wedge comedian sits at a familiar table outside the Australian Theatre for Young People, where she originally trained to be an actress.
Confident yet slightly shy, Rebel relaxes into the ongoing cycle of media interviews to promote her latest role as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect.
“The writer actually sent me the script on Facebook.” Rebel laughs. “I was the first one cast for the film, three months before anyone else. I guess because this role was so specific.
“But a lot of people had seen a lot of raw footage of me from Bridesmaids. So they were considering me for the role and were like ‘come down and audition’ cos then I had to prove that I could sing.”
The musical comically depicts the battle between American college a cappella groups who “make music with their mouths’.
Honing in on the competitive rivalry between Barden University’s aca-male stars, The Treblemakers, and its struggling female aca-group, The Bellas, the hilarious storyline blends your typical college film with the X-Factor series and a cynical take of the Miss Universe contest.
The film is based on the book, Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Capella Glory but you can thank choreographer, Aakomon Jones (who works with Usher) for the film’s wicked dance moves, and both screenwriter, Kay Cannon (30 Rock), and director, Jason Moore (Avenue Q), for its irreverent humour.
Take, for example, Rebel’s character ‘the best singer in Tasmania’, who named herself Fat Amy “so that twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back”.
Not your typical member of The Bellas, Fat Amy is an impressible Aussie who’s sure she’s a singing sensation, hates participating in cardio, and is a dab hand at both horizontal running (done lying down) and mermaid dancing (again, movements done on the floor to resemble the fish swimming).
“This was probably my favorite [film] out of the ones I have done because I guess it was three months filming in Louisiana and I loved it down there.”
“There were times when we had very long days singing and dancing but it was just so much fun. The cast were all a similar age, we all hung out and it was really good. We have reunions all the time with the girls… And not all movies are like that.”
The off-screen camaraderie must have done wonders for the team on-screen. Released in the USA in October 2012, Pitch Perfect has gone gangbusters. The $US17 million movie has already grossed $US62 million in the USA alone and after eight weeks, was still in cinemas. Its YouTube trailer has racked up five million hits and over 20,000 likes.
“I’m very happy about that because I think I sort of headed the publicity campaign for the movie in America. It was the first time I had that responsibility and it’s done so good. So like, yeahhh…”
This article first appeared in IF Magazine issue #150