From The Twilight Saga to Up in the Air, to Scott Pilgrim vs The World and three Pitch Perfect movies, not to mention writing an auto biography with the brilliant name of Scrappy Little Nobody , Anna Kendrick has done a lot in what feels like such a short space of time.
Amazingly though, Kendrick is not a recent name to the world of acting, having made her stage debut at the age of 12, eventually becoming one of Hollywood’s most assured and diverse talents, starring in a range of movies that can go from being funny, to serious, from charming to very R-rated.
Making a considerable mark in Twilight and its sequel New Moon, the moment when everyone seemingly took notice of Maine-born Kendrick was when she threaten to steal Up in the Air from George Clooney and Vera Farmiga. A sophisticated and, in the end, deeply sad comedy drama from Jason Reitman, her complex, layered and upbeat performance was an undoubted highlight of the movie, her protegé/mentor chemistry with Clooney being the source of great character comedy and drama throughout.
Also popping up in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World, the film ended up failing at the box office, but the zany, geek friendly comedy has since become a firm cult favourite, finding a larger audience on Blu-Ray and streaming services.
Straddling the line between mainstream Hollywood and independent, Sundance favourites, Kendrick’s career has seen her go from the incredibly successful Pitch Perfect series (soon to be a trilogy) to lower budgeted gems such as The Last Five Years, a big screen adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical where she shared the screen with Jeremy Jordan, and Drinking Buddies, Joe Swanberg’s relationship comedy-drama where she shared the screen with Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston, while darting over to R-rated comedies and thrillers like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and The Accountant.
While not one to constantly star in big-budget extravaganzas, she has made the leap to bigger budget fare in the odd occasion, with a major starring role in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Into the Woods, which was financed and distributed by Disney, while providing the voices for characters in Trolls and Laika’s wonderful, but very underrated, and ripe for rediscovery, animation ParaNorman.
With a charming persona and an ability to own every scene she is in, Kendrick has become one of the definitive quiet success stories to emerge in Hollywood in the past decade. To go from Twilight, massively successful at the box office but critically slated, to going toe-to-toe with Clooney in an Oscar friendly, sophisticated comedy drama and then headline one of the most popular musical franchises around, is the mark of a real talent.
Her audition scene in Pitch Perfect is one of those “stop what you’re doing” moments that has become all too rare these days, while the complexities of her narrative in Up in the Air shows a talent for comedy and deeply emotive drama.
In a day and age when many performers on-screen fall all too easily into “types” or genres, there is an aura with Kendrick that is almost daringly and wonderfully old-fashioned, an ability to mix and match genres and performing styles that recalls the movie stars of yesteryear; in many of her appearances she has shown an ability to do comedy, drama, to sing and dance, and go toe-to-toe performance wise with some of the biggest names in the business while carrying her own movies.
It’s a mark of a genuine talent and makes one very eager to see what future projects she partakes in.