Pitch Perfect 3 feels like something of an anomaly. In an age of increasing cynicism, here’s the franchise that dares ask, ‘What if everyone was, just, like, nice to one another?’ They’re the ultimate hang out films, less concerned with plot than in the moment-to-moment interactions of its cast. The best scenes in Pitch Perfect (and Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3) are always just the ‘Bellas’ chatting and laughing with each other.
Sure, there’s a plot to Pitch Perfect 3 – jumping three years ahead, The Bellas are having trouble acclimating to post-college life, aimlessly pursuing unfulfilling careers. When Aubrey (Anna Camp) informs The Bellas of a military singing competition (the winner of which will open for DJ Khaled), it offers an excuse for the crew to reunite and sing one last time. The conflict though comes when Beca (Anna Kendrick) is picked as the opening act sans the rest of The Bellas. In any other film – this would immediately divide the group, any simmering tensions boiling over; but Pitch Perfect 3 actually goes the opposite route – the team immediately supportive of Beca. Instead Beca herself questions whether it’s right to sing without The Bellas backing her up.
Let’s be honest though – the plot is just the connective tissue to see this group of women (Kendrick, Camp, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Chrissie Fit) sing and dance and joke. Sometimes it’s good to see friends just enjoying one another’s company.
In the following interview with Anna Kendrick, she discusses Beca’s arc through the series, how the script for Pitch Perfect 3 changed, and whether the film feels like the appropriate conclusion of Beca’s story. For the full interview, read below.
It’s really good to see a movie where everybody is just nice to one another…
Anna Kendrick: It’s funny because I referenced a movie to Trish [Sie], the director, when she first showed me the script [for Pitch Perfect 3]… Attack the Block. One of things, Joe [Cornish] did that was so smart was that he never had that moment where they’re all on a mission together and then suddenly everybody goes, ‘Well who put you in charge anyway, Moses?’ and they all turn on each other and then they have to come back together to complete the mission. I never like those moments. As a viewer – they feel like total screenwriter-book shit. ‘Heroes Journey’ or whatever. There were a lot of hardcore Pitch Perfect fans online who tweet at me… I did see a couple girls being like, ‘What I didn’t like about the second movie was that they made fun of each other the whole time and were at each other’s throats.’ They’re supposed to be friends. I think conflict should come from outside the friend group not from within. That was something I had lots of notes [for the script] about.
How often do people tweet Pitch Perfect notes to you?
Kendrick: Not all the time, but I’ll be on threads where they’re talking to each other and I’m tagged – so I’ll see it and be like, ‘This seems to be a real issue for our base.’
Do you look at the Pitch Perfect reddit?
Kendrick: Oh no…
Is there even a Pitch Perfect reddit?
Kendrick: One has to assume so, but I would never seek it out because then you’re asking for trouble. You’re asking to see things you don’t want to see. I’ve been very fortunate that generally when people tweet and tag me, they’re saying something at the very least that’s constructive. Seeking that out though seems like a mistake. I don’t want to hear my ear looked weird in a scene.
Was there a moment when you knew that the Pitch Perfect franchise had become a cultural touchstone for people?
Kendrick: There was a moment when Cups was climbing the charts, which is the weirdest fucking sentence I’ve ever said, and Pitch Perfect had just been released on HBO. People had seen it in movie theaters to some degree, but everybody somehow managed to catch [Pitch Perfect] when it was on HBO. The movie wasn’t at the forefront of my mind anymore yet suddenly people were talking to me about it almost every day.