Would somebody give Rebel Wilson a movie role opposite a Hemsworth already?
That’s only one of the stated career goals from Wilson (any Hemsworth will do, she concedes), the Australian actress who’s been taking Hollywood by storm over the past few years with her go-for-broke, scene-stealing stints in a diverse array of films, including “Bridesmaids,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Pain & Gain,” “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” and, of course,
“Pitch Perfect.” Wilson melds the all-out physical comedy of a Chris Farley with the bizarre, off-color non-sequiturs of a Mitch Hedberg, wrapped in a Rubenesque package.
As she returns for “Pitch Perfect 2” to take Fat Amy to new highs, new lows and even a new romance, Wilson held court with the press to break down her comedy instincts, her surprising physical endurance and yes, her need to appear opposite her hunky fellow Aussies in… something!
On developing the relationship between Fat Amy and Bumper with Adam Devine:
Rebel Wilson: Adam and I have had a long history of making out. Actually, before you’d seen us in “Pitch Perfect,” I’d had a cameo on his show “Workaholics.” I didn’t even know him, but the very first scene we did, we made out and he felt me up. Weirdly, we’ve always had this strange chemistry. In the first movie, there was never any subplot that something was going on between us. Of the large ensemble cast, we were just the two that were both writers and improvisers, so we would just always make up this little stuff between us to try to get it in the movie.
That developed into Kay Cannon writing the love storyline for us in the second movie, which is really cool. But a fun fact about that make-out sequence is that they noticed, after filming it, that my pants were actually a bit see-thru. So, a lot of the making out and rolling around on the ground 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-thru pants.
On amping up the film’s physical comedy:
It was very physically demanding, this movie. The first one had a lot of 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, who’s been in a large number of Cirque du 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 skinny-minnies!
It was either I do it, or that wouldn’t be the opening of the movie. So, I chose to do it, even though I’m afraid of heights and not that flexible. I went for it, but it took five weeks. You have to bend your back in really strange ways and hang from your butt. It’s really tricky. Even if you just try hanging upside down, to hold it for more than 45 seconds, you really do have to train for it.
On knowing when to play a scene big and when to pull back for the best comedy effect:
I don’t get a lot of, “Go bigger!” notes. When I first started acting, I was training as a stage actress. And then, when you make the transition to screen, you’ve gotta tone it back a little bit. It’s always a fine balance of getting the right energy.
Sometimes the way I deliver jokes is really low-level because it’s really deadpan. Often, the sound guys are like, “Can she do it again, but on a bigger level?,” and I’m like, “No, because that’s not how I deliver jokes.” I don’t know–It’s just a feeling you get. You want to try to be natural when you’re on screen, especially in films, but you’ve also gotta give it some kind of energy, as well.
On the impact of “Pitch Perfect” on its young female fanbase:
“Pitch Perfect” has such a great girl power message. We’re 10 girls in a group that are all different sizes, nationalities and backgrounds, and yet we come together to create something really great. I have noticed that 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. That inspires them.
Also, in a personal level, I’m all about what’s up here [in the brain] 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 and not look like regular actresses, gives a lot of hope to other girls who are really creative and not necessarily the standard of what some people consider beauty to be.
On the fellow Australian actors she hopes to work with:
I have already tried to work with the Hemsworths, but they’re 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! I recently talked to 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 would be really funny.
On how Australian actors actually do all hang out together in Hollywood:
We do! Sometimes it will be one Australian actor’s birthday, and you’ll go there and it will be all Australians who are actors there. It’s weird. My main base of friends are all Americans. 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 yet per capita, we probably have the most successful actor ratio in our population. It’s weird that we do so well, particularly in Hollywood.
On maintaining a fitness level that satisfies her:
I am larger than most actresses, but I would never want to promote being unhealthy. But, you have to have so much stamina. When I work, I work 16 hours a day. On “Pitch Perfect,” we were singing and dancing for 16 hours. It was very physically demanding. So I actually work out five times a week. I have a personal trainer. If you’re not physically strong, you can’t have that energy on set all day.
There’s so much that we did for the movie that you don’t see. At the camp retreat, there were so many physical stunts that you don’t even see. I think actresses can be all different shapes and sizes, but you have to view it as a profession. As an actor, your body is one of your big tools, so you’ve gotta be fit, in that sense.
On whether she shares Fat Amy’s innate sense of confidence:
No, I was very shy, as a child–bordering on social disorder! I was very intellectual. I was lucky to be good at schoolwork, but that didn’t make me the coolest. I remember reading somewhere where it said, “If you don’t change your personality by age 15, that’s the personality you’re going to be.” I was the girl who would get very red-faced, if I had to answer a question in class, or that kind of thing. And then, I thought, “You know what? I’ve just gotta get over myself. I can be like the other popular girls. I just need to push myself a little bit.”
I just started doing debate in high school, or public speaking. I would literally force myself to do it, to get over my shyness. The good thing about being shy, as a child, is that you become very observant. Because you’re not actively participating, you’re sitting back watching everyone, and I think that’s really helped me, as an actress. I’m good at observing people, and then copying them for comic effect.
‘Pitch Perfect 2’ opens in theaters May 15, 2015.
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