Pitch Perfect 2: Interview with Elizabeth Banks

[Aiden Perrins and Krystyna King]

Pitch Perfect 2 is the much anticipated sequel to the 2012 acappella musical comedy. With huge appreciation towards NBC, Trident Media were invited to Claridge’s hotel in London, along with other budding journalists, to interview Elizabeth Banks about her directorial debut film.

The predominantly female cast in a coming-of-age movie leads to comparisons with 2004 teenage hit Mean Girls. And let’s be honest, it’s probably just as quotable!

The synopsis from IMDB says: “After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has never won in order to regain their status and right to perform.”

This is an underdog film, similar to the first, but everything is bigger, better and bitchier.

Banks acknowledges that it is rare to have a comedy led by females, however, she says it’s not a “politically feminist statement”. She said:

“We just wanted to make a really funny comedy that happened to be about an all girl group, it was based on a book about the first all girl group to win the National Acappella Championship in America. We started there, we weren’t like ‘let’s make a movie that’s feminist’. That was not the intention of ours, but because we made a movie about a group of women and no one else makes those movies, we are a feminist statement, just by our existence.”

On the subject of women and the appearance of women in films, Banks said: “One of the things I love about this film is nobody apologises for themselves. No one talks about what they look like, there’s no makeover sequence, nobody’s talking about the clothes they’re wearing, they’re just living their life”.

With no one is this more clear than Rebel Wilson’s character ‘Fat Amy’, who is the personification of not giving a flying fire truck of what other people think, as the Aussie oozes confidence on screen.

On the pressure of following up to a surprise hit, Banks said: “My number one goal was not to disappoint the fans of the first film. Also, whenever you make a sequel it is kind of like a referendum on the first film and that movie’s beloved to me as well, I’m very proud of it. It came from my heart and soul. I wanted to protect the legacy of the first film”.

Regarding the subject of a trilogy, she simply said “it’s possible” with a cheeky smile. However, there are currently no plans yet.

When it comes to directing herself on-screen, Banks said: “I like directing myself, I know what I want, I don’t even have to say it out loud. It’s so easy to direct me, and I have a great partner in John [Michael Higgins], he and I are old friends. We toss each other softballs and try to make the crew laugh”.

John and Gail (Higgins and Banks) Photo credit: UPIMedia
John and Gail (Higgins and Banks) Photo credit: UPIMedia

Talking on acappella, Banks draws an unusual comparison to life: “Acappella is a metaphor for life, it requires all the voices to sing in harmony to be at it’s best. It’s a very important message that Beca learns, that you can’t get through life on your own, you need other people. When you look at acappella you literally can’t do that by yourself”.

If you’re reading this for a tip on how to break into the film business, the simple advice from Banks is to move to New York or LA, because that’s where the movie business is.

With exam time coming up, Banks had some great tips for how to deal with stress: “Drink a lot of water; don’t eat salt, avoid all salts; sleep, it’s more important than you realise and don’t party until you’re done with the very last test.” She joked that it’s not just a guide to exams but a “guide to life”.

Banks has had a varied acting career, from roles in The Hunger Games to Catch Me If You Can and The 40 Year Old Virgin. She says this is because: “I don’t want to be bored. I look for stories and characters that interest me. I don’t have an overwhelming desire to challenge myself, but I find it’s down to where I am in my life. It changes, your goals change”.

The selection of songs in this film is more varied than “singing ‘The Sign’ four times,” which they had done in the first. Now with a diverse soundtrack you can’t help but sing the songs for days after viewing, much to the annoyance of your friends and family.

Combined with more electric and brutally honest comedy from commentators the Bardem Bellas, and of course John and Gail (Higgins and Banks), this sequel is definitely worth a watch.

Pitch_Perfect_2_poster

Pitch Perfect 2 will be released on 15th May – We can’t wait!

 

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Pitch Perfect 2: Interview with Elizabeth Banks