There seems to be an interesting phenomenon at play with the new movie Pitch Perfect. You look at the fresh-faced ensemble and you see their past projects: Anna Kendrick‘s Oscar nomination for Up in the Air, Skylar Astin playing Shoshanna’s camp crush on Girls, Rebel Wilson wowing us in scene-stealing roles in Bachelorette and Bridesmaids. The average viewer doesn’t associate any of these people with singing, which makes Pitch Perfect seem like an even more exciting project since there’s the added appeal of watching these actors try to hit the high notes.
That was my first reaction, at least—I came out of the screening wanting to buy the soundtrack, charmed by what great voices these charismatic stars have. Imagine my surprise, then, when I did some research and realized that many of them come from rich musical theater backgrounds.
- Skylar was part of the original Broadway cast for Spring Awakening, yet the only names we really associate with the show are Glee stars Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. Back in 2003,
- Anna was nearly recognizable in the indie movie Camp, where she played the scheming little Fritzi and brought the house down with a rendition of “Ladies Who Lunch.” (Not to mention that she’s the second-youngest actress ever nominated for a Tony Award!)
- And don’t forget that Brittany Snow sang, however briefly, in Hairspray!
It really works in their favor for the studio to downplay their musical theater backgrounds, intentionally or not. Because when you see the movie, it astounds you just how great these actors sound. Take, for instance, “The Riff-Off” where the Bellas go toe-to-toe with the all-male Treblemakers to the tune of “Songs About Sex.” You really get a sense of each of the actors’ strengths: Songwriter Ester Dean kicks things off with Rihanna‘s “S&M,” which she actually co-wrote (!), then Alexis Knapp one-ups the Treblemakers by crooning “I’ll Make Love To You.” And Rebel Wilson as back-up makes me smile each time she joins a song.
And I really can’t stop watching the Bellas remix Bruno Mars‘ “Just The Way You Are” with Nelly‘s “Just A Dream.” It’s the moment where you start to see them really gel as a group. Even though I said that Brittany Snow sings in Hairspray, it’s such a brief part of that movie that it’s really impressive to see her character Chloe take the lead.
The soundtrack comes out October 2nd, and Pitch Perfect hits theaters October 5th! Prepare to get pitch-slapped, in the best way.
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