Australian actress and comedian Rebel Wilson has seen her Hollywood career skyrocket like crazy after her scene stealing turn in “Bridesmaids.” Now she moves up to an even bigger role (figuratively speaking mind you) as Fat Amy in the musical comedy “Pitch Perfect.” Her character loves to sing as much as she hates cardio workouts, and Wilson talked of how she prepared for the role and of the fun things she got to do while making the movie.
Wilson was actually the first actor cast in “Pitch Perfect” as she was contacted by its screenwriter Kay Cannon before anyone else was. She found Cannon’s script to be awesome and hilarious, and upon seeing that her character was named Fat Amy, Wilson told Cannon that she actually played a character named Fat Mandy back in Australia. Suffice to say, Wilson already had some experience here (by her own admission mind you).
For her audition, Wilson sang the Lady Gaga song “Edge of Glory” for the movie’s director Jason Moore, and she ended up doing something which she learned when she played basketball back in high school.
“I had to come in and smash something out with Jason, and he’s the real-deal Broadway director, so I knew I had to impress him,” Wilson said. “I did my own body percussion as a backing beat, and then after, he said, ‘Yeah, you’re a really good singer.’ I didn’t need to sell them on the comedy. They knew I could be funny, but they wanted to see if I could sing.”
“Pitch Perfect” is about an all-girl a cappella group, and it turns out that Wilson was actually part of one back when she was a teenager. The group was called Twelve Boys because, as Wilson put it, there were twelve girls in it (“how original” she added).
“I went to a Christian school and so we’d sing church songs at people’s weddings and funerals and stuff,” Wilson said. “They were kind of really pretty, but we’d have to wear these peasant blouses and these disgusting long velvet skirts. We were 15-year-old girls and we’d have to stand like this, kind of like what we do in the movie in the Ace of Base song. We’d just be belting out these songs in the churches. At least it was good for singing. You got good practice.”
Fat Amy is an American character so Wilson was perfectly fine with learning an American accent for the part. But after four weeks of rehearsal where she and the other actors were singing and dancing for 10 hours a day, Wilson found that she couldn’t keep up the accent and kept slipping back into her own voice. Moore, however, used that to the movie’s advantage.
“I couldn’t keep it up,” Wilson said. “I slipped and started talking in my own accent, and Jason heard me and was like, ‘I want you to use your real voice in the movie.’ I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to do my own voice. I want to be an actor and do acting!’ But, he was like, ‘No, I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be good.’ So, when I was on set, I’d just improvise stuff to make it all fit in.
As for her favorite scene in “Pitch Perfect,” Wilson said it was when she got to sing “Turn the Beat Around” because it was where Fat Amy got to show how awesome a singer she was. Shooting it was really difficult though as filming took place on freezing cold nights in Louisiana, and the actors were required to wear heating pads inside their jackets to keep warm.
“We always thought when you film movie musicals you don’t do the full number full out,” Wilson said. “Jason will cut it up into different shots. But he made us do that number full out about forty times. We were giving it every single take because there was a real crowd there. We didn’t want to bore them so we were really giving it every single take and singing along. But it was just so much fun and we were all working so well together, all of the girls, and the crowd was loving it.”
Some might say that Rebel Wilson’s star in Hollywood is ascending too quickly, but watching her in “Pitch Perfect” proves that she has more than earned her newfound fame. She has already sold a comedy pitch to Universal Pictures for a movie she will write and star in, and up next for her is Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” in which she co-stars with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. We’re going to be seeing a lot of Wilson in the future, and that’s a good thing.
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Sharon Knolle, “Rebel Wilson, ‘Pitch Perfect’ Star, On Singing, ‘Bridesmaids,’ Lingerie and Airport Security,” Moviefone, October 3, 2012.
Laura Aguirre, “Interview: Rebel Wilson on ‘Pitch Perfect,’ Being Funny And The Mermaid Dance,” Screen Crave, October 1, 2012.
Christina Radish, “Rebel Wilson Talks PITCH PERFECT, Her Career Post-BRIDESMAIDS, and Her ABC TV Show SUPER FUN NIGHT,” Collider, September 27, 2012.