Anna Kendrick is a breath of celebrity fresh air. Instead of humblebrag #nomakeup selfies, her Twitter account is of full self-deprecating gags. (Like, “I just realised I’m stuck with me my whole life.”) In keeping with her reputation for celebrity realness (she flies economy), when the 31-year-old actress arrives to talk to Time Out about Trolls, the new DreamWorks animation, she’s got a terrible cold and a hacking cough: “I feel like I’m being gross!”
In Trolls you play Poppy, a perky pink princess. Did you worry about girly gender stereotyping?
I know it doesn’t seem in keeping with the trend of stronger females in stories for young girls. But for me, lots of girls are happy and dress in pink and want to be princesses. Yet at the same time they’re fierce and practical. [Poppy has] layers of can-do determination and sass, all within a person who is at her core very positive.
Do you identify more with Becca, your sarcastic character in Pitch Perfect?
Yeah, and I think that oftentimes you bring something of yourself to characters. In Trolls I brought my cynicism and let it poke through. With Becca, I brought my vulnerability.
Talking of trolls, you’re active on Twitter. Have you ever been trolled?
I’ve been unbelievably fortunate. I’ve watched the very moment when a female that I follow becomes the object of a lot of hatred. Zoe Kazan spoke out about a criminal trial in Canada in the most measured way, and it was extraordinary to watch her then become the centre of all this ugliness.
Is there a problem with anonymity on social media that protects trolls?
There’s an argument to made, I feel, that I prefer to know. It’s not as though the internet created these feelings and thoughts. No, people wouldn’t come up and say it in the street. But I feel that I understand the world I live in better. It’s a tough price. And I know that’s easy for me to say, because I haven’t been the target. But my day will come.
Your other current film is a crime drama – The Accountant with Ben Affleck. Did you set out to take on more serious roles?
It felt good to exercise those muscles after doing so much comedy. I love comedy. But I had a great time doing The Accountant. There are aspects of my character that are a little fumbly, but it’s a more serious film, and she’s a more serious person.
Do people underestimate comedy?
I’ve heard actors say, “I’ve done a lot of serious movies recently, so I’m going to do a comedy. Something light.” That’s underestimating the heavy lifting involved. A big emotional crying scene takes it out of you, but sometimes it’s cathartic. With comedy, after 16 hours when you’ve got to do it again, that’s a lot harder.
Who’s the funniest person you know?
Kay Cannon [who wrote Pitch Perfect]. Kay is the reason I did Pitch Perfect. There were a lot of risks, but the script was too good to pass on. She just blows me away.
Trolls and The Accountant are in cinemas now.