Ruby Rose swaps high-kicking action for hard-rocking comedy in Pitch Perfect 3
When they called “action” on Pitch Perfect 3, Rebel Wilson took it literally: the Aussie star delivers almost more punches than punchlines in the new movie. And she couldn’t have had a better guide than countrywoman Ruby Rose, who joins the comedy franchise as a rival rock ’n’ roller.
Rose’s big-screen career to date has largely consisted of kicking butt in Resident Evil, xXx and John Wick: Chapter 2. And after a few weeks of Liam Neeson-ing, Wilson saw Rose’s work in a whole new light.
“She was like, ‘I have new respect for whatever it is you’ve done in all those films’,” Rose recalls. “‘Did you do all of that stuff ?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I love it. Do you?’ She was like, ‘Not really’. Cos she’s scared of heights and she had to jump off something. I was like, ‘Well, I was a bit scared of heights too until I did it’.”
Rose stops and laughs at herself: “Every time I say I’m scared of something, the next thing I know I have to do it ... I should stop manifesting that.”
Once Wilson did take the jump, Rose says, “she had a blast”.
“I didn’t really give her tips except to stretch — stretch, take care of yourself and just love it.”
Wilson wasn’t the only one stretching new muscles.
Orange is the New Black provided Rose a tough-girl entree to all those action films;
Pitch Perfect 3 is the first swing in her fight to prove she can do comedy — and music and all sorts of other things — too.
“Pitch is definitely the first big departure towards something entirely different,” she says. “The direction with every script I get is: have I done this before? Is this too familiar? Am I going to learn anything or is this going to typecast me?
“I’m constantly trying to break that mould.”
Pitch Perfect 3 finds the a capella group Barden Bellas on a USO tour of Europe, where their voices struggle to compete against the amplified instruments of a country group, a DJ and anthemic rock band.
Rose is the antagonistic, guitar-slinging frontwoman of the latter, an all-female band called Evermoist. (Rose ordered the name be said only in the most “weird and sticky” way.)
The role came her way after a get-to-know-you lunch with producer Elizabeth Banks.
“It was only at the end that she said, ‘Do you sing?’ I was like, ‘A little bit. I used to sing in church choir and I had a single that I put out in Australia, years ago, that didn’t do anything’. She had a giggle. Then she’s like, ‘Do you play guitar?’ ‘Yeah but not since I was 16 or 17’. She was like, ‘Interesting’.
“I was thinking, ‘Is she going to get me to do the Christmas party?’ I had no idea.”
“IT FEELS RIDICULOUS TO SAY ‘I’M SO BLESSED’; THAT SHOULD NOT BE THE NORMAL”
A few weeks later, Banks called to say she wanted Rose in Pitch Perfect 3. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, bring it on’.”
Rose’s movie band consists of Beyonce’s drummer, Venzella Joy Williams, Prince protégé Andy Allo and Nashville musician Hannah Fairlight.
“I was, ‘Wow, I’m definitely the weakest link, but we could do this thing’,” she laughs.
Rose’s girlfriend, Veronicas singer Jessica Origliasso, knows well the allure of performing on stage. Has Rose caught the bug?
“I don’t think I’ll transfer entirely to being a rock star now,” she replies, “but the adrenaline you get coming off stage after playing to 1100 people is pretty wild. I get why people love doing it.”
Comedy, however, is a path Rose definitely wants to pursue. Keeping pace with Wilson and Anna Kendrick on PP3 made for good training.
“It was difficult — we would do the script and then we’d do one or two takes where it would just be a free for all. Rebel would say something ridiculously amazing and Anna would be so witty and so cutting.”
She reckons she did get some good one-liners in — “Rebel was like, ‘I didn’t know you were funny!’ — but given her character’s “above it all” air, most couldn’t be used.
Rose admires Banks’ rise from actor to writer, director and producer, especially the way she’s used that to “give women strong roles”.
In the wake of the sexual misconduct revelations out of the movie biz this year, women giving each other a hand up can only help “create a different atmosphere”, as Rose puts it.
The 31-year-old Aussie is thankful not to have a #MeToo story to share.
“But it feels ridiculous to say ‘I’m so blessed’, because that shouldn’t be a thing. That (harassment) should not be the normal. I’ve been lucky not just working with a lot of females, which I didn’t realise is as rare as it is, but that everyone I’ve worked with has been so boundaried and professional.
“I feel awful for those who haven’t had that experience. It’s not just film and music and TV — my mum went through it as a teacher, my friend goes through it as a nurse. The only good thing about these horrible stories is it should now break open the conversation in every workplace.”
WATCH PITCH PERFECT 3 OPENS NEW YEAR’S DAY
RUBY ROSE (RIGHT) AND (ABOVE) WITH VENZELLA JOY WILLIAMS, HANNAH FAIRLIGHT AND ANDY ALLO IN PITCH PERFECT 3.