movies: Rebel Wilson on song in Pitch Perfect
Rebel Wilson is back on song in Pitch Perfect, writes Ross Purdie
IT’S hard to accuse Australian comic Rebel Wilson of getting too big for her boots. Dressed down in a tracksuit, the Hollywood actress is reminiscing about her days as a struggling student.
‘‘This is where I had my first acting classes,’’ she says, gazing around Sydney’s Australian Theatre for Young People.
‘‘I remember I was pretty crap at first. I’d go all red in the face trying to do my scene . . . at least I’ve improved.’’
A rapid trajectory has taken Wilson from TV credits in SBS comedies Pizza and Bogan’s Pride to international box office smashes Bridesmaids and The Bachelorette.
Her plus-size figure has made her an instantly recognisable star, but not everyone knows where she is from. All that will change after Pitch Perfect where, for the first time, Wilson plays an Australian. ‘‘A lot of people thought I was British after Bridesmaids came out,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s cool to be Australian because you just can improvise and say whatever . . . and I like it because Americans love us and they love seeing Australian characters. It’s great to be setting that up for other Aussie actors.’’
As well as setting a path for Australian actors in Hollywood, the 26-year-old is doing big things for the debate around body shape.
Her character calls herself Fat Amy ‘‘so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back’’ but other than the occasional one-liner (‘‘I’m going to finish you like a cheesecake’’), Pitch Perfect doesn’t focus on size.
Instead, the Glee- inspired comedy is centred on the competitive world of a capella singing, pitching groups against each other in a hilarious musical face-off.
Also starring Twilight’s Anna Kendrick and comedian Adam DeVine, the film boasts a brilliant soundtrack sung entirely by the cast.
Learning to deliver technical 10-part harmonies while dancing at the same time offered Wilson her most challenging but rewarding role to date.
‘‘In most of the songs you’re not singing the same as anybody else,’’ she says.
‘‘You might be singing and doing these smooth dance moves . . . so it’s very complicated to keep your rhythm while dancing to the melody. Add in high heels and it can really play with your mind.’’
The physical nature of performance demanded hours of rehearsals under the supervision of choreographer Aakomon ‘AJ’ Jones, who developed Justin Bieber’s dance moves.
Wilson – who lost 15kg during her time as a Jenny Craig ambassador – had to be mindful of not pushing herself too hard, with producers demanding that she not shed any more weight.
‘‘What’s standard in movies is that you can’t change your physical appearance once you’ve started,’’ Wilson says.
‘‘I guess they loved me how I was when they casted me. I loved playing this character so I was fine to stay how I am.’’
Pitch Perfect opens today
Rebel Wilson and Anna Camp in Pitch Perfect.