movies: Rebel Wil­son on song in Pitch Per­fect

Rebel Wil­son is back on song in Pitch Per­fect, writes Ross Pur­die

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.

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