One of many unexpectedly commercial movies–with a sequel opening May 15– is ‘Pitch Perfect,” which came flying out of the head of musical-loving actress-turned-writer Kay Cannon. She lives in the Valley with her husband, surrounded by baby paraphernalia, and is having a blast juggling movies and TV gigs. She turned to writing, as many performers do, when her acting career wasn’t taking off. The Second City improv star was discovered and mentored by Tina Fey on “30 Rock” when she was married to her first husband, “30 Rock” alumnus Jason Sudeikis. She became a co-producer on “30 Rock” as well as the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler screen comedy “Baby Mama.”
When Universal, director-turned-producer Jason Moore and actress-director Elizabeth Banks came to Cannon to pen a “Pitch Perfect” sequel, she jumped at the chance, even though it meant scaling a pretty high bar. (“Pitch Perfect” grossed $115 million worldwide and scored on cable and DVD and soundtrack sales.)
Given that the award-winning a capella group The Barden Bellas were freshmen in the original, Cannon decided to make them seniors who were preparing to move on. Beca (Anna Kendrick) is anxiously moonlighting for a demanding record producer (Keegan-Michael Key). Fat Amy (Wilson), instead of just enjoying randy sex, is coping with an actual relationship with Bumper (Adam DeVine). And new to the mix is a wide-eyed freshman (Hailee Steinfeld) who brings original music to the mix–and helps them rediscover their own sound instead of competing with a show-glitzy Euroband.
The movie is fun and witty and great to listen to –one of the highlights is a five-way a capella competition, see clip and my interview with Cannon below–and should prove a bigger hit than the last.
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Cannon loves juggling both TV and movie projects; she’s a co-executive producer on “New Girl” and is plotting various TV series. “Pitch Perfect 3” is also in the works. And she’s rewriting a project with a friend to direct.
On women in entertainment:
“There seems to be an ignoring of a female demographic. When they’re fans they’re huge, they go. The big hits are movies like ‘Transformers’ with machines and guns and violence and they make huge bank. But we’re learning that you can show another side that also does well and makes huge bank and that should be explored…The ‘Pitch Perfect’ franchise should keep moving the numbers and not take us back to square one when a movie about women bombs. We’re constantly proving ourselves. I hope we are teaching people that the audience has changed.”