Movies

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively face off as best frenemies in A Simple Favour

This chick flick comes with a twist

Anna Kendrick seems the kind of person who's easy to befriend. She's smart, funny, charming and starred in Pitch Perfect.

If that's not enough, your standards are too high.

But in her latest film, A Simple Favour, she finds herself on the wrong end of a one-way friendship.

Anna plays Stephanie, a highly strung blogger who becomes enamoured with the mysterious Emily (Blake Lively).

Desperate to forge a relationship, but wary of Emily's shady past, Stephanie gets caught in an increasingly dangerous game of cat-and-mouse.

Anna, 33, opens up to TV WEEK about her famous friends, secret girl crushes, and why she'd be the worst mum blogger of all time.

Stephanie is drawn to Emily and her husband Sean.
Stephanie is drawn to Emily and her husband Sean.

TV WEEK: Tell us about Stephanie…

ANNA KENDRICK: She's kind of pathetic and lets herself be a doormat. But Paul Feig – the director – encouraged me to find the humour in it, which I think was important. I was worried that Stephanie lets Emily and Sean [Henry Golding] and the mean mums at school abuse her. But Paul really pushed the funny angle, so it was nice to find those comedic moments and be dorky.

On screen, your friendship with Blake is complex because her character is mysterious. What was it like to work through that off screen?

I felt lucky we had a good chemistry and were able to find the right tones for those scenes, because on paper you're seeing this friendship grow, but there's also a toxic undercurrent. I was worried you wouldn't believe that these two women were becoming friends. We had to work hard to make sure it seemed like there was a real warmth and love there amid all the weirdness.

You're close pals with Blake now and friendship is a big part of A Simple Favour. Who are some fantasy friends on your list?

Oh, God – so many people. Right now, Sandra Oh. I just finished [watching] Killing Eve and I want to be her best friend so badly. All the obvious ones – Beyoncé and Rihanna. But I think I might be too dorky to be friends with musicians; they seem so cool. Patricia Clarkson and Viola Davis too… so many girl crushes.

Anna plays at home mum blogger Stephanie.
Anna plays at home mum blogger Stephanie.

Stephanie is a mum blogger, a popular career path these days. Do you fancy yourself as someone who could be a social media star?

I would be the worst video blogger of all time! I just don't have the energy for it. It would just be me, bad lighting, on my couch, no hair and make-up… a disaster! I'd probably end up talking about the wrong things. I was reading about Lyme disease [the tick-borne infection] this morning, so I might do a vlog on that. I don't think I'd get many viewers.

Pitch Perfect remains one of the all-time great musical comedies. What was it that worked so well in the franchise?

I love doing the Pitch Perfect movies [the original 2012 film was followed by Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015 and Pitch Perfect 3 in 2017]. It was also so great to have a cast of so many talented women and be close with them; we became a family. I would love to do another movie that had multiple films, because you get to grow so close to people.

A Simple Favour is in cinemas now.

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