After years in front of the camera, Elizabeth Banks, is finally the boss. The 40-year-old Hunger Games star is making her directorial debut with next summer’s highly-anticipated sequel to Pitch Perfect.
Given all the musical numbers, dancing, and other moving parts required for the follow-up to the cult-favorite acapella singing comedy, she admitted to Yahoo Movies, “it was a very ambitious endeavor for a first timer.
With the cameras freshly finished rolling – production wrapped about a month ago – here’s what we learned as we grilled her on Pitch Perfect 2, due in theaters on May 15, 2015.
1. Were you nervous when your alarm went off on the first day of shooting?
Oh, no. I was excited. I was so ready to get started.
2. Did the actors treat you differently than they did during the first movie?
It was pretty clear I was the boss during prep. … My expectations for working with actors comes from my many, many years working with many, many different actors, so I think I actually had a leg up being an actor myself. I know all the tricks and hopefully, I was helpful to my fellow actors.
3. The first movie stands alone so well – why make a sequel?
The only reason ever to make a sequel is to spend more time with the characters that people love, to tell more of their story. And I love the Barden Bellas.
4. Where are the girls when we first see them? Are Beca and Jesse still together?
I won’t say anything about that relationship, but the girls are now graduating seniors. They’re coming to the end of their time as Bellas and figuring out how to sort of leave the next and the comfort of each other’s friendship and figure out what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.
5. There’s been a ton of talk of cameos – what can you reveal about some of them?
Some great, true acapella groups like Pentatonix and the Filharmonic, Penn Masala, I can confirm are all in the movie and they’re amazing. They do all their own singing and dancing. It’s all about authenticity in the acapella world. We really want to honor that and honor the people who are really doing it out there who we’re inspired by when we make the movie.
6. “Cups” turned out to be a huge breakout hit from the first movie. Is there anything in the sequel you think could take off like that?
“Cups” was like lightning in a bottle. It was a really authentic phenomenon that came from people through enjoyment and love of the movie. If something comes of [the singing and dancing] on the level of “Cups,” that would be incredible but, of course, our expectation is just to go out and make a good movie.
If Banks didn’t already have her hands full with the movie, she’s working with Doritos for their 2015 Crash the Super Bowl contest. She’s be among the judges selecting 10 fan-submitted 30-second Super Bowl commercials that will be posted online for a fan vote. The winner gets $1 million, with their ad airing during the big game, and a job with Universal (possibly even working with Banks herself). The actress assured us she won’t be swayed by entries pandering to her aca-awesome sensibilities, but is looking for “an element of surprise.”