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If you’re one of the many “Pitch Perfect” lovers hoping the sequel will be as aca-mazing as the first film, Elizabeth Banks has your back.

The actress got behind the camera to direct “Pitch Perfect 2” and has been keeping fans in mind as she’s now editing the film ahead of its release next May.

“It’s very exciting — and harrowing, and nerve-wracking,” she laughed. “I really want to put out a great movie that fans love.”

Directing the follow-up to the 2012 musical hit, Banks told CBS News, was “a really amazing experience.”

“I loved working with all the collaborators, from the actors to the screenwriters to the set designer to the [director of photography] — all across the board I just had amazing partners, and it was that collaborative process that was very gratifying,” she said. “And I liked being the boss!”

One of the themes of “Pitch Perfect 2” is the transition from college to adulthood, Banks revealed.

“The first movie was about that transition into college, everybody was an incoming freshman, and now we’re telling a story about that transitional time when you have to leave the nest and planning for your life and what your ambitions are, goals for your future, and having to say goodbye to the friends you made and go out into the big, bad world,” she explained. Singing, naturally, will be involved as well — “While making a lot of music with their mouths.”

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Posted by Claudia on September 13th, 2014

Elizabeth Banks said she loved being a part of the “Hunger Games” franchise.

However, her last day on set was depressing for more than one reason.

“It was a sad day and I wrapped on a day when no one else did,” she told ABC News. “It was really sort of lonely and depressing.”

Still, Banks, who said she “cherished” her character, Effie and the storylines in general, is already onto other projects. For one, she’s helping to judge a Frito-Lay Super Bowl commercial contest, in which filmmakers submit commercials for Doritos. The winner will win a “dream job” with Universal, the studio behind her upcoming film, “Pitch Perfect 2.”

“Everybody has to start somewhere in this business and what I really love about this contest is that they’re gonna really give somebody their start in the entertainment industry,” she said. “I just felt like it was a really amazing opportunity to be supportive of young filmmakers … who want to submit their material and get seen by industry professionals.”

Banks, 40, is taking on new challenges too. The actress is making her directorial debut with “Pitch Perfect 2,” the sequel to the popular 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect.”

“It’s a big responsibility, but I was really excited to take it on and try to do it confidently,” she said. “[The original] was lightning in a bottle and it was such a surprise to see how the movie was received. The whole ‘Cups’ phenomenon was a surprise to all of us. It came from the authenticity of the movie, and this time around we were really aiming to do that again and be pure in our intention to tell more of the story of these characters that people have fallen in love with.”

Two people who aren’t in on the phenomenon are her two young sons, Felix, 3, and Magnus, 1. Balancing her personal life with her career is a goal, Banks said, as is being a role model to her boys.

“I need to get on ‘Sesame Street,'” she said. “They’ll be my biggest fans!”

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Posted by Claudia on September 13th, 2014

Elizabeth Banks has long been an outspoken supporter of women’s rights and general well-being, whether she’s championing heart-disease screenings or simply sharing historical facts about suffrage with her Twitter followers. We spoke with the actress today about her first big directing job on 
Pitch Perfect 2 and a topic so many women are discussing this week: the theft of private photos that impacted several Hollywood actresses, including Elizabeth’s costar in the Hunger Games franchise, Jennifer Lawrence. Elizabeth didn’t mince words when we asked her, as a famous female herself, how she reacted to the news.

“I just would say, firstly, that it’s a criminal act. It’s a total invasion of peoples’ privacy, and whoever perpetrated it should be prosecuted and brought to justice. I’m just hoping that there’s a little bit of justice for all of the victims,” Elizabeth said. “It’s a total violation, and it’s a disturbing violation of women.”

Elizabeth joins many other high-profile — and everyday — women in condemning the nude photo leak. Apple defended the security of its iCloud in a statement about the hack on Tuesday, saying the attacks were carefully targeted and not the result of any breach of its systems, while the FBI continues to investigate. The case is unfortunately not the first of its kind; a man who published private photos of Scarlett Johansson in a similar attack was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012.

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Posted by Claudia on September 4th, 2014

When the latest round of posters for Mockingjay Part 1, the next entry in the Hunger Games series, arrived on the internet, fans were surprised at the presence of Elizabeth Banks‘ character Effie Trinket. Lovers of the books, knowing that Effie is absent for most of Mockingjay, appearing only briefly at the end, wondered why exactly this was.

Well, it turns out that thanks to the sheer popularity of Elizabeth Banks herself, Effie’s presence in the movies has been beefed up significantly. Vulture report that, in an interview with a Hunger Games fan site, director Francis Lawrence spoke about Banks’ expanded role in the upcoming films.

“When [author] Suzanne Collins saw Catching Fire, she called and one of the first things she said was, ‘There’s no way Effie Trinket cannot be in the Mockingjay films.’ Effie brings such warmth and fun and levity to these dark stories. She’s the fish out of water in this one and fans will love how she has adapted to the world of District 13.”

So there you have it. Elizabeth Banks gave a nuanced performance as Effie Trinket in the first twoHunger Games films, and you’re never quite certain what the character is thinking or feeling beneath her airhead exterior. It will definitely be fun seeing her downscale to life in a concrete bunker in District 13.

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Posted by Claudia on August 11th, 2014

Paramount Digital Entertainment announced today their new comedy series “Resident Advisors.” Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect) and Max Handelman (Pitch Perfect) will executive produce through their Brownstone Productions banner, and Ira Ungerleider (“Friends”) has come aboard to shepherd the project as both executive producer and director along with Natalia Anderson who will produce the original comedy series based on a pilot script written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex Reid.

The series will star Ryan Hansen (“Two Broke Girls,” “Burning Love”), Jamie Chung (“Hangover II” & “III,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Alison Rich (College Humor Originals), Andrew Bachelor (“House of Lies”), Graham Rogers (“Revolution”) and features Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect).

“Resident Advisors” is a workplace comedy set in the most hormonally-overloaded, sexually active, out-of-control workplace in the world: a college dorm. The show follows a group of resident advisors as they navigate sex, drugs, and midterms.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Paramount Digital Entertainment on this outrageously funny take on modern day dorm life in America,” said Elizabeth Banks. “Amy and her team have a terrific track record for creating boldly entertaining content in this comedic medium and we look forward to a successful partnership.”

“No subject is off limits for the talented creators and cast of ‘Resident Advisors’ with its irreverent take on the absurdities of freshmen year at college,” said Amy Powell, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment. “Elizabeth, Max and the team at Brownstone have developed an ambitious and fun comedy that is perfectly suited for this format, and we are thrilled to have it mark our first collaboration with them.”

Paramount Digital Entertainment is the studio behind the recent comedy hit, “The Hotwives of Orlando” and the Emmy-nominated series, “Burning Love.”

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Posted by Claudia on July 30th, 2014

In honor of the 4th of July, Pitch Perfect stars are celebrating with a rendition of an American classic.

Elizabeth Banks uploaded a video of two cast members, Skylar Astin and Ben Platt, who play Jessie and Benji in the film, singing a beautiful cover of “America the Beautiful,” reports Entertainment Weekly. The boys are seen in their famous maroon blazers, the classic Treblemaker uniform, with an American flag behind them.

The two are members of the Barden Treblemakers, the rival all-male a cappella to the feature all female group, the Barden Bellas. Following the video is the message, “Happy Fourth of July fromPitch Perfect 2.”

Banks is making her directorial debut with this film after starring as one of the judges for the a cappella singing competition. For those anxiously awaiting the sequel, let your ears be soothed by these two voices and remind yourself, Pitch Perfect 2 will hit theaters May 15, 2015.

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Posted by Claudia on July 5th, 2014

The a cappella smash Pitch Perfect is getting a sequel, primarily as a result of the overwhelmingly positive response from fans.

Rehearsals have been underway for Pitch Perfect 2 for a while now, with creator and first-time-director Elizabeth Banks posting photos on the set via her website. She’s shown cast members in matching jackets and the girl all laughing as they stand gathered together outside. There have even been a few dance rehersal photos floating around, though nothing that gives away too much of the upcoming film’s narrative.

Recently, however, the actress turned director announced a slightly more interactive experience for fans wishing to go the extra mile and take part in the film itself.
“Are you in the New Orleans area? Do you want to be in Pitch Perfect 2?” write Banks. “Did you answer yes to both of these questions? Join us this Friday and you could also win some awesome prizes.”

Banks then provided a link leading to more details. The film is looking for extras to participate on an unpaid basis today, June 20, for some larger scenes in the film. Apparently filmmakers have decided to make it into something of an event, with electronics and gift card giveaways going on throughout the day.

Filming takes place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Fans who would like to get involved must register and be over the age of sixteen in order to participate.

Pitch Perfect 2 hits theatres in May 2015.

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Posted by Claudia on June 22nd, 2014

The Obama administration is expanding its Turnaround Arts program, an initiative designed to bring arts programs to failing schools in an effort to boost student achievement.

The program is a public-private partnership funded in part with $5 million from the Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation, among others. The program has been in pilot mode for the past two years in eight schools around the country, where the coin supports the hiring of arts instructors and the integration of arts into core subjects such as reading, math and science.

The expanded program will extend Turnaround Arts funding to 35 schools in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon and Washington D.C. To promote awareness of the effort, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has enlisted a number of showbiz notables to serve as “Turnaround Artist” reps, including Kerry Washington.

Washington put Turnaround Arts in the spotlight last year when she was feted by Variety with its Power of Women award. 

New recruits for the promotional effort including Elizabeth Banks, Elton John, Frank Gehry, Jason Mraz, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Groban, Marc Anthony, Rashida Jones, Russell Simmons, the Silk Road Ensemble, Tim Robbins and Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty).

“The Turnaround Arts program has exceeded not just our expectations, but our wildest hopes and dreams,” said first lady Michelle Obama, honorary chair of the committee. “With the help of this program and some School Improvement Grants, math and reading scores have gone up in these schools… attendance is up, enrollment is up…parent engagement is up… suspensions have plummeted…and two of the schools in our pilot improved so dramatically that they are no longer in turnaround status. And today, the students in these schools are engaged in their education like never before.”

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Posted by Claudia on May 20th, 2014

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