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Anna Kendrick: Why Bette Midler Is the ‘Wayne Gretzky of Double Threats

Billboard
Anna Kendrick Admits to Being a Musical ‘Amateur’ and Why Bette Midler Is the ‘Wayne Gretzky of Double Threats’
By Jeff Weiss | February 20, 2015 11:33 AM ES

anna-kendrick-doublethreat-2015-billboard-2-650

Anna Kendrick will be the first to tell you she’s not really a musician; she just plays one on the big screen. Her ­humility belies the mezzo-soprano belt that drove the actress’ cover of “Cups” from Pitch Perfect, the 2012 hit movie about a cappella competitions, to No. 6 on the Hot 100. That success has helped anoint the 29-year-old this ­generation’s Julie Andrews — the go-to belle for every female musical lead, including in Pitch Perfect 2 (out May 15), The Last 5 Years and Into the Woods (both out now). Off-camera, she’s not far removed from her theatrical persona: the acerbic underdog, constantly downplaying her talents — on the musical side, at least: “It’s so striking that I am an amateur among pros.”

Her First Love
“I started with music before acting. Because when you’re 6, you’re singing, watching Janet Jackson on TV, performing in a ­mirror. I would try to get my friends into Bette Midler CDs, which is something no 8-year-old should be doing.”

But She’s Better At…
“Acting. I’d call myself very competent for an actor who sings, but I really don’t know what I’m doing. When I’m in a recording studio, I feel like a kid on the first day of school.”

Has One Skill Helped The Other?
“Absolutely. Cinderella in Into the Woods — I know how many girls wanted that part, girls who are frankly more famous than me. But that’s a hard role, one you can’t fake your way through. Without singing, I wouldn’t have gotten that.”

Double-Threat Hero
“There’s really no argument: Bette Midler. She’s the Wayne Gretzky of double threats.”

Kendrick Facts
– “Cups” has sold 3 million downloads, according to Nielsen Music.
– The 15 films she has appeared in have grossed $488 million total.
– At age 12, she was nominated for a Tony for her role in Broadway musical High Society.

 

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