By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—The Bellas are back for their final act (well, maybe) in “Pitch Perfect 3.” Brittany Snow, who has appeared alongside Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee and Alexis Knapp on two previous installments, and was joined by Hailee Steinfeld in “PP2,” is both excited and a little sentimental over this possible finale to the sleeper hit franchise centering on a group of college co-eds who form an unbreakable friendship bond through their mutual love of singing a capella.
Now, a few years out of college, the Bellas are trying to find their way in the real world. As Chloe, Snow is contemplating going to veterinary school. But when roommate and best friend Beca (Kendrick) reveals an opportunity for the Bellas to reunite and go on a European tour with the USO, she’s all onboard. The girls face some intense competition on the tour with groups that use not only their vocal chords but also musical instruments. Ruby Rose (“Orange is the New Black”) plays one of the Bellas’ new antagonists, a rocker with a formidable voice and band. Meanwhile, Snow’s Chloe is mutually attracted to their assigned hot military escort, who goes by the nickname Chicago (Matt Lanter). As with 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” and its sequel, there are quite a few songs in which the actresses sing a capella along with the anticipated riff-offs with their competitors, and a suitable finale in which the Bellas sing an emotional version of George Michael’s hit “Freedom.” There’s also action, adventure, romance and comedy.
In an interview, blonde, blue-eyed Snow, who also starred in 2007’s “Hairspray” musical, shyly admits she doesn’t regard herself as a singer. The Tampa, Florida-born actress says she feels most comfortable in dramatic roles but adds that co-starring alongside real life friends Kendrick, Wilson and the others in the music-filled “Pitch Perfect” movies has been an unforgettable delight.
Q: How has the “Pitch Perfect” journey been and how do you feel right now?
Snow: It’s very surreal that it’s been five years. We’re incredibly lucky that we’ve been doing something continuously for five years but it’s great. We love hanging out together so it’s kind of a joke that we get to get paid to do these movies over and over again. It’s like you hang out with your best friends and get paid for it.
Q: Did you have any idea what would happen with the Bellas in the third installment?
Snow: Definitely not. Going into the first one, we didn’t know this would be a franchise so when we were doing the second one, we weren’t even thinking about a third one. It’s kind of like we haven’t thought too far ahead; we’ve let other people do that for us. But I think it’s always interesting what happens and what they cook up for these movies because they get very creative about where we can go.
Q: You have a new director on this Trish Sie, who takes over from Elizabeth Banks, who directed and co-starred in all three. How was Trish in terms of being able to interface with ideas that you had about your character?
Snow: Trish is amazing and we were huge fans of her. It was a really hard task to come upon a movie that already had a cohesive machine behind it with the people, the crew and everyone involved, and to dive right in to not only have a point of view but to make it her own. That was a really daunting task for her to take on and she did it so seamlessly. She’s the best and she really worked with each of us individually about how we saw our character. She also asked us what we wanted to add to our character and new ways that we wanted take. It was really fun because she gave us a lot of comedic liberty to do it ourselves. So, most of the things that we say are improvised and were worked out amongst ourselves.
Q: What’s Chloe’s arc this time around?
Snow: She’s trying to get into vet school but she has a hard time really diving into anything because she likes to stay in the past and hold onto her family. I always thought in my mind that Chloe’s backstory was that she didn’t have a very good family life so she’s extremely needy and passionate and she loves these girls and doesn’t want to move on. This journey for her is really understanding that she can let go of the idea that they have to be a group, that the family will always be there. She is passionate about everything, including animals.
Q: Speaking of passion, there is a love interest this time around with Chloe and Chicago. Were you able to improvise much with Matt Lanter?
Snow: They let us do so much improv with that. Pretty much everything I say to him is just Chloe being awkward, which I really like for young girls to see because it shows them that you might not be able to say the right thing to guys and you might not have the best game but Chloe is unapologetic about it and owns it and isn’t scared of the fact that she’s not the coolest, and yet she gets the guy. You can be who you are and be unapologetic about the fact that you are weird.
Q: There is this whole Bechloe shipping going on in the “Pitch Perfect” fan world. Some people want to see Beca and Chloe get together romantically.
Snow: Yeah, that aspect of these movies I’d never come in contact with before—the fan fiction of it all and these relationships. When I was a kid there wasn’t shipping yet. I’m sure there were but it wasn’t so able to be connected through social media and sharing your pictures and stories and it’s a huge honor to see how much time and effort goes into imagining these relationships. Recently, a fan I’ve seen over the years and she’s written to me and couple of times and she’s lovely, she was in Australia and she told me that because of Chloe, she was able to relate that she was gay and she had the bravery to come out to her parents because she realized that she was feeling something for these two characters that she hadn’t felt before and that was the coolest feeling because you do these movies and you have connections with people that you work with but you don’t think that that was going to help somebody in that way. It’s very cool that a little movie could do that.
Q: This movie looks like so much fun to make but I’m sure there is a lot of work that goes into it because there’s a lot more singing and dancing, and a lot more action. So, what, for you, was the biggest challenge in coming back for this third one in terms of preparing and getting into vocal and physical shape.
Snow: Luckily, I don’t have to do any physical action stunts. Rebel does most of that. The only stunts that I do is trying to flirt I guess. That doesn’t take much effort but there wasn’t much preparation involved because we always know that we have a month of rehearsal where we learn all the dances and get back as a group in feeling connected again which is the biggest part of these movies. This isn’t an individual thing. We have to all dance together. We all sing together. We all have to use each other’s comedy and know where each other shines in a way. Really, I feel like that month of rehearsal and prep is for us to fall back in love with each other again and know how to give and take because, without that, I don’t think our chemistry would work.
Q: The Bellas rendition of “Freedom” is so emotional. When did you shoot that?
Snow: It was shot at the very end. We didn’t shoot the entire movie in sequence but we did shoot the finale number at the end, which was really special because those tears that we had were real for many different reasons. There were lots of various things each of us was going through but also, as a unit, we were realizing that this could be the end and this was a huge chapter of our lives. It was like a final performance that we were having as actors and people and that translated when we did the scene as well.
Q: With the tagline being “Last Call,” it indicates this is the last “Pitch Perfect.” Is it very emotional for you to come to the end of this?
Snow: We’re all in denial that this is the end because we think that if this makes a lot of money we’ll do more, but we also have to come to terms with the fact that it could be the last. So, yeah, it is emotional. When I was on a TV show, I went through this as well with my friends on the show. You create a family, but it is also such a defining chapter of your life where you are saying goodbye to things you were used to. But that’s just life, in general. You have to move on to the next stage. So, although it’s emotional, it’s necessary and that’s how we are all coming to terms with that. We know that our careers aren’t meant to be staying in “Pitch Perfect” forever. It’s been really cool to get to see the girls again and have it be so uplifting and supportive ending.
Q: Music has been a big part of your life for a while now. Would you like to write or record? What are your musical aspirations?
Brittany: I am not a singer and I don’t want to be a singer. It’s funny because when I got “Hairspray” or these movies, everyone keeps putting me in musical movies, which I love because I love to sing but I have an insane fear of singing on a big stage. I’m never going to be a popstar. I’m never going to sing on Broadway. I’d love to do Broadway and act but I could never do a musical. So, my musical aspirations are probably going to be limited to my shower and my dog hearing me but I do love recording music with my friend Kelley (Jakle), who is also in “Pitch Perfect” movies. We just do little things like that. I do love to sing but there’s no aspirations for me to do anything else (with it) probably except more musical movies, which would be great.
Q: Your co-founded an anti-bullying charity in 2010 called Love is Louder. This year, a lot of women have been coming forward about bullies in the workplace. How do you feel about women stepping up and speaking out?
Brittany: What’s really great is, not only women, but everyone having a conversation and being honest. Even before I started Love is Louder, when I was honest about personal issues I had while growing up, there was still a stigma surrounding why I was doing it. It was either seen as using it for attention or vanity in some way and now more and more people are realizing that you can come out with your truth and your story and you are not being manipulative, you are just being honest with yourself and with others because it’s the right thing to do.
It might be the scarier thing to do or the more alarming thing to do but it helps the most people. So, right now that everyone needs to be honest with themselves and with other people and that’s the conversation that we need to have. I love that because that is the thing that gets people better. They can read these stories and think, “Oh, I’m going through the same thing. I’m not alone in this,” and that’s the connection that they need to get through what they’re going through.’
“Pitch Perfect 3” opens in theaters Friday, Dec. 22.