American actor Skylar Astin isn't just exceedingly handsome - the guy can also sing, as he proved in his breakout performance in the surprise musical/comedy hit "Pitch Perfect" (2012). Raised just out...
Hey you! Why are you just sitting on your computer? You should really be at the movies, dancing in your seat, and enjoying the new insta-classic Pitch Perfect. Set on a college campus where a cappella is the cool thing to do, a group of girls put their hilarious differences aside in hopes of redeeming themselves from last year’s (unbelievably gross) failure.
Leading the Bellas is Aubrey, (Anna Camp) a drill sergeant of singing who is more focused on winning instead of making friends. But when Hollywood.com met up with the The Mindy Project beauty, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Camp could not be more different from her a capella alter-ego. In fact she and Skylar Astin were kind enough to grace us with their singing skills.
Check out the full interview below to hear their Pitch Perfect pipes, learn details on the rumored sequel and find out which aca-ism Camp enjoyed the most from the film!
In the film, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee’s characters were definitely the comic relief, and believe it or not the girls are even more hilarious in real life. The dynamic duo shared secrets from a cappella boot camp, and when they like to burst into song. Plus, Hollywood.com got a lesson in beat boxing and an exclusive shout-out!
Making his big screen directorial debut, Jason Moore decided to begin the film in a very unique way. “I was trying to find a way to open the movie and tell everyone that it’s a comedy and also explain to them what a cappella was,” he says. Check out our video below to learn more about Moore’s favorite scene (Hint: it’s the one that doesn’t involve clothes!) and find out why he got down and dirty with Rebel Wilson.
You can catch Pitch Perfect in theaters everywhere.
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[Photo Credit: Universal]
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It is my estimation that there are very few people on the fence about seeing a movie about the universe of college a capella. The people who want to see this movie would all but kill to do so — on the other hand there are those who’d rather endure a three-hour documentary on the referendum to criminalize the distribution of lead-based paints. I was hardly in the latter category upon approaching Pitch Perfect. I wholeheartedly enjoyed the seasonal performances of my college’s championship-winning a capella group the Binghamton Crosbys (namedrop). I would happily welcome an influx of musical films to mainstream Hollywood. I really really liked the first season of Glee. I say all this to illustrate how open to the idea of Pitch Perfect I was and how much I really wanted to like the movie. Unfortunately as I would reluctantly acknowledge not long into the picture Pitch Perfect was missing many of its marks. Not all but many.
The movie touts itself not as Glee: The Movie as many on the opposing side are likely to deem it but as something far more self-aware. There are a handful of jokes about the rigid containment of the a capella world’s celebrity with remarks that all the authentically cool kids at the central Barden University exist beyond the confines of the a capella community. Unfortunately while it strives to adopt a self-deprecating attitude toward the tropes of the genre it draws the line at the rejection of the more hackneyed elements of its romantic and interpersonal storylines.
While the story is based in the always-worth-revisiting “be yourself” underdog theme it doesn’t quite execute this idea with full force. The highly talented Anna Kendrick plays Beca a “rebellious” aspiring deejay enticed into the nearly defunct Barden Bellas by well-meaning vet Chloe (Brittany Snow) due to her natural skill for singing but disliked by queen bee Aubrey (Anna Camp) for being just a little too different. But in all honesty she’s hardly different enough to evoke our sympathies. In fact the only outstanding characteristics Beca seems to have is that she’s pretty self-entitled and always a little bit miffed. Still she’s the apple of everyone's eye including the guileless flimsy male lead Jesse (Skylar Astin) who himself is a cherished new member of Barden's rival a capella group the all-male Treblemakers — led by the wickedly obnoxious top dog Bumper (Adam DeVine). Beca and Jesse are meant to found the real emotional crust of the movie; he teaches her about the greats of cinematic soundtracks and about not pushing people away and she... well she doesn't really teach him about anything. Their relationship lacks the real substance that would effectively carry the film based primarily on the fact that they're both cute and microscopically off-center.
And then there are the supporting characters — the Bellas' team of misfits whom we're meant to love. Rebel Wilson leads this pack as the kooky brazen self-decreed Fat Amy. Beside her the sexually-charged Stacie (Alexis Knapp) the quiet psychopath Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) whose alluded homosexuality is quite unfortunately the punchline of her character among a few faceless sub-supporting characters. And while the theme does don a sheath of the classic “be yourself” mindset it seems to be more interested in poking fun of these girls and their quirks than it is in celebrating them.
But they do band together they do develop a camaraderie and they do come to compromise their differences in order to better one another and the team. And then comes the final musical number.
See for all of the film's faults there is something it knows how to do: it puts on one hell of a show. As much of a cynical nitpicker as you might be once the Bellas' final performance on the competition mainstage takes way you're bound to enjoy it. Showcasing the individual vocal talents of each of the (primary) singers sewn together in an expertly crafted compilation piece viewers are likely to get a chill or two. This is where Pitch Perfect hits: in its sheer unembarrassed celebration of a capella of music in general and of the girls onscreen. The movie makes the mistake of trying to have it both ways. When it goes for self-deprecation it makes it look all the more unaware of its inherent flaws in plot and character. But in being what plenty of people would be just fine with — an a capella movie that isn't ashamed of loving a capella any more than its over-the-top characters are — it succeeds. Unfortunately this sentiment feels limited to the final performance of the film. But to its credit it's a performance good enough to make up for a whole lot of the stuff that leads up to it.
A big hit at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Hamlet 2 often careens out of control but when it connects the theatre fills with laughter. This is a story of a very frustrated high school drama teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) who decides to stage his own play--a musical sequel to Hamlet featuring original songs he has composed (titles like “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and “Gay As the Day Is Long”). Yes he’s aware everyone died at the end of Shakespeare’s immortal classic but the failed actor-turned-teacher has found a way to bring them back to life by using a time machine(!) In any event he’s desperate to save the Tucson school’s arts program which is being cut and he thinks this is the answer. Certainly it’s better he figures than his usual productions which have the students re-enacting live stage versions of popular movies such as Erin Brockovich that are regularly panned by the ninth-grade drama critic. Of course the non-PC nature of the show causes lots of outrage from school officials and community leaders but with the help of ACLU attorney Cricket Feldstein (Amy Poehler) Dana remains steadfast in his determination to go on with the show. Coogan is brilliantly loony and wildly funny in a hit-for-the-fences interpretation of the character. He’s definitely taking chances turning off the audience with his off-the-wall approach to playing this desperate loser who has to resort to teaching bored kids. It’s Coogan’s energy and fresh approach that make the movie work better than it has any right to. Poehler who also scored recently in Baby Mama is hilarious as the take-no-prisoners lawyer who comes to Dana’s defense. Catherine Keener is droll perfection as his bored wife who is having an affair with their boarder Gary underplayed nicely by David Arquette. In the good sport category Elisabeth Shue turns up as…Elisabeth Shue now a local nurse after her movie career supposedly hit the skids. She’s actually very funny spoofing herself and the whole aura of the successful Hollywood star. The students are all first rate including Dana’s star pupils Rand Posin and Epiphany Sellers played amusingly by Broadway’s Spring Awakening cast members Skylar Astin and Phoebe Strole respectively. And special mention to The Ralph Sall Experience for their hilarious musical parodies. Director Andrew Fleming lets the gags fly with abandon and gets much of the broad bits to actually work. He and screenwriter Pam Brady forge a close collaboration that results in a pretty good hit-to-miss ratio on the laugh meter; anyone expecting subtlety has wandered into the wrong theatre. Working with a wonderful group of actors with plenty of improvisational experience certainly has helped here and Fleming’s film has the look and feel of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience. The actual staging of Hamlet 2 is rather inspired with the multitude of wacky musical numbers cleverly presented. The Southwestern high school that Coogan’s character is stuck in is spot-on although Tucson residents probably won’t appreciate the numerous jokes made at the expense of their town.
Played a collegiate acapella singer in musical comedy "Pitch Perfect"
Began acting at 14 in a community production of "Godspell"
Co-starred with Justin Chon in comedy "21 & Over"
Guest starred on HBO's "Girls"
Made feature film debut in musical comedy "Hamlet 2"
Broadway debut, as Georg in original cast of "Spring Awakening"; also originated role off-Broadway
American actor Skylar Astin isn't just exceedingly handsome - the guy can also sing, as he proved in his breakout performance in the surprise musical/comedy hit "Pitch Perfect" (2012). Raised just outside of New York City, Astin went on to attend Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan, but left when he landed a role in the Broadway production of "Spring Awakening," appearing in the lauded play from 2006 to '08. After making his film debut in the quirky show-tune-tinged comedy "Hamlet 2" (2008), he performed in a 2010 revival of "Rent." He subsequently worked on TV pilots that weren't picked up, but finally had a banner year in 2012, with various roles in major screen productions, most notably "Pitch Perfect." Suddenly, Astin was more than just a young actor who could belt it out; he had a bona fide following. <p>A native New Yorker who was born Skylar Lipstein, Astin opted to go with his middle name after deciding to pursue acting and singing seriously as a teen. Dropping his drama studies in 2006 to join the original Broadway cast of the hit musical "Spring Awakening," Astin later had his first foray into cinema with the outrageous oddball indie "Hamlet 2," starring Steve Coogan. While continuing to build his screen resume, he also won over more theater fans with a featured role as Mark Cohen in a 2010 version of the beloved musical "Rent," directed by no less than star song-and-dance man Neil Patrick Harris. </p><p>Although Astin was involved in a number of TV and film projects that failed to take off, he connected with various high-profile productions in 2012. After guest appearances on episodes of the irreverent cable comedy "Girls" (HBO, 2012- ) and the long-running medical series "House" (Fox, 2004-2012), he portrayed Jesse Swanson, the vocally skilled love interest of Anna Kendrick's lead character in "Pitch Perfect," which won over an extremely enthusiastic crowd. He followed this considerable success with a bit part in the CGI-animated video-game adventure "Wreck-It Ralph" (2012) and a featured role in the raucous comedy "21 & Over" (2013). </p><p> </p>
Clarkstown High School North
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
"I worked on dramas before, I love sinking my teeth into something dramatic or a period piece, but there’s something so fun about doing a comedy. When you go to set and your only job is to make people laugh, there’s an unbelievable energy on set. Nobody’s tiptoeing or walking delicately around the actors. I really love doing it, and putting the puzzle together with the sole purpose of making people have fun and enjoy themselves." - from Movieline, Sept. 28, 2012
"I don’t take myself too seriously. I think that’s something so many actors and people in general tend to do. You definitely have to be focused at certain times in your life and in your career, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do. Then you just have to chock it up to fate." - from Elle, Oct. 5, 2012
"I cannot sing karaoke because it’s hard and weird. If I actually tried to sing, I would probably sound good, and I think that’s weird and not fun." - from Collider, Oct. 2012