Universal Pictures via Everett Collection/FOX
Both Anna Kendrick and Lea Michele began their careers as child stars on Broadway, each earning acclaim for their stage work before they hit puberty. Kendrick originally found success on film in movies like the Twilight saga before wowing audiences with her voice in Pitch Perfect. Michele won fame on television as the uber-ambitious Rachel Berry on Glee. Kendrick was nominated for an Academy Award for Up in the Air. Michele has a mantel full of People's Choice awards and has been nominated for an Emmy. Kendrick had a Top 10 hit with "Cups (When I'm Gone)" from Pitch Perfect. Michele just released her first solo album and has made numerous chart appearances thanks to the various Glee soundtracks.
Recently, it was announced that Kendrick has been cast as the lead in the film adaption of Jason Robert Brown's musical The Last Five Years, on the heels of playing Cinderella in the movie version of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods and reprising her character in Pitch Perfect 2. Michele, on the other hand, is still hard at work on Glee, promoting her album and fending off rumors that — in a storyline straight out of her TV show — she'll appear on Broadway in a revival of Funny Girl. If you were casting a musical, however, and had to choose one or the other, which would you pick?
The Case for Anna KendrickMost performers spend a career trying to build a resume as accomplished as the one that Kendrick has already compiled at 28. Trying to find someone that doesn't like Kendrick is next to impossible and she's proven that she can play sweet or snarky equally well. Her voice caught moviegoers off guard in Pitch Perfect, but now that everyone knows about it, she's got an audience eager for more. Sondheim fans might cringe at the thought of Johnny Depp as the Wolf or Meryl Streep as the Witch in Into the Woods, but Kendrick's casting was met with sighs of relief. There was a genuine buzz among musical lovers when Kendrick signed on to The Last Five Years, with people eager to see what she'll do with the Off-Broadway story of a novelist and actresses' failed relationship. Perhaps just as importantly, Kendrick comes across as someone that you would want to be friends with… not a bad thing with audiences or the people that have to work with her.
The Case for Lea MicheleSince the beginning of Glee, one of the dangers for Michele has been audiences associating her too closely with her on-screen alter ego, Rachel, who can belt with the best of them, but can also come across as demanding, needy and annoying. Part of the reason that Michele, 27, does so well with the role is that there are similarities between real life and fiction. Michele really does idolize Barbra Streisand, and it wouldn't be a stretch to see Rachel in a production of Les Miserables, just as Michele was as a youngster. What sets Michele apart is that she doesn't appear to have an issue with not being liked. She doesn't shy away from being a diva and doesn't seem to care who has an issue with it. There are a lot of roles that require that kind of chutzpah, particularly in musicals and especially when you have a voice as big as Michele's.
VerdictThere's a reason why Kendrick is the hot name for movie musicals right now and that status is completely deserved. Her presence alone would make a mediocre musical at least watchable. If you want someone that's going to be brassy and in-your-face, however, that's more Michele's forte. Perhaps audiences will get lucky and the two will pair up — as Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel did on stage — in a film version of Wicked. There's a movie we'd pay to see.
Actress Kat Dennings feared she would have to host the 2014 People's Choice Awards with her arm in a big bandage after slicing her finger open with a knife days before the big show. The Thor star was cleaning the kitchen utensil when her hand slipped and the blade cut her finger to the bone.
She says, "I was cleaning a butcher knife... and there was something kind of on it and I was applying pressure and I slipped and like fell into the knife. It was horrible... It was also my right hand, which is my dominate hand... I saw my own bone. I was a mess. The next day I had my first rehearsal to host the People's Choice Awards and I was like, 'Oh, this is great, I'm going to have to host this thing with one hand...'"
Dennings had to take a trip to her local hospital to have the wound stitched up, but she hid the injury at the Hollywood ceremony in January (14) by asking her stylist to dress up her hand with black gauze and a diamond bracelet to match her dress.
"Nina (Dobrev) wrote that. You have to have fun with it. It's interesting going to work every day with your ex. No, we're beyond lucky and I'm grateful for the friendship. You shoot a television show for almost five years - we're family at this point." Ian Somerhalder on his acceptance speech for the Favorite On-screen Chemistry prize at the 2014 People's Choice Awards earlier this month (Jan14). The hunk took home the award alongside his The Vampire Diaries co-star and ex-girlfriend Nina Dobrev. The pair poked fun at their continuing on-screen romance, despite the fact their off-screen relationship ended last year (13).
Zac Efron has publicly thanked one of his fans for reminding him why he continues to pursue his love of acting after struggling through a tough 2013. The High School Musical hunk hit headlines last year (13) after undergoing rehab treatment for substance abuse issues and then breaking his jaw in a bizarre accident at his Hollywood home.
He made his return to the spotlight at the People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles last week (08Jan14) to promote his new movie That Awkward Moment with co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller, and they headed to Facebook.com's headquarters in Menlo Park, California on Tuesday (14Jan14) to take part in a question and answer session about the upcoming comedy.
During the event, Efron was greeted by one of his biggest fans, Facebook sales employee Kirby Koo, and the meeting had such a profound affect on the actor, he decided to pour his heart out in a message of thanks via his Instagram.com blog on Wednesday (15Jan14).
In a post addressed to Koo, he wrote, "I have so much more I want to say. And I will - when I find the words. But I'll start here -When you stood up, with such strength, and sincerity and gave me perhaps the nicest compliment I've been paid... it meant so much more than that to me.
"@Facebook and online media in general, show only half the picture - sure people see me, but I never get to see them. Yesterday was the first time in a very long time that I was able to look into your eyes and remember why I do what I do - and will never stop. I needed that, more than you will ever know and just wanted to say thanks - face to face soon I hope."
Koo responded to the heartfelt note via her Facebook.com blog, replying, "Zac, I am so incredibly touched by your note. Meeting you was always the dream, but I never could have imagined that you would respond with such genuine kindness and literally open arms. The impact you and your talent have had on me and so many millions of others should never be underestimated. Beyond the actor, thank you for being such a warm, generous person and I'd be humbled to consider you a friend."
Demi Lovato has branded her critics "mean" after she was blasted for not attending the 2014 People's Choice Awards on Wednesday night (08Jan14). The Heart Attack hitmaker came under fire on Twitter.com after failing to accept her awards for Favourite Female Artist and Favourite Music Fan Following in person.
The singer took to her account on the microblogging site on Thursday (09Jan14) to remind fans she is taking a month-long break from work, and she also hit back at her critics.
She wrote in a series of posts, "Damn... Just hopped online to check twitter and some 'fans' are being really mean... I'm not a (at) the PCA's (People's Choice Awards) because as I have stated before, I'm taking as much time off this month as possible... I haven't taken a substantial amount of time off in a long time and now I am.
"Thank you for those who voted and understand why I am away... There are 'fans' who say they support me, then they hate on me, my personal life and my loved ones... And then there are my LOVATICS!!! THEY are the BEST fans an artist could ever ask for... I LOVE YOU!!!"
Justin Timberlake celebrated his triple triumph at the People's Choice Awards by heading for a Mexican meal at a fast food joint in Los Angeles. The pop star was a big winner during the ceremony at the Nokia Theater on Wednesday (08Jan14), claiming Favorite Male Artist, R&B Artist, and Favorite Album for The 20/20 Experience.
After the show was over, he took to Instagram.com to document his trip to Taco Bell on the way home, posing for photographs with staff at the fast food joint and even lining up his three People's Choice Awards trophies on the checkout counter.
He writes in a caption, "What do we do after we win 3 PCAs?!?! Easy... Go to Taco Bell!! People's Champ (sic), baby!!"
Country star Brad Paisley delighted a fan in the front row of the audience at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater during the People's Choice Awards on Wednesday (08Jan14) by helping to take a photo on their cell phone midway through his performance of Mona Lisa. The singer didn't skip a beat as he wandered off the stage to snap the shot before returning to the platform.
Actress Olga Fonda is set to walk down the aisle after her partner proposed. The Vampire Diaries star became engaged over the holidays as her boyfriend, Liam Waite, popped the question on New Year's Eve (31Dec13), her representative confirms to Us Weekly.
Fonda, who has been dating Waite for more than two years, showed off her new engagement ring as she walked the red carpet during the 2014 People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday (08Jan14).
Zac Efron returned to the spotlight at the People's Choice Awards on Wednesday (08Jan14) for his first red carpet appearance since breaking his jaw in a freak accident in November (13). The actor had to have his mouth wired shut after slipping in a puddle of water at his California home, but he has since bounced back and he hit the stage at the Los Angeles prizegiving to present the honour for Favorite Comedic Movie with his That Awkward Moment co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. The prize went to The Heat stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
"We started dating on the show... We started dating in real life... and then we broke up in real life... and yet our characters are still dating on the show... It's a good thing it's not awkward! Well, it's a good thing we have chemistry!" The Vampire Diaries co-stars Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev make light of their on and off-screen relationship as they accept the Favorite On-screen Chemistry prize at the 2014 People's Choice Awards on Wednesday (08Jan14). The acting hunk proved there were no hard feelings between the pair by planting a loud kiss on Dobrev's cheek after the joint acceptance speech.