TORONTO—Anna Kendrick admits that she was a little cowed by one of her Up in the Air costars. It wasn't the one you might expect. In an interview room at a Toronto hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival, she says that she got over any fears she had of George Clooney quite quickly. However, she did have some trepidation about doing scenes with Vera Farmiga. The film's script tells the story of a human-resources consultant (Clooney) who wants to keep seeing a businesswoman (Farmiga) he meets while on the road, only to be told by an efficiency expert (Kendrick) that she has found a way for him to do his work from the home office. (The movie opens on December 11.)
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“I was more intimidated by Vera than by George because she plays one of those women who could eat you for breakfast,” she says. “But it was great to watch them work together and to see how warm they both were. Watching her work is like watching a gymnast, so the day our characters were all in the same room was a good day.”
Kendrick came from stage work and had done a TV pilot and a low-budget movie before being cast in Rocket Science two years ago. She expected that since there were similarities between that film and Up in the Air, she might have a chance at the role. She says that she thought she had lost out when she had a bad audition for the director, Jason Reitman. The surprise came when she discovered that the audition was just a formality.
“I left the audition feeling that it had gone really badly, but then I heard that he had actually written the part for me because of the similarities between this role and the one in Rocket Science. To think that he had done that was so overwhelming. That is the dream, really. Who doesn't want someone to write a part for you, particularly if it is Jason Reitman?”
Kendrick says she was happy that Clooney put her at ease quickly because her character has to tell his character that he can't do the job the way he has always done it. “The scary part going into this was the whole question of ”˜How am I going to do this to George Clooney? How am I going to look at him and give him crap and act like I am better than him?' But he managed to be very good at making you think he is just another dude off-screen. It's not just a situation where you think, ”˜Oh, he's just a regular guy.' There are a lot of celebrities who you meet and quickly realize they are just human beings, but there is something that he does that I can't put my finger on. He must have developed it over the years, knowing that people would get uncomfortable around him, because he is so very good at it.”