Anna Kendrick wanted a seat at the table, so she pulled up a chair for herself. For 16 years, Kendrick has been credited as an actor in every single one of the films on her IMDb page, but in 2019, the star is now also being credited as an executive producer. The decision wasn’t made just to put the fancy title on her resume, either; Anna Kendrick is taking charge of her career to ensure she’s included in the important decisions about the films she’s making — especially the ones she has a starring role in.
“Honestly, just kind of having a seat at the table and knowing that my voice is important on that is a really great feeling,” Kendrick tells me over the phone. At the moment, she’s sitting in a car inside a New York parking garage in between television appearances to promote her most recent film, The Day Shall Come, a political satire in which she plays an over ambitious FBI agent in serious need of a morality check.
“There are movies like The Day Shall Come, where I can say to [director] Chris Morris, ‘I think it makes more sense if I do this in my scene,’ and whether we end up agreeing or not, we’ll talk about it and he really values my opinion,” Kendrick explains. “And then, there are sets where it’s like, ‘No honey, grown ups are talking.’” (Um, let the record show that Kendrick is 34 years old.)
It’s not like she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. At just 25 years old, Kendrick received her first Oscar nomination, a Best Supporting Actress nod for her stellar performance opposite George Clooney in Up In The Air. The recognition for that part, along with her scene-stealing role of Jessica Stanley in the Twilight franchise, made Kendrick a red carpet staple. And then, of course, along came 2012’s Pitch Perfect, which really made Kendrick a household name.
In the seven years since Pitch Perfect’s release, Kendrick has added tons of films to her resume, including, but certainly not limited to, Into The Woods, The Accountant, and, most recently, A Simple Favor with Blake Lively. She’s also already filmed three more movies that are expected to come out soon: There’s Noelle, coming to Disney+ this holiday season, in which Kendrick plays Santa’s daughter who is left with no choice but to takeover the “family business,” then Trolls World Tour, the sequel to 2016’s wildly popular Trolls, and Stowaway, a space drama that lands Kendrick in a co-starring role alongside Toni Collette.
Despite her impressive resume, Kendrick still found herself hitting walls when it came to making important decisions on set, whether it was specifically about the character she was portraying or just making sure she’s comfortable with how an upcoming scene would be filmed. The role of executive producer is basically her way of taking a sledgehammer to those walls. “Being able to have that role and know that I'm not just speaking as an actor, and that I'm involved from the beginning and that decisions that get made have to kind of go through me is kind of a nice feeling,” she says.
Kendrick’s first official executive producer credit was for an episode of the Facebook Watch animated series, Human Discoveries. In 10 short but hilarious episodes, caveman Gary, voiced by Zac Efron, and his friends, including Kendrick’s Jane, navigate life in prehistoric times as the first people on earth. The series includes some timely social commentary as well, including a storyline focused on Jane’s desire to hunt alongside the men. Upcoming for newly-crowned EP Kendrick is a comedy called Dummy, as well as Love Life, a series set to premiere on HBO Max’s streaming platform when it launches in 2020. As a celebrity who has mastered the art of keeping her private life exactly that, Kendrick tells me she managed to incorporate some of her own romantic history into the series.
“I ended up just, like, kind of stealing a lot from my life and putting it in the planned episode guide to the point that I was like, ‘Oof, this is kind of uncomfortable,’” Kendrick explains, adding that she also helped creator Sam Boyd pitch the series. However, any of Kendrick’s personal influence has been diluted with enough fictional content that her exes need not worry. “At this point, everything has gone through so many changes, and pieces of what happened to me with one person had gotten split up over three different relationships or something... or episodes in the show. So, it feels like there's plausible deniability there, I guess.”
One thing that can not be denied: Anna Kendrick isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Hollywood walls should probably watch their backs.