When the Barden Bellas exploded onto the big screen six years ago, they made acapella singing aca-cool. It wasn’t just about using their mouths to sing, it’s the song mashups, the dance choreography and everything in between that made Pitch Perfect such a big hit.
The two sequels that followed were just as enjoyable, with the whole troupe returning and experiencing growing pains. With 2017’s Pitch Perfect 3, the Bellas have finally all grown up, coming to terms that their days of acapella singing are over. But are you ready to leave them? If you’re still deeply entrenched in the magic that Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp and the rest of the Barden Bellas created, here’re 14 things to know about the Pitch Perfect movies.
The first movie, Pitch Perfect, was inspired by the non-fiction book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin. One of the groups featured in the book, the Hullabahoos, were invited to have a cameo in the movie.
Live Singing Preferred, Please
For all the musical numbers performed on set, the actors usually lip sync, and record the actual singing in a recording studio. All except Kendrick. She opted to sing all her parts live, “because I think something is a little bit lost in the recording studio, and frankly I'm just not good in the recording studio, like I don't know how to do that. I think I'm just -- I'm used to singing in front of people and singing in a recording booth was a little isolating and sterile."
That Cups Song
Who doesn’t love that iconic Cups song that Beca performed during her audition to join the Bellas? The song was originally supposed to be another song number in the movie, but Kendrick found a video of Anna Burden performing the song that went viral on Reddit and learned it. When the producers saw her performance, they decided to use it as her audition instead.
The Improv Queen
Rebel Wilson, who plays Fat Amy in all three movies, improvised a lot of her lines in the first movie, especially in scenes opposite Adam DeVine. She shared, “because I'm partnered with Adam DeVine in the movie, he's a great improviser as well. So they had hours and hours of footage of us bantering back and forth saying crazy stuff to each other."
The Real Fat Amy
As we know, Fat Amy isn’t even her real name. It was revealed that Wilson’s name in the movie is Patricia. The nickname was actually what actress Amy Poehler called herself when she was pregnant, and Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon weaved that into the script. She explained, “I said to Amy, 'How are you feeling?' She's really petite and was like, 'I wasn't able to tell anybody. I wasn't feeling good. I was tired. I just felt like fat Amy.' I was like, 'I think somebody should call themselves Fat Amy, so that other people can't make fun of them.'”
Is Quidditch a Real Sport?
Did you know that in the first movie, when Beca (Kendrick) was going around campus during the student fair, there was actually a game of Quidditch happening behind her? Missed it? Re-watch Pitch Perfect now and look out for that scene!
Even though it may look effortless, singing acapella while dancing did not come naturally to the actors who incidentally, have to audition for the movie with a song number. To prepare for all that singing and dancing in the first film, the cast took part in a month-long singing and dancing boot camp, and bonded deeply, which helped in their chemistry on film.
Here's a glimpse into their training:
No Stunt Doubles Needed
In the opening scene for Pitch Perfect 2 saw Wilson dangling precariously in mid-air while performing a number. Wilson performed her own stunts during the aerial acrobatics routine. According to her, there wasn’t a stunt double in her size and if she hadn’t done it, they’ll have to switch to an entirely different opening sequence. What a sacrifice!
That Australian Accent
When Wilson first auditioned for the film, she did it with an American accent. However, her personality was so big that director Jason Moore decided to keep her natural accident instead, so that her Fat Amy can shine even more.
Hana Mae Lee- the Designer
Hana plays Lilly the beatboxer in the movies. Most of the time, she speaks in a tone that’s hardly more than a whisper and tends to make odd comments. In real life, Hana is anything but a mouse. She’s a fashion designer who’s created designs for the likes of Harley Davidson, Juicy Couture, and Mossimo. She also has her own jewellery line too.
Ester Dean- the Music Maestro
She’s a tomboy gambler in the movie, but in real life, Ester Dean, like Hana, is a multi-talented performer. She’s a singer, actress, and rapper as well. She’s written songs for Rihanna, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, amongst others. At 20, Dean moved from her hometown in Omaha with just $500 in her pocket and drove 18 hours to Atlanta to kick-start her musical career. And she blew everyone away.
Producer, Director, Actress
Elizabeth Banks plays Gail, who alongside her co-host John (John Michael Higgins ), is constantly on the Bellas’ heels, deeply involved in the girls’ movements. The role was originally written with Kirsten Wiig in mind, but due to scheduling conflicts, Banks stepped in. Banks is also the producer of all three films and even directed Pitch Perfect 2.
It Could Have Starred Demi Levato
When the sequel was announced, Wilson lobbied hard to add Demi Lovato as a Bella and even sent her an offer. Unfortunately, Lovato decided to focus on her music career and politely declined.
Even Stars are Fans
When the first movie was released, it was a sleeper hit, gaining fans from far and wide, and even bowled over celebrities. One of the unlikely fans is Snoop Dogg, who eventually cameoed in the second film. He asked to be in the movie to impress his daughter, who’s a huge fan of the Bellas.
Are you ready for some aca-fantastic time with the Bellas?