Anna Kendrick was shocked by the success of her 'Pitch Perfect' cup song: 'It's a weird nails on chalkboard thing for me'

Anna Kendrick reflects on her past film roles. (Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for PORTER Incredible Women Gala 2018)
Anna Kendrick reflects on her past film roles. (Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for PORTER Incredible Women Gala 2018)

Anna Kendrick’s most iconic Pitch Perfect performance was once supposed to be based around an entirely different song.

The Alice, Darling star sat down with Vanity Fair for a look back on some of her most iconic performances, which included her roles in films like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the first Pitch Perfect. The scene chosen from Pitch Perfect featured Kendrick as college student Beca during her audition for acapella group the Barden Bellas, in which she performs a song while drumming with a plastic cup. The song, a rendition of The Carter Family’s “When I’m Gone,” was later released as “Cups” and put on the film’s soundtrack.

“I had to sing something to prove that I could do it, and I said, ‘Oh, well, I know this thing because I’m a dork and I do this thing with a cup and there’s this song,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, let’s put this in the movie,’” she explained. “The audition song was supposed to be ‘I’m a Little Teacup,’ which to this day, I’ve never asked the writer Kay Cannon how was that supposed to play. Was it just supposed to be a really good rendition of ‘I’m a Little Teacup,’ because I don’t know how I was supposed to pull that off.”

Kendrick said that she had “no idea” that the 2013 song — which peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — would become as popular as it did.

“When Universal was like, ‘We should make a whole music video for that,’ I was like What? Who would want that? Egg on my face,” she explained.

The Up in the Air star said that she was told to make some adjustments to the song performance prior to its release.

“The music supervisor was like, ‘I'm gonna put a metronome in there so that you stop rushing it because I think you do get nervous and you're trying to just like, do it really quickly,’’ she added. “It's a weird nails on chalkboard thing for me to watch this.”

Kendrick and her Pitch Perfect cohorts previously gave an oral history of “Cups” to Cosmopolitan, where she revealed the strange place she was asked to do a cup performance.

“Someone walked up to me at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, shoved a glass in my face, took out their phone, and they were like, “Do ‘Cups,’” she said. “It was the wildest thing. It’s a fancy party, and I would have shattered the glass into a million pieces if I tried.”

In addition to talking about her past work, the actress also weighed in on an emotional scene from her new film Alice, Darling, in which she plays a woman struggling in a mentally abusive relationship. Kendrick has previously opened up about wanting to do the film because it reflected her previous real-life relationship experience.

“I knew I wanted to do this movie when she starts having a panic attack and is saying ‘You don't understand, I can't do another thing wrong,’” Kendrick shared. “Because that resonated with me so much — it just cuts to the heart of being in that kind of relationship. When you get into that regressed, panicked state, those kind of simple sentences come out and you're like, Oh, this is really messed up.”