Scott Pilgrim Star Reveals One Thing Edgar Wright Won't Let Actors Do on Camera

Filmmaker Edgar Wright's film adaptation of Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a career-defining role for Anna Kendrick, but when she looks back at it now, she mostly remembers that she couldn't blink while filming her scenes. Not because of any physical limitation or character quirk, but because Wright apparently hates it when actors blink during their close-ups, making for a unique shooting process. It became particularly trying in one scene in particular, which Kendrick broke down with Vanity Fair in a recent video interview.

Looking at the scene where Stacey (Kendrick) first meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), only to find out that Wallace (Kieran Culkin) has stolen her boyfriend while she was distracted, Kendrick said that she remembered the shoot being arduous for a specific shot near the end of the scene.

"The crash zoom thing at the end of this, once Kieran has fully stolen my boyfriend by the end of this scene, we had to do that crash-zoom so many times, because Edgar's so hyper-specific, he doesn't even let you blink," Kendrick said. "He doesn't let you blink. There would be specific times where he was like 'A purposefully timed blink here would be okay.' This was very generous of him. He wanted me to turn, react, then the crash-zoom happens, then I say the line, or something like that. Bill Pope, the cinematographer, ended up taking over even operating the camera and the crash zoom. And I could see every time we would kind of overcompensate for the other, where we had missed the moment perfectly, and it just took forever."

You can see the interview below.

In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, as bass guitarist for a garage-rock band, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has never had trouble getting a girlfriend; usually, the problem is getting rid of them. But when Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) skates into his heart, he finds she has the most troublesome baggage of all: an army of ex-boyfriends who will stop at nothing to eliminate him from her list of suitors.

The film was a box office disappointment, but has gone on to become a cult classic, standing shoulder to shoulder with movies like Tank Girl and Josie and the Pussycats in the pantheon of hyper-stylized comic book movies that missed the mark commercially. Kendrick said that she was one of the only cast members who could see that coming, and tailored her performance to it a bit by having big, surprised reactions to some of the movie's most stylized and bizarre moments. Even at first, she was not sure whether she "got" the script, but she had faith in Edgar Wright, and wanted to work with the Shaun of the Dead filmmaker.

"Nobody asked me to, but I remember when we were doing my single, just doing a bunch of reactions of like, 'What's going on? Like, someone explain this to me,'" Kendrick said. "I wasn't sure if Edgar was going to be like, 'What are you talking about?' And then he used a couple of those reaction shots, and that made me feel happy." 

You can stream Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Netflix. Kendrick's next film, Alice, Darling, is exclusively in AMC Theatres nationwide beginning January 20, 2023.