Anna Camp, 'Pitch Perfect' Actress, On A Capella, 'The Mindy Project' And Why It's 'Refreshing To See Women Getting Messy'

Anna Camp: 'It's So Refreshing To See Women Getting Messy And Not Knowing What To Do'

Anna Camp is having a big few weeks. The 30-year-old actress, probably best known for her extended guest-starring roles on "True Blood" and "The Good Wife," is being thrust right into the spotlight. She stars as Mindy Kaling's best friend in television show "The Mindy Project" which premiered on September 25th and as a type-A a capella captain in "Pitch Perfect," which opens on October 5th. Camp's character, Aubrey, rules her all-female singing group, The Bellas, with an iron fist and an Ace of Base tune in a quest for a national championship. She spends much of the film attempting to force newcomers Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) to tow the party line. Camp spoke with The Huffington Post about the major release her character gets, working with Mindy Kaling and why it's so exciting to be a woman in the entertainment industry right now.

Obviously, “Pitch Perfect” is all about the a capella. Did you ever do a capella before this movie?
You know, I never did. It’s a lot harder than it looks! It takes a lot of practice.

Your character in "Pitch Perfect," Aubrey, is very buttoned-up and uptight on the surface, but sort of boiling underneath, and I’d say the same thing about your role as Sarah Newlin on "True Blood." Is that a type of part that you're drawn to?
Well, I’m from the South originally. I grew up in South Carolina definitely learning about manners and being proper and having to go to cotillions. I think once I graduated school, I was desperate to break out of that. But I think there’s that [instinct] inside of me, and that’s how I can have access to these types of women. And I just like playing [these type of characters]. I feel like they have so much going on underneath the surface that they don’t show, and as an actor it’s such a great challenge to suppress things and to play with that inner battle.

And I feel like for women particularly, there’s always kind of a pressure to push things down.
Yeah it’s that [sense of] wanting to be crazy and wild but having society’s expectations over your head. [It’s] that fight, that inner struggle that’s been going on for years with women. And I think that really well-written characters [like that] are especially interesting to watch and fun to play.

Aubrey is such an extreme character. Do you feel like she’s someone that women will relate to?
I do. I know she’s extreme and that she desperately wants to be perfect. But I think there’s a bit of that in everyone, even men. Aubrey’s identity is her success in this a capella world. [She] takes it to the next level, of course, because she’s consumed by it, but I think people can relate to wanting to be successful and being afraid of not being perfect at all times. I know I can relate to that.

So, there's a scene toward the end of the film (and one toward the beginning) where your character projectile vomits. When you saw that scene in the script what was your initial reaction?
When I read the first throw-up scene I was like, “This is awesome, I have to do this. I don’t want anyone else to do that.” And then I got to the final throw-up scene and I thought, “This is crazy. How are they gonna do this? Am I really gonna throw up? Are we gonna CGI this whole thing? Like, how is this going down?” But I just love that [Aubrey] gets that release -- literally and emotionally. Getting to just go crazy after being held so tightly the whole film was awesome.

You're also in "The Mindy Project." How has it been working with Mindy Kaling, your co-star and the brains behind the show?
It’s been great. This is her passion project. She’s so invested in [the show] and the cast and in making it a really collaborative process.

Both "Pitch Perfect" and "The Mindy Project" are pretty female-driven comedies. Is there something special about working with other women vs. working on more male-dominated projects?
I don’t know if there’s anything different about it, but it’s great to see more female writers, directors [and] producers, like Lena Dunham.

And I think that the roles are getting better [for women]. I think that the audience wants to see women being put into to real situations where they can relate to them, rather than seeing some glamorous woman in a Bond film. It’s so refreshing to see women getting dirty and getting messy and not knowing what to do. And also being really smart. I think it’s a great time in this industry for women, and I’m just happy to be one.

Is there anything you can tell us about the way your role as Mindy's best friend will play out? Have you guys explored the backstory of your friendship?
Yeah, we have. My [character’s] life took a totally different path than hers immediately after college. We thought we would graduate from Princeton together, come to New York and be single in the city. But I get married super quick and have a kid. And there’s some jealousies from her part and from me, looking at her single life. And I think there are some really great scenes showcasing us wanting what the other one has, and then realizing that you know, we’re where we’re supposed to be.

I think in your 20s and early 30s, you can all of a sudden find yourself in a totally different place than your female friends are.
And you’re always comparing yourself! You’re comparing yourself to your best friend’s life, and saying “Why don’t I have that? But then I have this.” I think the relationship between Mindy and my character paints a great picture of that, and hopefully people can relate to it.

You've worked with a lot of great women recently -- Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Mindy Kaling. What other women would you love to work with?
I’m a huge fan of Jessica Lange and “American Horror Story.” I would love to work with her. She’s been one of my favorite actresses for a while. Annette Benning is also someone who I really look up to and love everything she does and just think she’s a fantastic actress. It would be like a dream to work with either of those women.

Before You Go

Scenes From "Pitch Perfect"

Popular in the Community