Known for her versatility, Anna Kendrick is a rising star in Hollywood. As a young actress, she quickly began making a name for herself taking on different roles in theatrical productions, which eventually got her recognised in the movie industry and even bagged her a Tony Award nomination - becoming the second youngest actor to do so at that time. Her performances in different films, such as 'Pitch Perfect' & 'Twilight', have brought her critical acclaim with her ability to blend into different characters and her seamless skill of sharing the screen with more recognisable names.
Anna was born in Portland, Maine. She attended two different schools with her brother Michael Cooke Kendrick, Longfellow Elementary School and Deering High School in her native homeland. Her mother, Janice Cooke is an accountant while her father, William Kendrick works as a history teacher. Anna pursued acting from the very tender age of 10; her parents would drive her all the way from Portland to New York City to attend various auditions. This eventually paid off as it helped her build a foundation for what would become a very successful career.
Anna enlisted the help of Kim Matuka to be her manager when she was only 10 and she has stuck with her up to today. She comes from a multinational background as she has English, Scottish and Irish heritage. Her maternal grandparents were Ronald and Ruth Cooke who both died in 2006 and 2011 respectively. Her brother, Michael also tried a hand in acting appearing in the 2000 independent film Looking for an Echo where he portrayed Jason, a Bar Mitzvah boy.
Anna started acting when she was 10 and got her career breakthrough when she landed a supporting role in the 1998 Broadway Musical High Society where she portrayed the character Dinah Lord. Her performance was met with critical acclaim and it garnered her different nominations like a Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She eventually won the award for Theatre World Award. This eventually led her to land a role in acclaimed director Stephen Sondheim’s 2003 New York City Opera production of A Little Music. Anna eventually made her big screen debut in the musical comedy portraying Fritzi Wagner which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for debut performance. She followed it up with a part in the comedy drama Rocket Science where she portrayed Ginny Ryerson an ambitious and competitive star of the Plainsboro High School debate team which earned her a second consecutive Independent Spirit Award nomination this time for Supporting Female.
Anna finally gained mainstream success when she got a role in the prominent 2008 fantasy romance film, Twilight which had been based on the novel of the same name. The film was a major box office success and it got a cult-like following and fans loved her portrayal of Jessica Stanley, the best friend of protagonist Bella Swan. She finally landed her first leading role in the comedy film, The Marc Pease Experience where she played the love interest of both Ben Stiller’s and Mark Schwartzman’s characters. Before the end of the year, she reprised her role in the sequel to the fantasy drama, Twilight: New Moon. Her most critically acclaimed role came in 2009 when she was cast opposite George Clooney in Jason Reitman’s drama Up in the Air. Her portrayal of an ambitious college graduate won the plaudits among most of the critics and she was nominated for every award at the end of the year including nominations for Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the BAFTA Awards. She was however unfortunate to not scoop any of the awards.
2010 was a good year for Anna as she had various roles in different movies, starting the year by reprising her role of Jessica Stanley in the third Twilight film. She followed it up by appearing in Edgar Wright’s cult classic film, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World which was a disappointment at the box office but over time developed a rather loyal following. She played the role of the sister to the main character. She then got a part in one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films, 50/50, portraying an inexperienced therapist to a severe cancer patient. The film was both a critical and commercial success. Anna finally rounded off the year by appearing for the fourth and the last time in the Twilight Saga series as Jessica Stanley.
The next year was a busy year for Anna due to her overwhelming success in the previous years and she started it off by playing Chace Crawford as part of the ensemble cast for the comedy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. She followed it up by voicing a character in the stop motion animated film, Paranorman which proved to be a critical success. Her next role was in the critically acclaimed drama End of Watch where she played opposite Jake Gylenhall’s character as his love interest. She was further cast in Robert Redford’s political thriller The Company You Keep as an FBI agent who is in involved with some of the main characters. She wrapped up her busy year by appearing in the successful musical comedy Pitch Perfect where she played the leading role of Beca Mitchell, a rebellious teenager who joins an accapela group to contest for a singing competition.
2013 was not such a busy year for her as she had only two major film roles. Anna had a role in the romantic comedy drama Drinking Buddies and followed it up with a part in the largely critiqued fantasy comedy Rapture-Palooza.
She started off the following year by premiering three movies at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She had leading roles in the comedy drama Happy Christmas and the film noir Voices and also got a supporting role in the comedy, Life after Beth. The three films all garnered positive or rather favorable reviews. She then premiered two films at the Toronto International Film Festival, playing alongside Jeremy Jordans in the thriller The Last Five Years. The film after its release garnered mixed reviews but Anna got widespread acclaim from all sections of the film industry for her performance. In the same year she took a supporting role opposite Jeniffer Aniston in the well received drama, Cake although the film endured through being released on limited release before eventually being given a wide bert. Her next role that year would be portraying Cinderella in the musical Into the Woods which had been adapted from earlier collaborator Stephen Sondheim earlier works. The film was received well by fans and critics alike after its release. It mostly got plaudits due to its wide ensemble which consisted of Academy Award winner Meryl Streep and global movie stars like Johnny Depp and Chris Pine.
Anna next took on a new role in the drama Digging Fire which also premiered at the Sundance festival as most of her films did. Later that year she returned for the sequel to her successful film Pitch Perfect eventually reprising her part of Beca Mitchell. The film proved to be bigger than its predecessor, continuing where it left off in terms of box office numbers and making it clear that Anna had now become a genuine box office draw. She was next seen playing alongside Sam Rockwell in the action comedy Mr. Right where she played his love interest. She then continued with her streak of releasing films in the Sundance Film Festival by debuting The Hollars, a comedy drama that also starred John Krasinski. She had a busy 2016 adding the coming-of-age film Get a Job to her resume where she starred alongside Miles Teller in the long delayed production. Next she played the leading role in the commercially successful comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. In the movie, she starred opposite Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron and comedy star Adam DeVine. She then wrapped up the year by joining Ben Affleck in the highly successful thriller The Accountant. She also starred opposite Justin Timberlake in the 2016 hit animation movie Trolls. For her next project, she will be collaborating with Lisa Kudrow and June Squib in an upcoming comedy film that is due to be released sometime in March 2017.
Anna is one of the brightest stars in the industry and her work ethic is lauded from all sections, often appearing in an average of three movies a year. Over her long illustrious career so far she has been able to bag several awards along with hosts of various nominations in different categories, including being the second youngest ever nominee for a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and finally a Fany Award for her work in musicals. In her big screen roles, she has garnered critical acclaim but hasn’t been lucky enough to get some of the big awards like the Oscars and the Golden Globes but has been nominated for her various roles. The one that stands out from the bunch is her role in Up in the Air where she was able to bag all the major nominations but failed to go home with any of them.
Despite her critical acclaim garnered from the various films she had starred in, she remained relatively unknown until she got mainstream recognition in the comedy musical, Pitch Perfect where she had a leading role. Apart from acting, Anna is also a talented singer and has lent her voice to many musicals throughout her career. Her rendition of the song ‘Cups (When I’m Gone)’ that she performed in Pitch Perfect was a huge commercial hit garnering hundreds of millions of views on Youtube. The song also peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts and had by then sold more than 2.5 million digital downloads in the United States alone. She also appeared in LCD soundsystem’s music video ‘Pow Wow’ back in 2010. She has also had the opportunity to join a long list of distinguished celebrities who have hosted Saturday Night Live, with Pharell as musical guest.
Anna Kendrick currently resides in Los Angeles, California living in her own house. She dated director Edgar Wright from late 2009 to 2013 who she worked with in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World before they finally parted ways. For a while afterwards she was linked to actor Jake Gylenhall after the pair were seen spending time together but no evidence of their romantic relationship was ever brought forward by the media tabloids.
After that, she then began dating cinematographer Ben Richardson whom she has collaborated with on Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas and Digging for Fire. They have been in a steady relationship since August 2014. Anna has also admitted to taking a liking to old screwball comedies but prefers modern comedies like 2007’s Hot Fuzz and 2001’s Wet Hot American.
Written by: Emily Smith