What do you get when you put the bawdy scene-stealing Aussie comedian from Bridesmaids and Bachelorette and the goofy, loveable slacker from Comedy Central's Workaholics together? If you guessed endlessly quotable lines, tongue-in-cheek musical comedy and utterly tangible chemistry, you'd be right. Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine might seem like an unlikely pair, but they prove in the smash spoof Pitch Perfect that two massive personalities make for an incredible show.
Just before the premiere of their a cappella comedy, Wilson and DeVine met with Buzzine's Tim Wassberg to talk about the silliness of singing, their favorite pop songs, and hitting the down-beat.
Tim Wassberg: Obviously every type of film or television show has its own challenges. What were some of the challenges you faced doing a tongue-in-cheek musical comedy like Pitch Perfect?
Rebel Wilson: Well, musical films are the most challenging because you can't just get there and act. You've got to do the preparation of the singing and the dancing. It's like two additional elements on top of just being funny.
Adam DeVine: It was a ton of work, man. It was a lot of work.
RW: Yeah, we had a four-week boot camp/rehearsal period where we had to try.
AD: A lot more sweating than in a normal movie or TV show.
RW: Yeah, because with the constant dancing, you do sweat in-between takes.
TW: People were talking about the fact that it's singing and dancing at the same time. Did you receive lessons or study certain techniques?
RW: You have to work on your breathing, yeah.
AD: Yeah, breathing techniques. Who knew? It makes me appreciate Beyonce a lot more. I'm, like, "Damn, girl. You're just shaking it everywhere, you're moving over there."
RW: Yeah, it's really tough, especially when the choreography is not necessarily to what you're singing or to the melody sometimes. It depends on what it's—
AD: If you have the lead, it's a lot easier in a cappella, because you don't have to sing on beat.
RW: All the crazy background stuff.
AD: When you're the beat person, when you're the person that's just going, "Bop, bop, bop," that's difficult—
RW: In some songs, I was doing, "Do, do, do," on the offbeat, but all my actions were on the downbeat, so it's complicated.
AD: I didn't even know what that meant. They were, like, "You're coming in on the downbeat." I'm, like, "Yeah." "Okay, that's when you're supposed to come in," "Definitely."
RW: Coming in on a beat.
TW: You both get a fair amount of solo time. Which song did you find the most difficult to learn and perform, choreography and all?
RW: Our finale routine. The girl group that I'm in, the Bellas, the thing we presented at the finale is so complicated musically. If you looked at the sheet music, you're like, "Whoa." Our routine changed six or seven times in the rehearsal period. Different songs were put in and then taken out, and they wanted to have it the best routine possible. We had to learn, and then relearn, and then relearn.
AD: Off sheet?
RW: Yeah, so that was pretty tricky, but I think the end result is brilliant when it comes up to the finale in the movie.
AD: I can't read any sort of sheet music. I'm not musically trained at all—at all.
RW: He's just a comedy monster.
AD: It was just the beginning first few weeks that were the toughest for me, trying to wrap my head around all the terminology that they would just throw around.
TW: How did you know you could do it? If you don’t read sheet music, how do you know if you can hit a note or not?
AD: They were saying, "Just like that? I think I could do that." It was just committing, because I would get scared. I'd go to belt something out and then go, "No, people are watching." They were, like, "If you just commit to it, it'll turn out right."
RW: I've done some musical theater in the past so I've had a bit of a background, but a cappella, it's raw. All it is your voices, so if you don't sound good, you can really tell.
AD: It's on you. You can't be, like, "The guitar riff threw me."
TW: Did the songs you performed change your musical taste at all? Do you enjoy the type of music you were singing?
AD: For me, it's a separate thing, because a cappella music is still pretty nerdy—even after this whole thing—but it's cool. It's cool to watch a cappella singers do it, and I can appreciate it a lot more—
RW: Yeah, because it's very hard.
AD: —but it's still hilariously funny to watch somebody who isn't the main singer. The main singer is just the singer, but it's fun to watch the people in the background that are just going, "Mah, ah, mah, ah."
RW: Yeah, and once you've had a background, you look at the background dudes and you're, like, "Okay."
AD: Or just someone pretending like they have a baseball. It's so dumb.
Universal Pictures' 'Pitch Perfect' opened Friday, October 5th, 2012 and is currently playing in theaters nationwide.