Anna Kendrick Admits The Hardest Things She Was Ever Asked To Do For Press (And How Terrified Everyone Is Of David Letterman)

Press tours are no longer about simply answering questions anymore. There are so many unique TV, online and radio shows that put actors through interesting experiences for our entertainment. Anna Kendrick has certainly been a part of plenty throughout her career, between her late night appearances, one recent film festival attendance that left her accidentally stuck in an elevator and so forth. The Pitch Perfect and Twilight actress recently spoke to some of the especially tough parts of that element of the job. 

Ironically enough, Anna Kendrick was being treated to “the wings of death” on Hot Ones when she shared what it’s like to do some of the massive press tours she’s done over the years. As the actress shared:  

I think a bunch of people might have asked if I would do the cup thing while I was promoting the first Pitch Perfect movie. And I never did it because I knew that I wanted to save it in case Letterman wanted it. Because everyone is afraid of Letterman. You kind of save your best stories for him because he’s intimidating.

David Letterman has long been among the most respected names in late night, having his own slot on TV from the ‘80s to 2015, when he decided to retire. Letterman has since returned in the form of his excellent and more intimate Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. As Anna Kendrick revealed, many actors are very intimidated by the host, and she would save her best stories for his show. Kendrick continued: 

But the hardest thing I ever did was on a British radio show. I was promoting Trolls and I was with Justin Tumberlake and we had to call toy stores. Every sentence that I said had to start with the next letter of the alphabet. Because it’s so hard but it seems so simple that you’ll feel really stupid if you don’t do it. So I was really stressed out about it. I think I was hoping Justin would say no to it, and then he didn’t and I was like ‘You son of a bitch, now I have to do it!’

The appearance Kendrick is referring to is the BBC Radio 1 radio segment “AlphabetiCALL” where actors prank call businesses and are challenged to start every new sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. Check out Kendrick and Justin Timberlake’s 2016 appearance here: 

You can tell Anna Kendrick is super stressed about the whole thing, telling the host ”please don’t make me do that” before calling a toy store to complete the challenge. In the video, Kendrick absolutely kills it, doing a better job than her Trolls co-star, but she shared it made her “feel like an ass” because she felt like she was wasting the worker’s time. Tons of other actors have done BBC’s “AlphabetiCALL” like Chris Pratt, Jason Momoa, Daniel Radcliffe and Will Arnett, and it is super fun to watch them all prank random businesses. As Kendrick shared, she was actually “really stressed” about doing the whole thing, but because Timberlake said yes, she followed his lead. 

Anna Kendrick’s latest movie is Alice, Darling, which has been hailed a career-best performance by CinemaBlend when we caught the movie at TIFF. Looking forward, Kendrick will reprise her voice role as Poppy in the third Trolls movie, which is among the 2023 movie release schedule for November 17. Kendrick has also announced her directorial debut with a thriller called The Dating Game. We often watch some of the press tour offerings for fun, but as Kendrick shed light on, they can sometimes be quite stressful for actors. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.