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In the making of Noelle, Anna Kendrick had the opportunity to play a character with a totally different kind of life than her own – starring as the eponymous daughter of Santa Claus forced to go on a globetrotting mission to find her wayward brother (Bill Hader). That being said, at the start of production the actor believed she had at least one nice connection to Noelle via her experience has an ice skater.
As she learned during filming, however, that connection wasn’t quite as strong as she initially believed, as her skills on the ice didn’t exactly live up to her own expectations.
When Noelle was in production back in late 2017, I had the pleasure of joining a group of journalists to fly up to Vancouver, Canada and visit the set – and the day included a roundtable interview with Anna Kendrick. When the subject of her personal Christmases as a child came up, she recalled skating on a pond near her house, and connected it to her time filming the movie because of how it led to a bit of overconfidence in her skating skills:
We had snowy Christmases, and I would skate – there's a pond near my house that I would hobble over to and skate. And I had to skate for this movie, actually, and was like, ‘Well I have skated on a little pond when I was a kid so I'm sure it’ll be like riding a bike.’ It was not like riding a bike. I definitely looked like Bambi learning to walk the first couple of lessons.
It’s an image that just about all of us can instantly recall: the baby Bambi trying to take steps, but ultimately tangling legs and falling to the ground. Now just replace the young fawn with Anna Kendrick, and the forest floor with ice, and you can well imagine what some of her time was like during the making of Noelle.
While there were surely some bumps and bruises in the process for the actor, this story has an extra happy ending. This is because Anna Kendrick apparently really loved skating around once she eventually got her bearings, and she even found that it had a positive effect for communication between herself and writer/director Marc Lawrence. Said Kendrick,
Now I kind of miss it because I could just like skate over to the director and ask a question and then skate back. It's a much more efficient form of transportation, really.
So, in the future, if you wind up noticing that Anna Kendrick starts taking on more and more roles that involve skating, now you know why.
It all starts with Noelle, which is now available on Disney+. The film, which co-stars Shirley MacLaine, Billy Eichner, Michael Gross, Julie Hagerty, and Ron Funches in addition to Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, is included as a launch title with the new streaming service. You can watch it now if you have already signed up for an account, and if you haven’t, you can use this link for a free 7-day trial.