Anna Kendrick Talks Working with Ben Affleck and Taking over Twitter

The actress has a new book, Scrappy Little Nobody, out November 15.

Anna Kendrick

Image by Pamela Littky

Anna Kendrick may be appearing in blockbusters with Ben Affleck and vastly improving Twitter with her very funny tweets, but once upon a time, the Pitch Perfect star was just a theater kid, growing up in Portland, Maine, and making long road trips to New York to audition for shows. She chronicles that, and her journey from Broadway star to Twilight player, in her new book Scrappy Little Nobody, which comes out November 15. She’ll be in town Wednesday for her book tour, but in the meantime, she shared some thoughts about the changing scene in Portland, working with Affleck (who she says she thinks “very very highly of, as a coworker and as an actor”), and what it was like to see her Twitter feed blow up.

When did the idea for the book come up? Were you approached, or were you thinking, I want to write a book now?

I was approached several times, and it was kind of a slow process. There was part of me that thought, oh, I’ll just write a little bit, and they’ll probably tell me, never mind, no harm no foul, and we’ll all just go about our lives, and that never happened, and then before I knew it, I had written a book. So I feel a little bit like a lot of really smart women worked black magic on me, because when smart, driven women tell me they believe in me and that they think I can do it, I am very easily manipulated, and the publishing world, it turns out, is filled with smart, interesting women, so I blame them, actually.

Did you and Ben Affleck bond over your New England roots while filming The Accountant?

Well, I knew that he had put money on the Super Bowl, and my first day working with him was the day after the Super Bowl. So I had a real personal stake in that game, not only as a New England fan, but knowing that it would materially affect my job, and my first day on the job, with my famous movie star coworker. It was getting really down to the wire in that game, and I was like freaking out in the hotel bar, gripping my seat and screaming because I wanted the Patriots to win, but I also really didn’t want my lead actor to come in miserable that day, but thank god, they won, and he was in such a great mood, patting everybody on the back, and just talking about the game, so that made my life easier. 

Has seeing how much Portland has changed over the years been strange to witness over the years from far away?

Well, yeah. Without realizing that it had happened, I managed to not visit home for like three years. My parents ended up coming to California to visit me a couple years in a row, so I really didn’t notice that I hadn’t been home in a while, and then I went home, and like Central Provisions, and Whole Foods, and all these fancy things had cropped up. I don’t know! I’m excited about it because I love Portland and I want it to thrive and grow, but there’s definitely part of me that’s like, I remember when we were throwing bricks through the Starbucks window because we were like, f—k gentrification! I mean, I wasn’t, but my brother was.

Of course not.

I wasn’t, because I was a f—king goodie two shoes, but you know, the community was tacitly accepting of the bricks through the Starbucks windows.

So there might have been some protests there.

Yeah. I mean, I don’t know, obviously, I just want whatever is best for that city, although my mom, who is in so many ways a people pleaser and she’s this super smart professional woman, she told me that they got a Whole Foods, and she told me by saying, yeah, I don’t like going to the Whole Foods, everyone acts like they’re on a f—king yacht. I was like, ah, Mom, you’re the best. New England moms, eh?

You’ve also sung with two different late night hosts. Who’s the better accompanist? Corden or Colbert?

Ooh, that’s tricky. I think Corden has the better pop voice, but Colbert’s got those old school, theater deep roots. He’s got super intense musical theater knowledge, which was fun to talk about. I don’t know that James knows every Sondheim song note-perfect, but I have a feeling that Stephen does.

He’s a big Lord of the Rings fan too. He knows all the Elvin languages and stuff.

Oh, I know! That episode when James Franco challenged him to Lord of the Rings trivia? I was like, I’ve never been more attracted to a human being than I am to Stephen Colbert getting, like, really overconfident about Lord of the Rings trivia.

Did you notice a tipping point with Twitter where it went from you just cracking some jokes on there and then all of a sudden Buzzfeed is making a list of all of your tweets?

I would say that I did two tweets about masturbation—one was about telling journalists that I masturbate in my free time, and the other was about masturbating to Ryan Gosling, which was also a joke. They were both jokes, just to be clear. Well, actually the first one’s kind of a true joke. But it was after that because I had done those tweets before. And then it was a lot easier to create, “Oh, the girl who tweeted that thing about masturbating tweeted this.” So yeah. I would say after whenever that was.

After that era of really quality masturbation tweets that you had going on.

Those easy days. Those simpler times.

$38 (book included), 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 16, John Hancock Hall/Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St., Boston,