Interview with Anna Kendrick of “50/50”
September 16, 2011, Dallas , Texas
PO : How was the Q & A last night after the screening?
AK: Oh, it was really fun. Everybody had real insightful questions. I don’t normally do Q & A’s on my own, so I was nervous. Everybody seemed to like the movie, unless they’re just saying that because I’m there. (smiles)
PO : They told me that you made lemonade out of lemons. You got this kind of dumb question and you made it something nice and you answered the question that should have been asked.
AK: (smiles)
PO : Of course it was your publicist, but still, it was complimentary…
AK: (smiles) Yeah, I try to get better about that. When people ask about George Clooney, I say, “I still have Seth Rogen!”
PO : Tell me how it felt to be a counselor. And I ask that in the context of my being a Pastor. I was talking to a lady in my church just this morning who was telling me that she got so depressed when her husband got ill, and she had to take care of him for so long…the caretaker thing… that her counselor has helped her so much. And I’m sitting there thinking, “You know, with all the jokes and caricatures about counselors, they actually do some real people a lot of good.”
AK: Yeah.
PO : Did you feel that when you were assuming that role?
AK: Well, I’ve always had a positive view of talk therapy. Growing up, it was something the kids in my community thought of as for crazy people, but that was always strange to me, because we talked about our feelings a lot in my family, so I’ve never had a negative view of them. The tricky thing is, I don’t want to do a disservice to an entire profession, but at the same time, this character is new, and inexperienced, and young, and she’s not very good at her job. So I hope that people won’t think that’s indicative of an entire group of people. The woman who worked with me talked about the mistakes she made when she was just starting, and we tried to put that into Katherine, because she’s making all those kinds of mistakes.
PO : Everybody’s new and young at some point, and makes mistakes.
AK: Right.
PO : So I think people can identify with that.
AK: Well good. I imagine her having her first two patients as older, but now, when she gets somebody younger, and is challenged a little bit, she’s at her worst, and says all the wrong things.
PO : But she recovers when he called her at home.
AK: Right. I think they connect when they’re in the car together, and she kinda forgets that he’s a patient in a therapist relationship, which says to me that she has good instincts and she will be a good therapist. She’s “getting it” in her own way. And I think it was important when she said, “I’m just trying the best that I can.” We all feel that way, we’re just too embarrassed to admit it, particularly at 24.
PO : And that made her endearing, I thought.
AK: Yeah. I hope so! Katherine’s drive doesn’t come from ambition, it comes from a genuine desire to help people, and she’s not doing it. So what attracted me to her is that she’s started out at something where she’s terrified that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. And that vulnerability is so on the surface. That honesty made me want to play that role. A comedy about cancer could have gone spectacularly bad, but I’m proud of this movie. I’ve cried every time I’ve seen it. We were worried that where a patient and a therapist develop feelings for each other, people wouldn’t like that, so at first the romantic aspect was more ambiguous. But luckily, people seemed to root for us, which is all we could ask for. I was worried about feeling the wrath of counselors and therapists everywhere: “What kind of a person would do that?”
PO : A person who gets prosecuted!
AK: (smiles) So we tried to be very delicate. And I’m glad that people are getting the humor.
PO : What about the whole God issue of “Did God make this happen? Cause this to happen? Allow it to happen?”
AK: Well, all I can say about that is that you can’t help the hand you’re dealt, you can only change how you deal with it.
PO : Sounds like a therapist!
AK: My favorite movies are ones that ask questions instead of answer them. I think the issue here was more like, “When something like this happens to you, who do you turn to, and who do you want around you?”
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St.Stephens Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas