The Complete Evolution Of Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick has become one of the most well-liked and highly appreciated actors in Hollywood: between her hilarious, self-deprecating Twitter feed and her ever-increasing list of movie credits, Kendrick is both working hard and working her way into peoples' hearts. 

While the movie-going public knows her primarily for her roles in "Twilight," "Up in the Air," and the "Pitch Perfect" franchise, Kendrick has an impressive backstory. Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Kendrick began her acting career as a child performing in community theater. She went on to commute between Portland and New York City while she was on Broadway, and is now known for her incredible voice and impressive work ethic in the midst of the usual Hollywood antics.

From her childhood in Portland to her time on Broadway, and then on to her life as a Hollywood starlet, Kendrick's trajectory involves some incredible stories and fascinating facts.

She started out in community theater

While the public primarily knows Kendrick for her roles in the "Twilight" and "Pitch Perfect" movies, she actually began her acting career at age 6. As she writes in her autobiography, "Scrappy Little Nobody," she was raised in her hometown of Portland, Maine, and her dance teacher suggested that she try out for the local community theater's production of "Annie." Kendrick landed her first role as Tessie, and this started Kendrick on a path that changed her life.  

Once she got her start on the stage, she knew it was the right place for her: "Doing the show ['Annie'] was the best," she writes. "Being tiny was a good thing, being loud was a good thing. In everything else I'd done in my six years on earth, I'd been told I had too much energy, but here I had somewhere to channel it all!" Her role in "Annie" led to a subsequent role in the Maine State Musical Theater's production of "Gypsy," where she played Baby June. 

She began auditioning in New York at age 10

After earning her stripes in community theater, she went on to audition for commercials when she was only 10 years old. "At ten, I stood in a modest office in Manhattan and sang "Tomorrow" from "Annie," she writes in her autobiography, "Scrappy Little Nobody." "At that age, I didn't have a big resume, and I wasn't expected to ... I had a big voice that stood in exponential contrast to my size. I could learn a melody. I didn't sound like a dying cat."

However, it soon became clear that commercials weren't the right fit for her. After months of commercial auditions, Kendrick's agent decided that she should only audition for theater roles — a decision that, as Kendrick notes, made her much happier. The thing that made her happiest about this turn of events? "Professional auditions were in New York," she writes, "which meant that one of my parents had to take time off work, drive me six hours into the city for an audition that usually lasted ten minutes, and then drive me six hours back." Talk about dedication!

She landed a role on Broadway at age 12

Eventually, at age 12 — and after many bus trips between Maine and New York City for auditions, which were eventually supervised by her 14-year-old brother — she wound up being cast as Dinah Lord in the Broadway production of "High Society." However, as she writes in "Scrappy Little Nobody," it wasn't as glamorous as it sounds. The producers gave Kendrick and her father, who was living with her in New York during the course of the show, a modest per diem to keep them afloat — but when the show was over, she only walked away with $250 in cash.

Nonetheless, as she also notes in her autobiography, "It wasn't a financial win, but the experience was incredible." The show's cast treated her wonderfully, she notes, giving her encouragement, good advice, and help whenever she needed it — and they even sped up the tempo of the last show before her less-than-48-hour break, just so she and her dad could beat the traffic on their drive home to Maine. Her performance also earned her a nomination for a Tony Award, which is quite an accomplishment for a 12-year-old!

Anna was angsty about her height as a kid

At just 5'2", Anna Kendrick is known for her somewhat short stature. As an adult, she's grown to embrace being small — but as a child, it wasn't always so easy.

"I was angsty about my height when I was younger," the actor told Esquire in 2015. In fact, as she explained to Glamour, she actually avoided wearing heels. "I had this crazy idea that if I wore them people would notice and say, 'You're not even tall in heels!'" she confessed. In fact, Kendrick even admitted that she used to worry her height would make her less attractive. "I used to think that guys preferred tall women," she said to Esquire. "But plenty of them like short girls."

Even though Kendrick used to worry about being judged for her height, she's learned to embrace it — she even enjoys wearing heels now. "I love [my height] now. Why wouldn't you want to be a little compact being?" the actor said to Esquire. 

Her first movie role was in an independent film

At 17, Kendrick made her first foray into film, acting in the role of Fritzi Wagner in the independent film "Camp." The movie, which centers on a musical theater summer camp, features Kendrick as a nerdy, scheming character who tries desperately to earn the affection of the camp's cool girl and queen bee, Jill.

"My character in Camp is lonely, isolated, dark," she explained in an interview on NPR's Fresh Air. "She is in love with the very blond, very popular girl at camp. And she becomes something of a servant to her, really. But that's fine with Fritzi, my character, because she's sort of ambiguously in love with her. And nobody really likes Fritzi, but then she gets the last laugh." 

Spoiler alert: After being rebuffed and bullied by Jill, Kendrick's character eventually gets her revenge by putting Woolite in Jill's Snapple and, when Jill becomes sick to her stomach, quickly taking her place in the camp's final performance. 

Twilight was her big break

Five years after her role in "Camp," she landed the role that started helping her bring home the bacon: playing Jessica Stanley in the "Twilight" saga. Writing in "Scrappy Little Nobody" that the role allowed her to have "all of the fun with none of the consequences," she explained that playing the role of Jessica offered her the best of both worlds because she got to participate in one of the most popular franchises in years, but only had to be on set for a few weeks per movie.

It also brought her into the big-ticket Hollywood universe without, as she describes, "saddling me with the creepy super-fame." While other "Twilight" stars like Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson couldn't so much as sneeze without the paparazzi noticing, she escaped that particular brand of madness, while still earning a decent paycheck. "The series kept me in room and board while I did [independent] movies for no money," she wrote. "It was like the world's most ridiculous day job." 

Anna Kendrick experienced a new kind of filmmaking (and relationship) with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

In 2010, Anna Kendrick starred in the comic book-inspired film "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." For Kendrick, the project was a whole new filming experience because of the highly stylized nature of the movie. "It was definitely really kind of odd and technical, because of the way that it looks," she told Interview Magazine. "The process was definitely unlike anything I've ever done before. Like there's a scene where I'm on the phone with Michael Cera, and we had to do a split screen, so I had a little earpiece in my ear. I was listening to the footage that he'd already shot, and I just had to like fit my lines into the space in between his lines."

Not only was the technical aspect of the filming different, but she also developed a relationship with the film's director, Edgar Wright, after meeting him on set. The relationship proved to be difficult for the actor. In fact, when the paparazzi took pictures of them, she was horrified. "I started crying immediately," she told The Guardian of the pictures. "It was like someone emailing a picture of you sleeping. It felt scary and dangerous. It still does. I try to ignore it."

Pitch Perfect changed everything for her

After filming "Pitch Perfect 2" — which, according to Variety, grossed $287 million and is the highest-earning musical comedy film in history — followed by "Pitch Perfect 3," Kendrick has been open about missing the series now that it's done. "We went to dinner after the last night of filming, and I was all drunk and emotional," she said in an interview with Elle.  

While the cast became good friends during the first two movies (co-star Brittany Snow told People that the cast members are "on a massive text chain with each other. ... We all really love and support each other") Kendrick explained that they got particularly close while filming the third installment. "I just feel so proud," she said during her interview with Elle. "It's such a diverse group. I think I didn't fully appreciate until the third one how rare it is to work with ten women from such different backgrounds. We're close in age, but we have such different points of view and such different senses of humor. I feel very lucky."

Pitch Perfect was was originally a low-budget film

"Pitch Perfect," which is arguably Kendrick's most prominent and popular movie, was originally a low-budget film. As the Hollywood Reporter notes, the 2012 surprise hit was produced for $17 million — which, by Hollywood standards, isn't terribly high-budget. While it grossed a fairly middle-of-the-road $113 million at the box office worldwide, it really hit its stride outside the theater: once it was available for video-on-demand, iTunes, and other platforms, it grossed another $103 million. "The weird thing is it happened so slowly," Kendrick told Glamour UK.

The soundtrack became its own force of nature, going platinum — and, if that weren't enough, a full year after the movie was released, Kendrick's song "Cups" reached number one on Billboard's adult contemporary chart and went on to be certified triple-platinum. "It completely surprised me, especially considering we didn't promote the song at all," she said in an interview with Parade. "When it was in the Top 10 Billboard chart, I was on the charts with, like, Macklemore and Miley Cyrus at the time. They must have been like, 'What is this dumb song?'"

After Pitch Perfect, she wanted to move away from musicals

Anna Kendrick proved what a talented singer she was starting as a child in the theater. But starring in the "Pitch Perfect" franchise, which centers around a college a cappella group, showcased her talent on the big screen to a larger audience. It's no wonder people wanted to see more of what she could do. However, Kendrick herself was hesitant to box herself into musical roles.

She told The Wrap, "Honestly, after 'Pitch Perfect,' I wouldn't have ever wanted to do a musical ... I would have intentionally tried not to do a musical." However, those plans changed when she was offered leading roles in the film adaptation of two popular musicals, "The Last Five Years" and "Into The Woods." Of those opportunities, Kendrick said, "You can't really say no."

Both films pushed her even more than "Pitch Perfect" had. "Ten girls have to be able to sing the songs so it's going to be fine," the actress said about the singing parts in"Pitch Perfect." She continued, saying, "But doing 'The Last Five Years' and then 'Into the Woods' straight away, I was like, I don't want to have to think about my voice so much. I want to be able to drink beer whenever I want." Kendrick even went so far as to joke, "I never want to sing again, honestly. It's hard as f***."

After playing rivals in A Simple Favor, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively had an alleged feud

Anna Kendrick starred alongside Blake Lively in the psychological thriller "A Simple Favor." In the film, the actors play unlikely best friends turned enemies. Oddly enough, during the press tour of the film, some very real tensions seemed to rise between the actors. Apparently, there was one day on set when it all kicked off. Lively explained to BuzzFeed that she had been given an extra hour of sleep after a late night of filming — but Kendrick still had to come in at the usual time. "That was the day I decided I hate you," Kendrick added. "It was so mortifying," replied Lively. Rumors quickly spread of a feud between the pair.

While this interview may sound pretty bad, in reality, Kendrick seemed to be just teasing Lively. In fact, their co-star Henry Golding confirmed that the feud was all fiction. "Definitely not, I think they got on pretty reasonably well," he said on "Watch What Happens Live" (via Twitter).

George Clooney had a massive impact on her

After "Twilight," she was cast as Natalie Keener in "Up in the Air" with George Clooney. Kendrick told Time Out London that it was her first time playing a character her own age. "I've played high-school kids my whole life, this time I felt like I was sitting at the grown-ups' table," she said. She loved playing the role of a strong, well-rounded woman who wasn't sexualized or used as a romantic prop for Clooney's character. Instead, she said, "[Natalie] tries to be one of the boys. ... Her way of doing that is to take the hardest job going, just to prove she can do it."

She was also super nervous about working with Clooney, but he helped her relax by admitting that he gets nervous too. She discussed her nerves on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast (via Vanity Fair), saying that when Clooney said he gets nervous, "It was the smallest thing, but it, like, opened up my world. ... Just a couple of words from [Clooney] and you're like, "Oh, my God, he's a person! I'm a person. WE'RE THE SAME!"

She felt younger than her age

"There are times when I still feel like an actual toddler in a grown-up — well, semi-grown-up — body," she explained to Glamour in 2015, just before her 30th birthday. "I feel I'm masquerading as an adult when I don't have the kind of friendships and routines that I thought you were supposed to have as an adult. It's the 'Friends lied to me!' syndrome."

In fact, her feeling of not being on top of life as an adult was part of what led to her decision to write "Scrappy Little Nobody." "I think there's something that happens in my brain, and I hope I'm not alone in this, where I feel like everybody but me is a grown-up," she told Vogue in 2016. And, as she explained, the driving force behind the book was not only to entertain but to connect with others and help them feel less alone. "My goals for this book were to make people laugh, to feel connected to people, and maybe get people to feel more connected to me," she said. You're definitely not alone in this, Anna — we suspect many women can relate!

She struggled to be taken seriously in her career

Anna Kendrick shared with Elite Daily in 2019 that she'd been frustrated by how often her opinions are dismissed on movie sets. It may seem natural that she would have had some difficulty getting taken seriously when her career started at such a young age, but according to Kendrick, she continued getting treated that way even once her career was well established.

Kendrick said she's enjoyed working on more collaborative film sets. She gave the example of her relationship with the director, Chris Morris, in the 2019 political satire, "The Day Shall Come." "I can say to Chris Morris, 'I think it makes more sense if I do this in my scene,' and whether we end up agreeing or not, we'll talk about it and he really values my opinion," Kendrick said. But unfortunately, that's not always been her experience. The actress recalled feeling belittled and dismissed when offering her opinion on other projects. "There are sets where it's like, 'No honey, grown ups are talking,'" Kendrick said.

She became a producer

As an actor, Anna Kendrick felt like she didn't have a lot of say in the projects she was part of, and because some directors didn't consider her input, she began to get frustrated with her lack of control. By 2019, she'd had enough success and experience that she wanted her opinion taken seriously. So, she decided to take on her first project as an executive producer for an episode of "Human Discoveries," a project for which she also did voice acting.

Kendrick told Elite Daily, "Being able to have that role and know that I'm not just speaking as an actor, and that I'm involved from the beginning and that decisions that get made have to kind of go through me is kind of a nice feeling." Since 2019, Kendrick has tallied up several more producing credits on "Dummy," "Stowaway," "Alice, Darling," and "Love Life," all of which she also starred in.

By stepping into producing, Kendrick took an important step in controlling her career. Talking about the experience, she said: "Honestly, just kind of having a seat at the table and knowing that my voice is important on that is a really great feeling."

She spent some time on the small screen

Anna Kendrick has strived to keep her personal relationships out of the news, but that doesn't mean that they haven't influenced her work. In HBO Max's 2020 series, "Love Life," Anna Kendrick starred as Darby Carter. The series followed her character throughout the years in different romantic relationships. Because the show takes place over several years, Darby changes a lot.

In the beginning, it explored "the ugly side of dating in your early 20s," she told the Television Academy. "But, by the end, I was like, this is who I aspire to be." Kendrick had never starred in a TV show before, but she told Emmy Magazine that she loved the script so much she decided to take the role and co-executive produce the project, marking a big stepping stone in her career.

As much as Darby inspired her, Kendrick also informed the character's journey, as she told the magazine that they used some of her own romantic history as inspiration. "I unloaded my entire relationship history to the writers because I have recently been a young woman on these exact journeys," Kendrick explained. She added that anything from her life was altered and spread out over different parts of the story, so no one would necessarily know who inspired those moments. "It was really interesting to see the details getting sliced and diced into the show," she continued saying. "They're peppered enough so that nobody looks too much like anybody I've dated."

She's proving herself in subtle acting roles

Throughout her career, Anna Kendrick has proven her versatility time and time again. Whether she's in a live performance, comedy, or drama, her talent always shines through. And she's been recognized for that talent with Oscar and Emmy nominations. Fans can see the actress showing off her acting chops again in a challenging role in the 2022 thriller "Alice, Darling." Kendrick stars in the film along with Wunmi Mosaku of Marvel's "Loki" and Kaniehtiio Horn. The three women are playing best friends on a girls' trip, but the mystery intensifies as Kendrick's character, Alice, begins acting strangely and keeping secrets about her boyfriend.

Once again, it seems Kendrick brought her A-game to the role. The film's director, Mary Nighy, told Deadline how Kendrick and the rest of the cast had impressed her, saying, "Alice, Darling is a subtle, nuanced story about coercion and control. As a director, I couldn't wish for a better cast of talented actors and creatives to bring this important story to life. The chemistry between Anna Kendrick, Wunmi Mosaku, and Kaniehtiio Horn as the three friends is a joy to see."

Anna Kendrick got to revisit her childhood and showcase her singing skills with Trolls

As of 2023, Anna Kendrick has appeared in a grand total of four "Trolls" films as the voice of Poppy. For Kendrick, the animated franchise offered her a great opportunity to pay homage to her childhood self. As the actor told Collider, she was a big fan of the trolls toys as a child. "I had trolls, growing up," she said, adding that even she couldn't understand why she loved them so much. "They are that kind of ugly cute. It's hard to say what draws kids to them, but I think it's like pug dogs. They're so ugly that they're cute."

While Kendrick was excited to revisit her favorite childhood toys, she was also eager to appear in an animated musical film. "When they said there was a musical element I was so excited, because, you know, I grew up with 'The Little Mermaid' and 'The Lion King' and all kinds of, like, musical films ... I think music adds so much to animation, it just feels like they belong together," she said in an interview (via YouTube). It sounds like these films tick all of the boxes when it comes to her childhood interests! 

She's trying to bring silliness into her life

After all her hard work to achieve success in her industry, it seems only fair that Anna Kendrick has some time for fun and relaxation. And that, she told Shape, is precisely what she is trying to bring into her life now. During the interview, the actress discussed her desire to bring more silliness into her life, saying, "I'm trying to have a sense of play."

She shared how exhausting it was to keep working at such a fast pace. "A lot of my life over the last decade has been work, recover, work, recover," Kendrick said. "That doesn't leave much room for anything else. That's the mindset and the reality for a lot of people. You work and then recover so you can work some more. Putting some fun and silliness into my life is one of my goals."

She's looking to bring those relaxed and fun elements into both her career and day-to-day life. It seems she found a project with that silly energy when she starred in and produced the show "Dummy." She described the show calling it "funny and silly and obviously over the top." Hopefully, we can look forward to more light-hearted and fun roles in Kendrick's future, along with more dramatic and intense ones.

She's still shocked when people recognize her

After starring in huge blockbuster franchises like "Twilight" and "Pitch Perfect," as well as indie projects, and everything in between, it's not surprising that Anna Kendrick is quite recognizable in public. That is, it's not surprising to anyone but Kendrick herself. In a 2021 "Late Night with Seth Meyers" interview, Kendrick shared that she's still shocked when anyone knows who she is.

Even after years in the spotlight, the reality of fame hasn't sunk in for the actress. She joked with Meyers: "How could anybody know who I am if I'm not like walking around with a sign on that says, like, 'Ask me what movies I'm from,' or holding a cup and singing a song?" The cup, of course, is a reference to her viral "Cups" performance in "Pitch Perfect."

Kendrick also said that when she started wearing a face mask in public, she assumed that it would offer complete anonymity. She told Meyers that while wearing the mask, she'd thought, "I'm fully invisible, like I could commit murders ... I'm like the wind. How could anybody find me?" But, it seems she now has enough star power that people could even spot her without seeing the bottom half of her face. She joked that getting recognized while wearing a mask was "disproving all superhero movies."

She focused on herself after a troubling long-term relationship

Anna Kendrick hasn't always been lucky in love. In fact, during a confessional appearance on the "Armchair Expert" podcast, she opened up about one of her most significant break-ups. Apparently, the actor had a long-term relationship with someone that ended after six years. "We had embryos together, this was my person," Kendrick explained. "And then about six years in — somewhere around there — I remember telling my brother when things had first kind of gone down, 'I'm living with a stranger. Like, I don't know what's happening.'" 

Kendrick explained that this unnamed partner became emotionally abusive, yelling at her and leaving her "curled in a ball sobbing." When the relationship finally came to an end, Kendrick started putting herself first. She started attending therapy and got into meditation and AI-Anon. "All of these things ended up being very wonderful things for me in the long run," she said. "But initially went into them thinking, 'Tell me how to stop being crazy. Tell me how to stop feeling anything.'"

She broke up with someone because he wouldn't stop tickling her

Anna Kendrick told Elle that she used to have a hard time telling people how she felt. "I thought, 'Those aren't facts. I can't make an argument based on my feelings.'" She eventually had a realization that it's not about arguing, but rather recognizing your own individual needs.

In fact, she put this into practice when a guy she was dating refused to stop tickling her, even though she had asked him to stop. She told Elle, "I said, 'I know that's cute and that people do it, but I really don't like being tickled. It really makes me feel trapped and panicked. I know it's silly and funny for most people, but I really hate it, so could you please not?'" 

He didn't take her request seriously, and he kept trying to tickle her — so, despite some concern that she might wind up being labeled "the crazy girl," she broke up with him. "I just had to go, 'No, I broke up with you because I told you something was important to me, and you didn't respect that,'" she said. 

She kept a relationship with Bill Hader secret for over a year — but then broke up

In early 2022, People announced that Anna Kendrick had been in a secret relationship with the actor and producer Bill Hader for over a year. "Anna has been dating Bill quietly for over a year," a source told the publication. "They met years ago. She's hosted 'Saturday Night Live' and they've done a movie together, but they got together well after the movie." Apparently, the pair decided to keep their relationship a secret because they are "private people." The pair also appeared in the 2019 movie "Noelle" together playing siblings.

In March 2023, another source spoke to ET about the pair's budding relationship. "Bill and Anna are in love and very happy in their relationship, and enjoying their time together," said the source. However, a few months after the news of their relationship came out, it was announced that the pair had broken up. 

She doesn't believe in soulmates

As she's gone through different relationships, Anna Kendrick has learned a lot and developed her own view on the idea of love. Speaking to the Television Academy about her role in "Love Life," Anna Kendrick opened up about her thoughts on relationships: "I don't believe in soulmates in any traditional sense ... That word is kind of synonymous with 'the one.'" The actress explained that she doesn't think anyone has just one person who they are meant to spend their lives with. Instead, her philosophy is that there are "many 'the ones' and if we're lucky we spend a long time with someone."

Kendrick also suggested that non-romantic soulmates might be a more realistic idea than romantic ones. "I mean, I would say that there's evidence that it's more likely that a soulmate is non-romantic," she said. "The best and longest relationships in my life are certainly friendships."

She's opened up about not wanting to have kids

While some people feel drawn to parenthood, Anna Kendrick has decided against having children. "I will always feel children aren't for me," she wrote in her book "Scrappy Little Nobody." As the actor went on to explain in an interview with E! News, one reason for her decision is all about the building climate crisis. "Well, you know, if I have kids, it's just another kid that your kid is going to have to fight when the water wars come," the actor quipped. "So, you know, zombie apocalypse is coming, and with my genes, I don't think they'd really last." 

She explained that she doesn't have much "upper body strength" or "coordination" — and she doesn't think her kids would have them either. "These are not things that I would pass on," she said. "So, you know, they're just going to be food." A little morbid, but who can blame Kendrick for her decision!

She's a huge fan of funky socks

A devotee of fun, cute printed underwear and socks, as she approached her 30th birthday, she told Cosmopolitan that she'd become a bit worried that once she passed the big 3-0, she might not be able to keep rocking her favorite funky socks — and would instead have to start wearing very grown-up, very serious black socks. "But no," she said with relief. 

"I've got this really crazy thing where I feel like if I had all black socks, I would not put the sock with its original pair and I'd be able to feel how much I'd worn them," she explained. "That has happened to me before... it bothered me so much that I was like, I'm going to get all printed socks so they're always with the original pair." In fact, she explained to Cosmo, her favorite pair of socks features two halves of a Boxer puppy's face — and if that's not endearing, we don't know what is.