Pitch Perfect was an unexpected box office success when it came out in 2012. The movie, which is based on the book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin, revitalized the a capella genre in America. The sequel then built on the accomplishments of the original and widened its a capella horizons.
Pitch Perfect 3 was released on December 22nd of this year and will most likely be the final movie in the series. While it is yet to be seen if Pitch Perfect 3 will enjoy the same level of success as its predecessors, the franchise as a whole has revitalized an art form, created millions of fans, and earned hundreds of millions of dollars.
While millions of people have enjoyed the final on-screen product, there are more than a few dark secrets and mysteries behind the scenes. After the movie’s release, cast and crew members came forward with quite a few production stories that were very unexpected.
Whether the cast and crew were enduring freezing cold conditions, creating food fights on-set, being completely unprepared for an audition, or creating a casting call for a porno, there are quite a few things that fans would find interesting.
Here are the 15 Dark Secrets about Pitch Perfect.
15. The a Capella Boot Camp
When the filmmakers for Pitch Perfect chose the cast for the movie there were a lot of things to consider. Granted, the ability to sing and dance was a major factor, but quite a few actors were picked for their comedic abilities and only a few had prior experience singing a capella.
In order to get everyone on the same page the entire cast was brought to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they handled principal photography. Over the next month, they were put through a rigorous a capella boot camp.
“The hardest part for me was, I think, the singing. A capella is very hard and intricate.” Anna Camp, who played Aubrey, told PopSugar in 2012. “To find your note, and really stand with a group of girls and lock-in is not easy.”
14. The Rebel Wilson/Adam Devine Shower Scene
Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine had a reputation on-set for going on long, improvised tangents that would often leave the crew in stitches. However, on more than one occasion, the pair took it too far.
“We asked ‘Is there any way to beef up our love story?’” Adam Devine told Vulture in 2012. “And so we did some improv on the day…Hot shower scenes, really steamy. It was so steamy the camera stopped working.”
“A fun fact about that make-out sequence is that they noticed, after filming it, that my pants were actually a bit see-through,” Rebel Wilson said in a 2015 press conference. Another steamy scene between the actors was left on the cutting room floor for Pitch Perfect 2.
13. The a Capella Pool Battle
The riff-off scene from the first Pitch Perfect movie is one of the most iconic scenes in the series and it was one of the most difficult for the cast and crew. In order for them to shoot a late night a capella battle in an empty swimming pool, they actually had a late night a capella battle in an empty swimming pool.
“Shooting the riff-off scene was not as fun as it looked,” Skylar Astin told Movieviral in 2012. “We were shooting in an actual hollowed out pool that was kind of dingy and dirty, but it looked so good on camera. But those days were kind of tough because there were scenes where there were no places to keep cast chairs or warmer things so we bonded a lot that night.”
12. The Flying Burritos
While shooting the scene in which Fat Amy is hit by a drive-by burrito, Rebel Wilson had to endure shooting the scene multiple times. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one to take one for the team.
The director, Jason Moore, volunteered to be hit first to test if the burrito actually hurt but he was at least given a poncho. When it came time for the scene, it was a cameraman who unexpectedly took a burrito to the face.
“I was supposed to throw a burrito at Rebel, and he said to aim for him, thinking I wouldn’t hit him.” Adam Devine told Vulture in 2012. “I pegged him right in the face. [Laughs.] That’s why that scene is slightly out of focus.”
11. Anna Kendrick Sang Live On-Set
For the vast majority of musicals, actors record their songs in a sound studio and then lip sync when performing on camera. This is true for the majority of the production on the first Pitch Perfect. However, for scenes when Anna Kendrick would be singing on her own, she insisted on singing live on-set.
“One of the things I was really insistent on was that whenever I’m singing alone in the movie, I’m singing live on set,” Kendrick told Collider in 2012. “Because I think something is a little bit lost in the recording studio, and frankly I’m just not good in the recording studio like I don’t know how to do that. I think I’m just, I’m used to singing in front of people and singing in a recording booth was a little isolating and sterile.”
10. Pitch Perfect 2 Was Shockingly Successful
The first Pitch Perfect was a pretty big success. Despite being shot with the relatively small budget of $17 million, it managed to rake in a domestic box office of over $65 million. While this isn’t as much as most major Hollywood franchises, a three-fold return on your investment is something that any studio executive would be happy with.
The success of the first movie, however, would be completely eclipsed by the box office returns of Pitch Perfect 2. Universal Studios gave the second movie a budget of $29 million. While this is still below the Hollywood average, it’s significantly more than the first movie.
The money put into the project was doubled almost immediately when Pitch Perfect 2 debuted to a $69 million opening weekend, which was more than the first movie made in the entire time it was in theaters. The sequel would go on to earn over $184 million in its domestic box office run.
9. Some of the Songs Were Too Difficult
Despite a cast of incredibly talented actors and a rigorous month-long a capella boot camp, there were some songs that had to be left out of the movie because no one was able to sing them.
“Sometimes we find that there’s no one we think is going to vocally knock it out of the park,” Elizabeth Banks explained in a 2015 interview with Time magazine. “We are always thinking about what is going to show off our stars. That was a big concern. Of course, we want to set up everyone to win—we don’t want anyone to be challenged.”
There were quite a few songs cut from the Pitch Perfect movies. The screenwriter, Kay Cannon, originally put 17 songs in the riff-off scene but had to cut it down to eight to prevent the film from going over budget.
8. There Were More Categories on the Riff-Off Wheel
The original riff-off scene only went through two categories, but the filmmakers had prepared for a lot more. In total, there were 13 different categories that appeared on the riff-off wheel and some of them were pretty outrageous. These other categories included; “Black Michael Jackson,” “White Michael Jackson,” “TV Theme Songs,” and “’80s country duo The Judds.”
The riff-off scene was repeated in Pitch Perfect 2 to include four categories, “Songs About Butts,” “Country Love,” “I Dated John Mayer,” and “’90s Hip Hop Jams.”
The original wheel had even more categories and the actors would have gone back and forth multiple times, but unfortunately the scenes were cut from the final cut of the film. It’s safe to say some of these would have been a joy to see performed by the cast.
7. The Green Bay Packers Actually Sang Themselves
One of the funniest and least expected cameos in Pitch Perfect 2 was an appearance by members of the Green Bay Packers at the riff-off contest. What’s even more unexpected is the fact that the Packers did their own singing for the movie.
“It was a piece of cake,” Josh Sitton, an offensive lineman who appeared in the movie, said to Packers.com. “We were definitely fish out of water at first. Then we kind of got into our groove, and it turned out to be pretty good.”
Not everyone was a fan of the cameo as the screenwriter Kay Cannon, a committed fan to the Packer’s rival the Chicago Bears, didn’t like the idea. “My dad passed away while I was writing the sequel,” Cannon told Vanity Fair in 2015. “I was like, ‘my dad is rolling in his grave right now if the Green Bay Packers are in it.’”
6. The Fake Adult Film
There was a weird comical moment in the scene where Bumper tells the rest of the Trebles that he’s leaving to be a backup singer for John Mayer. When he walked into the living room there are seven Treble members sitting in a hot tub together. It got even weirder, as they were all watching a fake adult film that was made specifically for the movie.
“My favorite thing, frankly, was, I directed a porno for the background of a scene in a frat house,” Elizabeth Banks, who ended up directing Pitch Perfect 2, told Jimmy Kimmel in 2012. “It was the craziest casting call I’ve ever been a part of. There was no one else to direct it. It felt really skeezy to be like, ‘Hey Baton Rouge ladies, come on down to the Crown Plaza Baton Rouge in your underwear and let me film you.”
5. The Cup Song Almost Wasn’t In The Movie
Cups (When I’m Gone) was the most iconic song to come out of the first Pitch Perfect movie, but it wasn’t originally in the script.
“We were going to (have Beca) do “I’m a Little Teapot” in her audition sequence, something just snarky and not taking it seriously,” Elizabeth Banks told USAToday in preparation for Pitch Perfect 3. “And then we thought, let’s just do Cups.”
“It was something that I learned to do seeing a link on Reddit, and because I’m a huge loser and a nerd, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to teach myself how to do that!’,” Kendrick said. “And then when I was meeting about the movie, I was like, ‘This is a thing I can do,’ and they wanted to put it in the movie.”
4. Ester Dean Wrote a Song For Rihanna
During the riff-off scene in the first Pitch Perfect, the groups have to riff on songs about getting down and dirty. This leads to two of the Bellas, Cynthia Rose and Stacie, to start the category by singing Rihanna’s “S&M.” This was an ironic pick sinceEster Dean, who plays Cynthia Rose, was the person who actually wrote the original song for Rihanna.
Despite being an established music artist and appearing in a few animated movies, Dean had never been in a live action movie.
“The lady at casting was like, ‘Oh, there’s a movie and I think you’d be great for it,’” Dean told Complex in 2012. “So I went and did the audition, and I think three to four days after they called me back and said I had it. A week later, I had to fly to Baton Rouge.”
3. Amy Poehler Came Up With Fat Amy
Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon may not be a household name, but she has an impressive resumé. She spent five years working with Tina Fey on 30 Rock and is good friends with Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler. In fact, it was Poehler who gave her the idea to name a character Fat Amy.
“The name Fat Amy came from when my friend Amy Poehler was pregnant,” said Cannon in a 2012 interview with Collider. “I said, ‘How are you feeling?’ She’s really petite and was like, ‘I wasn’t able to tell anybody. I wasn’t feeling good. I was tired. I just felt like fat Amy.’ I was like, ‘I think somebody should call themselves Fat Amy, so that other people can’t make fun of them.’ That’s how that came about.”
2. The Fake Vomit Was Made of Real Food
By far the grossest scene in Pitch Perfect is Aubrey’s second vomit scene. While she pukes in an earlier scene, it’s when the Bellas are fighting that she doesn’t hold back. The scene looks gross on camera, but it was even worse to shoot. The props team for the movie used pineapple juice, tomato juice, and chicken noodle soup to create a realistic texture.
“When I read it in the script, I was like, ‘I have to be the girl that gets this part because I want to barf all over everybody,’” said Anna Camp in a 2012 interview with Collider.
“It was crazy! They had a hose hooked up on the side of my face, and then they had a hose hooked up underneath my chin, and there was a stunt guy with a button. It was so powerful, and I was so scared.”
1. Adam Devine Improvised His Audition
When Beca auditions for the Bellas she didn’t know she needed to have a song prepared. While this was a planned part of the movie, the same thing happened to Adam Devine in real life, as he didn’t know what movie he was auditioning for.
“I thought it was a baseball movie, and so I didn’t realize that there was singing involved,” Devine said in a 2012 interview with E! News. “When I got there and there were all these handsome dudes singing I was like, ‘oh I’m in trouble’.
They asked me to sing a song and I was like, ‘I’m not really a singer,’ and they told me, ‘You have to sing a song.’ So I sang, ‘Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy or the evening TV,’ which is the Full House theme song, so I don’t know how I got the role.”
Do you have a favorite dark secret about Pitch Perfect? Let us know in the comments!
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