Screenwriter Kay Cannon reveals why she fought against the team’s appearance, plus her favorite cover of “Cups.”
Pitch Perfect 2 is full of surprises, from the celebrity cameos that dot the cast to the enormous $70 million it earned in its first weekend at the domestic box office. But one of the film’s best surprises—an appearance by several Green Bay Packers at an underground “riff-off” singing competition—almost didn’t happen. And it wouldn’t have happened if writer Kay Cannon had gotten her way.
You are watching: Pitch perfect 2 clay matthews
“The whole time Elizabeth Banks and Max
The whole thing started when David Bakhtiari, an offensive lineman for the Packers, tweeted at Banks about his love for the movie, and eventually asked for a cameo in the sequel. Says Cannon, “They said, ‘If you put us in the sequel, we will practice, we will rehearse, we’ll take it as a serious thing. We’re athletes, this is what we do. We‘ll really work at it.’”
And, as so often happens in Hollywood, the screenwriter was overruled—though Cannon can now admit it worked out for the best. “Once they were for sure in, it was actually super fun to write those bits, to write those jokes and to have them be specific, like Clay Matthews saying, ‘There’s nobody who loves more tenderly than I.’” Cannon was on set for much of Pitch Perfect 2, but not for the riff-off, so when she first saw the film, seated next to the first film’s director, Jason Moore, it was almost an out-of-body experience. “I leaned over to him and I was like, ‘I feel like I’m watching a dream,’” she remembers. “You never imagine that the Green Bay Packers were going to be in something you wrote or singing ‘Bootylicious.’”
For a writer and actress who’s still relatively unknown, Cannon has already had a significant cultural impact, first as one of the writers for 30 Rock who helped define the now-iconic character of Liz Lemon (“I think Liz Lemon’s love of cheese was
Though the success of Pitch Perfect 2 may have every studio leaving her voice mails this week, Cannon still plans to return to television, on a project she can’t yet discuss. As much as the life of a screenwriter—working on a single project for months—may seem saner than the life of a TV writer—working long hours in a crowded writer’s room week after week—Cannon clearly embraces the fierce work ethic she learned on 30 Rock. “It’s this wonderful family and you’re having the time of your life and you’re laughing like crazy, but you’re also like, ‘I gotta do this. I gotta get better. I gotta learn more.’” Sounds like the kind of competitiveness, combined with utter silliness, the Barden Bellas would appreciate.
WATCH: Anna Camp Confesses Her Go-To Karaoke Song and More
Katey Rich is Vanity Fair’s Awards and Audio Editor.
From the awards race to the box office, with everything in between: get the entertainment industry”s must-read newsletter.