You may have seen the incredible success that Anna Kendrick’s “Endlessly” has had on the big-screen. The film, which was released in 2018, was an indie hit and grossed more than $26 million worldwide. Now, it’s time for the sweetheart to follow up with a leading role in a major motion picture.
The 28-year-old actress recently confirmed that she’ll be starring in the latest adaptation of the Twilight saga, but she won’t be playing Bella Swan. Instead, her character will be a young feminist who goes by the name Nancy. As the title suggests, the film will be called “Nancy (No Simple Girls)”—a nod to the fact that Hollywood has long shied away from letting strong, independent young women shine on the big screen.
The choice to play Nancy seems inspired. After all, the star of “Endlessly” shares many of the same qualities. She’s an indie darling, an actress who doesn’t rely on celebrities or big studios to gain fame. And although her character in “Endlessly” is a lesbian, Kendrick also credits her success to the empowerment of young women like herself who challenge traditional gender roles. “I hope that [Nancy] will inspire other young women to feel like they can do anything that they put their mind to, which in turn, will make them feel better about themselves,” she said in an interview with Vogue. “My character isn’t defined by her sexuality or what happens to her in the end. She’s someone who is determined to follow her dream and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way. Which I think is really inspiring for young women.”
For those who know her work, Anna Kendrick may seem like an odd choice to play a character inspired by Bella Swan. After all, the Sweetheart singer is best known for her distinctively strong vocals and high-energy performances. While those characteristics certainly helped make her pop icon status possible, they’re the opposite of what Nancy needs at this point in her life. In order to succeed in a Hollywood studio, she’ll need to project an image of quiet strength and poise. The irony is that the character that inspired her may just be the person to help her do that. If she makes it her mission to succeed in Hollywood as an independent woman who doesn’t rely on others to achieve her dreams, then perhaps she’ll just find that person in Bella Swan. At least, that’s what her manager, Kate Bedingfield, thinks.
The Manager’s Take
“I think that [Kendrick] is going to be able to show an entire dimension that a lot of people haven’t seen before,” Bedingfield told Vogue. “I think that she’s going to be able to pull off this role incredibly well and I think that it’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Whether or not you believe that Kendrick will be able to pull off the sophisticated role of Nancy, the truth remains that her ability to project strength isn’t in question. The key, as always, is in the execution. When it comes to Bella, strength and poise are everything. When it comes to Nancy, it’s about finding the vulnerable spark that makes her human and relatable.
While the film’s trailer doesn’t give much away, it’s clear that Nancy is both strong and vulnerable. She’s a powerful woman, having built her career as an actress independently, but she also has bad taste in men. When her brother, Carl, attempts to set her up on a date with a likable, middle-aged architect, she turns down his invitation, rightfully so. Not only is he way older than her; he also happens to be married with children, not to mention that he’s a few inches taller than she is. As she points out, he’s an ‘old school architect,’ which she believes isn’t attractive to women her age.
“Even when I was a little girl, architects were like the cool kids in school,” Kendrick told Vogue. “They had all the women in my building crushing on them.” In the end, Carl proposes to her anyway, which she accepts, unaware that he had ulterior motives. Soon after, she learns that he’d been keeping a secret all these years. Not only had he been lying to her about being married and having children, he’d been pretending to be her friend.
“I want to find the vulnerable side of someone and show it to the world,” Kendrick said. “I felt like I could show a side of myself that no one had really seen before and I could make it really interesting and complex, yet relatable.”
Even if you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s clear that Nancy is a complex character. Like Kendrick, she’s an independent, young woman achieving success in a man’s world, but she also has insecurities about her body image and what men think about her. In the trailer, Carl even suggests that she gain weight, which she bristles against, saying, “I’m not here to please you, Carl. I’m here to please myself.” While she may have a lot in common with Bella, Kendrick is bringing something new to the role that will make it distinctively her own.
Anna Kendrick’s Own Take On The Character
The singer is clearly aware of the contrasting characteristics that make up her own personality. She acknowledges that she’s “very strong-willed” and “introverted,” but she also credits her “spark” to “rooting for the underdog” and her love of animals. Her manager, Kate Bedingfield, echoes these sentiments. “She’s a real sweetheart. When she walked in the room, you could just see the compassion in her eyes. She has huge, warm, beautiful eyes that just radiate kindness,” Bedingfield told Vogue.
Anna Kendrick’s personal qualities won her the hearts of fans worldwide, whether or not they liked her music. As she told Vogue, “I’ve always felt like I could connect with my fans on a personal level…I want to be able to do the same for Nancy.” The key to connecting with an audience is by being yourself. While it may not always be easy, searching for similarities between yourself and the characters you play is a surefire way to connect with the audience. Doing this, however, can help you find the character’s vulnerabilities, the things that make them distinct from you and the things that you might not typically share. If an actor or actress can find these qualities in themselves, independent of their character, then they’ll not only be able to project the role better, they’ll also have something more to offer in real life.
If you’ve ever seen Kendrick’s work, you know that she’s not easily categorized. While she’s often cast as a bridesmaid or party-girl type, she’s always managed to keep a smile on screen, as well as off. Even as a kid, she would regularly get in trouble for being too loud or for breaking rules, yet she refused to ever apologize for being herself. As a result, she built up a large fan base over the years, filled with people who admired her for not giving a damn what others thought about her.
In order to achieve success as an actor, Anna Kendrick will need to find the right fit for all of her talents. While Bella may not be the right match for Nancy, who knows? Perhaps there’s a part for her in someone else’s future.