It feels like Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively should've been in a movie together years ago. They have great chemistry; they're both hilarious, and they've been IRL friends ever since Anna worked with Blake's husband, Ryan Reynolds, on 2014's The Voices. Now they're finally teaming up professionally for A Simple Favor, the new darkly comic thriller from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. After her best friend Emily (Blake) goes missing, stay-at-home mom Stephanie (Anna) makes it her mission to find out exactly what happened. But it turns out there's a lot more to Emily's backstory than Stephanie ever knew.
We at BuzzFeed love Blake and Anna, so when we were given the opportunity to talk to them about A Simple Favor in London this week, we jumped at the chance. They told us all about their first impressions of each other, their worst days on set, and much, much more...
Anna Kendrick: Oh god, I’m nervous. I’m actually nervous! OK... What was the first thing you thought when you met me?
Blake Lively: Well, the first time I met you, we were, like, 18 or 19, and I remember being nervous. We met through friends, and it was right after the premiere of Rocket Science, and you were just so good and I was just like, oh you’re so funny and charming. I was like, wow, this girl’s really cool.
AK: Aw, she’s nice.
BL: I was nervous!
AK: That’s so weird!
BL: But when somebody’s so sharp and so funny and so smart and you can tell that’s coming from their mind and not from the script…
AK: Yeah. SNL was the worst week of my life. I was like, “I’m so afraid of all of you.”
BL: What was the best thing about getting to work with me?
BL: Where do you start? [laughs]
AK: It was great to have that kind of partner-in-crime vibe with you. Sometimes you work with somebody, and they’re great — they’re really, genuinely great — and they just have a very different working style, let’s say. You know, they’re the kind of person that you can’t come to them in between and be like, “Yo, let me tell you what just happened.” So that was great.
BL: Aw, that’s nice.
AK: What was your reaction when you found out we’d be working together?
BL: What was my reaction? Oh my gosh.
AK: Dude, were you, like, sooo intimidated by my physicality?
BL: I was excited to be working with you… I mean like, you know, a little disappointed ’cause I’m told Dame Judi Dench was gonna be the mommy vlogger.
AK: That would’ve been great. We’ve done a couple of things where we’ve done bits about, like, Cate Blanchett or Dame Judi Dench and I’m like, I would watch that movie! I would love that movie!
BL: No, but actually, I was especially excited because this script and this book is very much a straight thriller, and I knew Paul really wanted to make it more comedic and fun and playful but that didn’t really necessarily make sense for the script. So as soon as he hired you, I was like, oh, we’re good. All of the comedy and the levity and the acerbic wit will come through.
AK: This is like Compliment Fest 5000.
BL: I know, our egos are gonna be so big when we walk out of here.
BL: What was the most challenging role you’ve ever played?
BL: That has nothing to do with me! Next question!
AK: Honestly, this [A Simple Favor] was really hard! The tone of the movie — we talked about that basically every day — like, what is the tone of the movie? We were playing with all these different things. There were definitely times when I was like, “Paul, you definitely want the audience to like the protagonist of the film, right? We’re not doing a weird thing where the audience is supposed to be like, ‘God, the lead of the film is awful!’”
I’m so controlling, and all these things that women aren’t supposed to be. Honestly, it was really challenging to try to make her human — to make that show through the cracks of the incredibly irritating facade that she puts on. So that was that answer that had nothing to do with you. And also you’re very pretty.
AK: What was the most difficult scene to film in A Simple Favor?
BL: Oh, boy. I think the most difficult scene to film was probably the scene at the end of the film, where we set up all these plot twists and turns and then it was the big reveal. That was another 11-page scene and it was you, me, and Henry [Golding]. That was tricky because we, on the day, had to make the plot twists make sense. And they didn’t totally make sense, as we revealed. We sat there with Paul, and Paul was like, “Wait, you’re right.” And so you came up with the best solution ever.
AK: Thank you, my lady. I remember being done with that day and being mentally exhausted from trying to make sure that it all made sense. Because once we’d discovered that there was one thing we had to change, I was questioning every line. I was saying a line, and then going, “Does that make any fucking sense?”
BL: My other most challenging day — I’m still scarred by this — was when I worked late the night before, and so they told me to come in an hour and a half later the next morning, but didn’t make you come in later. I came to set and I was in hair and makeup, and I was like, “Oh, so weird, is Anna — where is she?” and they were like, “Oh, she’s been ready for an hour. We didn’t push her call.”
AK: That was the day I decided I hate you.
BL: It was so mortifying. You’re working in every scene in this movie, and I come in for a few weeks like, “Just wait for me for an hour and a half while I get my hair braided!” I literally wanted to die and I sucked so bad in that scene because I never recovered.
AK: We were all talking shit about you.
BL: I never recovered from it!
AK: No, of course! I had one day, if it makes you feel any better — on this film, actually — I had a day that my alarm didn’t go off and somebody was knocking on my door to my apartment. I woke up and heard someone knocking, and immediately I was just like, “No no no no no!” You run to the door and you still have zit cream on and you’re like, “I’ll be ready in two seconds, I’m so sorry!” And the whole day you’re apologising to everybody. So we’re in the same boat, sister.
BL: What scene from A Simple Favor was the most fun for you to film?
AK: I really feel like the first scene — not the scene where we meet, but the scene where we go to your house. I was having a lot of fun that day, because we were nervous about it feeling like a really contentious relationship. We found a way to kind of flirt with each other that was really fun, even though the things we're saying don’t necessarily have that element. That was a really fun day.
AK: What was the most exciting element of playing your character in A Simple Favor?
BL: I guess just thinking of things that would make my mom so uncomfortable. I thought, I could just say whatever I want, because this isn’t me. So I was just thinking, What will make my mom want to leave the theatre?
AK: That is a great motivation. You hear that, Mom?
BL: We’ve both played a diverse range of characters throughout our careers. What kind of role would you most like to play next?
BL: Do you see how I made that about me at the beginning of this question? [laughs]
AK: I actually would like to play a villain. I know you’ve said that you had a lot of fun playing a villain. I’ve played flawed characters and characters who do things that aren’t necessarily very well-intentioned sometimes, but I’ve never done a true villain. So that would be fun. Super or non.
AK: What were you most apprehensive about when it came to playing your character in A Simple Favor?
BL: I guess, you know, I was on a TV show for six years where I played a girl from the Upper East Side who wore lots of pretty clothes, and so this was a fashion woman who works on the Upper East Side. I wanted it to be a very different look and vibe than that, so that’s one of the reasons why I ended up in men’s suits.
AK: I also remember the day you told me that you had just bought that Gucci belt — this was a year ago, so she was ahead of the trend.
BL: Oh, yeah, I threw that in the trash immediately after. [laughs]
AK: And Ryan [Reynolds] was like, “Why are you wearing a Gossip Girl belt?”
BL: Oh yeah, I forgot that! Because of the two GGs. It’s even the same font. It's so embarrassing. I was a walking, talking, “look at me” ad.
AK: Yeah, I was like, that is brilliant. Because that was his initial reaction — you got yourself a monogrammed Gossip Girl belt. That was amazing.
BL: If you could incorporate any of your character’s personality traits into your real life, what would it be?
AK: None? I mean… [thinks for a long time] You know, she can do a rap in the car. I’ll give her that.
BL: Yeah, but you can too. So what would you incorporate from her?
AK: Ooh! I guess I would be a better cook. She’s supposed to be a cook and I would love to be able to know how to do that. But without working at it. Without, like, having to learn and try hard. That would be great.
AK: If you could use any line from the movie as a personal motto, what would it be?
AK: Go right at ’em or they’ll fuck you in the face?
BL: Yeah! The powerful ones. “You’ve gotta go right at ’em, or they’ll fuck you in the face.”
AK: Which is true.
BL: Or, “If your head’s gonna end up in a trash can, your head’s gonna end up in a trash can.”
AK: Oh, I did like that one.
BL: You actually said that in that moment, “What if your head ends up in a trash can?” That was you that teed that whole thing up, because that wasn’t in there. It was great! It was just like, “Oh, I don’t date people from the city, I’m scared.” But you took it to the next level by being like, “But what if my head ends up in a trash can?” Which is so disturbing.
AK: Oooh, that says something about my brain.
BL: There are a lot of comedy moments in the film. Was any of it improvised? If so, what was your favourite scene to improvise?
AK: Yeah, some — not like full Bridesmaids improvised. I feel like the first day we did all of those improvs was when Paul just kept making me come up with gross-sounding martinis, and that was my big win for the day. Then I ended up looking up all these flavoured vodkas to see if they actually were martinis.
BL: Yeah, and they were on the menu at TGI Friday’s.
AK: I was like, at a certain point, it’s not a martini any more. It is disturbing to know how many flavours of vodka exist in the world. When you’re at key lime pie, you’ve gone too far.