Skylar Astin — who plays everyone's dream boyfriend Jesse in the Pitch Perfect franchise — is back with The Treblemakers once again in the highly anticipated new sequel Pitch Perfect 2.
From being Beca's adorably supportive boyfriend to totally killing it vocally onstage, Jesse is back on screen in all his a cappella glory. Ahead of the film's big release, Skylar Astin stopped by BuzzFeed New York to spill his secrets about life on set and answer every aca-awesome question you've been dying to know. Here's what went down.
1. What is the most memorable moment that you will never forget from the Pitch Perfect films? [via marix]Skylar Astin:
The riff-off from the first movie. It was very cold and in a hollowed-out pool.
2. Do you have any memories that made your day, whether it was on set with your cast and crew, or maybe a devoted fan said or sent something that made you want to be a better actor? [via lizardthewizard ]
SA: The Green Bay Packers knew who I was! That was pretty cool. Didn’t make me wanna be a better actor (laughs) but definitely like, made my day.
3. Did you get to improv any of your scenes? [ via lycheng87]SA:
I got to improv some stuff in the riff-off, and one of the scenes with Benji I got to hand out flyers for a party and say a bunch of funny things while doing that.
4. How much freedom did they give the cast to improv and throw in things they thought would be funny? [via katharineb476ce64fc]
SA: We all had tons of freedom with improvisation. [But] I tend to stick more to the story and add just little embellishments.
5. Are all or most of Rebel Wilson’s [lines] improv? [via gracengler]
SA: (Laughs) A lot of Rebel Wilson’s stuff are improv.
What was something she improv'd that made everyone just kind of lose it?
SA: “I’d like to be the ham in that man sandwich.” That was very rebellious.
6. What scene was the hardest to film, choreography-wise? [via gmd316]
SA: Oh, well, we only have one this time. Womp, womp. So I would say that was the easiest and the hardest. (Laughs)
7. Did you guys all learn the cup song after Anna performed it?
SA: We didn’t! Not out of protest, I’ve just never learned it — and I kind of like that I’m bad at it, because it’s shocking. People ask me and I always do something that’s very different. I generally turn the cup upside down and start drinking. (Laughs) That’s my cup song!
8. Did you guys ever go out and do karaoke together while filming?
SA: There was a night that some went karaoke-ing; I wasn’t there though! We did karaoke at the first premiere and a lot of people went up and sang and it was aca-awesome. My girlfriend [Anna Camp] sang "These Boots Were Made For Walking" and she tore the house down! I tend to do a lot of hardcore gangster rap, because it needs to be ironic for me to do it. I don’t want to just sing, because I can sing, and that would just make me and a lot of people uncomfortable if I took it seriously. (Laughs)
9. How much of yourself did you put into your character? [via Kayla Marie Clark]
SA: I think I put a lot of my heart and kindness into Jesse. I feel like we were raised the same. We had similar parental units.
10. And what is the most and least Skylar-like thing Jesse does in the movies? [via Kayla Marie Clark]
SA: Jesse shouts a lot in public and thinks that that’s OK and likes to embarrass the people he’s with. I don’t do that as much.
11. Did anyone else audition for another role originally?
SA: Oooh. I think Brittany Snow auditioned for Aubrey? Maybe. I don’t know. Did Adam audition for Benji? I don’t know, I wish I knew! That’d be weird, right? It’s weird now! I think we were all kind of destined to be who we were. I auditioned for Fat Amy, didn’t get it. Horizontal running is not my thing.
12. How long does it take you guys to prepare and learn one performance for a scene?
SA: We have a couple weeks of choreography and then learning the song, and then we lay it right down — we record it right then and there all in the same building. It’s a big all-star boot camp.
Is it like Stagedoor?
SA: It’s totalllly like Stagedoor. Yes, our rehearsal process is a lot like theater camp, I would know!
13. If you were given the chance to prepare The Treblemakers’ setlist for the finals, what songs would you have chosen? [ via anushka]
SA: First of all, they’d be mash-ups. But we’re not allowed because The Bellas are the only people that can do mash-ups. (Laughs) I’d put Stevie Wonder in there — “Higher Ground,” specifically. Um, maybe a female song, because I always like when different genders cover other genders' songs. Beyoncé, Rihanna, Adele? Taylor Swift? [The] Trebles doing “Shake It Off” with Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” That can’t lose. Pitch Perfect 4, you guys!
14. Were there any running jokes on set? [via Kathryn Fisher]
SA: Our assistant director for the first movie used to say “checking the chip,” which is a film term that used to be called “checking the gate.” Gates are not in the cameras that they use [now], so he calls it “checking the chip,” and we thought that’d make it sound like we were making Legos and not a movie, so we would all go “checking the chip on liiiife!” We got very excited, because that meant we were moving on.
15. Which was more fun to film: Pitch Perfect or Pitch Perfect 2? [ via jaybeilis ]
SA: Ooof, that’s a hard one. Because the magic happened on the first one, right? And then this was reliving the magic and putting that magic sweater back on that still fits, but you can't — I think that this movie is going to be bigger and crazier and all of those things, but the actual experience you can never live up to the first time. You just can't.
16. What is the one food that the whole cast always eats during breaks? [via catherinet46ec76a8e ]
SA: I wish I knew. Umm…whatever the craft service has on the table! If it’s got protein, it's gone.
17. Do you and any of the cast ever get together and just hang out? [via Kenzie2580 ]
SA: Yes, of course! Yeah, we hang. A lot of us have become very good friends. We see movies, we go to dinner. On the first one we went out dancing quite a bit, which was very fun. There was a local gay bar in Baton Rouge and the whole cast would go out and we would dance our butts off till the wee hours. It was a blast. It was weird, this time was harder because we were in the same place and people knew who we were this time. It would be very weird — I can’t imagine if I saw the cast of The Mighty Ducks when I was a kid just roller-skating in a mall for real. I'd be like, WHAT, this is really happening in front of my face? And that was before Instagram and selfies, so.
18. Who’s the biggest prankster? [ via amandat42c9321b8 ]
SA: You know, I’m a theater guy so I don’t prank too much, because I always feel like to ruin a take is a big deal (Laughs). I always envy when I see those blooper reels thrown together. I’d have to say by default it must be Adam, just because he’s like a prankster and a funny guy on and off set, so I feel like Adam would be the most likely to pull a prank. But he doesn’t either! We don’t like ruining takes, because everyone’s like, “Haha, so funny… back to one!”
19. Did they actually throw burritos at Rebel Wilson [in the first film]? [via lindseymarieh2 ]
SA: They threw a real burrito in the first one and it hit our cameraman in the eye. He threw it off the bus, and it had to go right to the left of camera, but it pegged him right in the eye! And this big Australian steady camera guy took a knee and he said it was like being hit by a brick. It was really intense, really sad, and also really funny. And we all laughed about it after, including him. Maybe that was in Rebel’s contract for the second one: “No burritos.”
20. Are there any weird, quirky things or rituals that the cast does on set? [via catherinet46ec76a8e ]
SA: Well, the Bellas do the "1,2,3, aahhh” for real before they go on. The Trebles just do a lot of fratty chest bumps and a lot of bro daps and you know, “Let’s do this! Let’s get it!” like we’re about to go play football, and then we go sing a cappella — it’s really funny. It’s very bro-y. Lot’s of push-ups before.
21. How long did you film for and what did you guys do to relax? [via sarah4642765d8 ]
SA: We filmed for about two or three months including rehearsals, and we would sleep a lot. It’s tiring when you're singing and dancing and acting for 12 hours a day — your feet hurt!
22. In your opinion who is the best dancer, and who is the best singer on set? [via Sheagymnast]
SA: Hmmm. The best dancer is probably the people [doing] the backups of the Trebles because they're hired to do backflips while Ben and I are singing. Cody Wiggins is the best dancer in The Trebles. Best singer out of everyone? I’m gonna have to go with Ester Dean because she’s written some of pop’s biggest hits including “Firework” and “Super Bass,” so she knows how to sing like these people, and sing for these people. I’ve never done that! She wins.
23. Who is the most serious on set? [via Sheagymnast]
SA: No one is serious on set! We’re making a college comedy about a cappella — everyone is there to have a good time and make people laugh. Everyone’s just chillin. We really are.
24. Did you provide any of the “instrumental” vocals for any of the songs? [via linnir]SA:
I tend to sing lead on a lot of the Treble stuff, and I'm capable of holding down a harmony and doing a little trumpet and a guitar, but I pretty much call it out and other people do it. I’m the band leader.
25. Who do you find most enjoyable to hang out with?
SA: C’mon, my girlfriend! My girlfriend Anna Camp. She’s the most enjoyable because we get to make out and stuff, it’s like super-fun, right? It’s a no-brainer.
26. How do you keep a straight face filming this or any of your other hilarious roles? [ via ericarosej ]
SA: I honestly really think that a theater background helped because I was never able to break character, the show had to go on. So I'm used to that kind of mindset on set.
27. Do you prefer singing on Broadway or singing in a movie? [via Basia Ö Szablisty]
SA: Well, when you get to sing in movies you don't have to do it live every time. You do it beforehand and then they play it back for you so you get to lip-synch to yourself, which is really no pressure. But nothing is like the thrill of a live audience, so I'll have to say Broadway. I want to return to Broadway really badly, and I'm thinking about it. A big dream role for me is Leo Frank in Parade and it's never really had its due on Broadway and they've tried to revive it — that would be great.
Would you do anything with Ben Platt?
SA: I’d looove to. Ben Platt and I keep going to our composer friends and we’re just like, Can you write us a musical? So Ben Platt and I will do something, it might just take a few years.
28. Is there any chance of a Pitch Perfect 3?
SA: Of course there’s a chance for Pitch Perfect 3! I don’t make that decision unfortunately, so I'll probably find out when you do!