The Anna Kendrick Crime Thriller That Takes You Down A Rabbit Hole

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Anna Kendrick in A Simple Favor

It’s time to solve the mystery of what to watch tonight. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively deliver an exhilarating game of cat and mouse in the comedy crime thriller A Simple Favor, now streaming on Amazon. Directed by Paul Feig, this 2018 genre mashup is a bright and shiny movie that constantly intrigues as it reveals darkness hidden beneath its surface.

A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, is one of the best movies of the past five years, and it’s now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Anna Kendrick leads A Simple Favor as a widowed mother named Stephanie. She has a vibrant community around her mommy vlog, but her real-life leaves her shunned by the other mothers in town. That is until she meets Emily.

The stunning Blake Lively portrays Emily as a picture of grace, elegance, and mystery. Emily enthralls Stephanie, and after her son asks for a play date with Emily’s son, Stephanie and Emily find themselves hanging out.

The chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is one of the most electric elements of A Simple Favor. The potential for friendship blossoms over drinks (Emily is a big drinker in the film, but Blake Lively does not drink at all in real life, despite her husband, Ryan Reyndolds, being the co-owner of Aviation Gin). As the pair spend more time together, Stephanie begins to suspect that there may be more to Emily than meets the eye. 

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in A Simple Favor

One day, Emily disappears, and Stephanie launches an investigation to find her. Anna Kendrick shines as she winds down a twisting road of fraud, infidelity, and murder. The thrills are handled with a deft comic wit, making A Simple Favor an enjoyable ride all the way to the end.

The story’s twisted fun originated with author Darcey Bell, who penned A Simple Favor as her first novel. Before the book was even published, it was optioned by 20th Century Fox. The option later moved to Lionsgate in 2017. 

The project quickly came together as Paul Feig, Anna Kendrick, and Blake Lively signed on. They were later joined by cast members Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, and Linda Cardellini. By August of 2017, production on A Simple Favor was underway.

A sequel that sends Anna Kendrick’s character, Stephanie, to Italy has been announced.

Paul Feig recruited Anna Kendrick for her talent of being both sweet and serious. The comedy/thriller duality of the project was visually reflected by keeping the film bright with high key lighting, keeping sinister elements hidden in plain sight. Cinematographer John Schwartzman referred to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet as a visual reference for the film.

Before Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively took to the big screen, Lively performed an Instagram stunt to generate buzz around the film. The day before the first teaser trailer for A Simple Favor was released, Lively hid all of her photos on Instagram. She also followed several accounts that shared her character’s name, Emily Nelson.

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in A Simple Favor

A Simple Favor was released in theaters on September 14, 2018. Against a modest production budget of $20 million, the film launched to box office success with a $97.6 million total. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively were both praised for bringing fun and complexity to this suburban thriller. 

The success of the film sparked the development of A Simple Favor 2, which will see the return of Kendrick and Lively. Paul Feig will also reprise his role as director. The sequel is currently in development at Lionsgate and Amazon Studios, but no details about its release have yet been made available.

Anna Kendrick’s Very Busy Year

Anna Kendrick has a lot on her plate in addition to A Simple Favor 2. The actress appeared in New Girl actor Jake Johnson’s directorial debut, Self Reliance, and will reprise her Scott Pilgrim vs. the World role in the upcoming anime adaptation of the hit comic. Kendrick will also once again lend her voice to Princess Poppy in Trolls Band Together this fall. 

Anna Kendrick will unveil her directorial debut at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Kendrick channeled her inner A Simple Favor for the drama Woman of the Hour. Based on a true story, the film follows Cheryl Bradshaw, played by Kendrick, a woman who encountered serial killer Rodney Alcala on a dating game show in the 1970s. 

Over the course of her career, Anna Kendrick has starred in a variety of projects that have made her a household name. One of the most fun titles to her credit is A Simple Favor, and the mystery can now be relived again and again on Amazon Prime.