Anna Kendrick Says One Director Forbid Her From Blinking

Anna Kendrick says Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright was so hyper-specific that he asked actors not to blink in close-ups.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

anna kendrick
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Anna Kendrick has had an amazing career and has become a Hollywood heavyweight in her own right. However, like other actors, this sexy star is often at the mercy of weird requests from film directors, and it seems that none of those requests were weirder than the one made by Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, she said that “Edgar’s so hyper-specific, he doesn’t even let you blink.”

Because Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was an adaptation of the hit comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley, you might think that Edgar Wright not letting anyone blink was his way of staying true to the comics. However, to hear Anna Kendrick tell the story, this is just Wright’s preference, and he doesn’t want to portray any onscreen blinking unless it serves the story in some way. In fact, she was always relieved to hear the quirky director say things like “a purposefully timed blink here would be okay.”

Not being allowed to blink unless instructed would be frustrating in any scene, but Anna Kendrick detailed how shooting one scene in the movie became a real nightmare due to Wright’s blinking policy. The scene in question is when Kendrick’s character has just discovered that Kieran Culkin’s character has stolen her boyfriend, resulting in a “crash-zoom” on her face for the comedic reaction. Kendrick said that not being allowed to blink made things rough in this particular case because Edgar Wright “wanted me to turn, react, then the crash-zoom happens, then I say the line.”

It took so long to shoot this scene that the cinematographer eventually had to take over the camera and do the dreaded crash-zoom, and in its own way, this made things even worse. Anna Kendrick said that “every time we would kind of overcompensate for the other, where we had missed the moment perfectly, and it just took forever.” Considering how quickly this shot goes by in the finished film, it’s easy to see how frustrating it was for Kendrick to just keep shooting until everything was perfect.

Of course, this wasn’t the only frustration that Anna Kendrick experienced while starring in the movie. She said that she didn’t entirely understand the script, and this resulted in her making a number of confused faces that even ended up in the final film as incredulous reaction shots. Still, Kendrick put up with the script for the same reason that she put up with the no blinking rule: after the runaway success of Wright’s film Shaun of the Dead, she really wanted to work with the veteran filmmaker and trusted him to deliver an awesome film.

scott pilgrim

When Scott Pilgrim vs. the World did come out, it ended up being a box office bomb, but it quickly became a beloved cult classic that fans love to watch again and again. And Wright managed to walk a fine line between adapting six volumes of the comic into a single entertaining film and making something new that would bring in new fans. And the casting in the movie was pitch-perfect, including casting Anna Kendrick as the title character’s sister.

If you’d like to check out Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for the first time, or maybe rewatch it for the hundredth time, the movie is currently streaming on Netflix. As you watch each scene, just keep in mind that none of these poor actors were allowed to blink while the cameras were rolling. Fortunately, if you go check out Anna Kendrick’s latest movie Alice, Darling in AMC theaters, you don’t need anyone’s permission to blink, but you might not want to miss a single moment of this critical hit.