Ester Dean talks Pitch Perfect
Ester Dean talks Pitch Perfect
By Wilson Morales
October 3, 2012
Currently playing in theaters and going nationwide this week is the musical comedy ‘Pitch Perfect,’ which stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Ester Dean, Skylar Astin, Alexis Knapp, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Adam Devine.
Based on the Michael Rapkin book of the same name, Pitch Perfect follows an eclectic all-girl a cappella group seeking redemption after a humiliating loss in the finals the previous year.
Making her debut in the film is hit songwriter Ester Dean, who plays Cynthia Rose, one of the new members of the Barden Bellas and the lesbian in the group. The 26-year old is responsible for writing several hit songs such as Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Rihanna’s “S&M,” and co-writing Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” among others.
Blackfilm.com had a chance to speak with Dean about her role in the film.
How would you describe Cynthia Rose?
Ester Dean: Cynthia Rose is very free spirited. I feel like she brought some urban edge to the film. I sing and rap and everyone else was brought on because of their talent as opposed to their looks. My sexuality comes into play but it’s not that big of a deal. That’s not why they wouldn’t let me in the group. It’s just something that I’m keeping to myself to keep everyone comfortable.
Was the name always on the script?
ED: Yes. It was always Cynthia Rose. It’s so funny because when I had to say it as my name, and I’m used to saying Ester Dean, it felt strange.
How did you end being in the film and making this your film debut?
ED: It was actually a coincidence because I went in for a voice part on The Lorax. I had done a couple of animation projects and that’s an area that I wanted to get into. When I went in for The Lorax, they had already finished it but they needed a song at the end. I do that as well. After I finished with that, they sent me to casting and was asked if I ever did live action. I then had an audition and in three days later they called me, and a week later, I was in Baton Rouge. It’s one of those things where you go in for one thing and then the next thing you know, I’m doing a movie instead of voice over work.
Were you nervous about doing your first film?
ED: I was nervous at first because when I got there we had to do three weeks of dancing and no one told me we would doing any dancing. I had done the artist thing but I hadn’t been out there in so long, so I ad to learn how to dance. I knew how to sing but we were learning a different kind of music. Rebel (Wilson) and Hana (Mae Lee) later told that a back-story was being created for my character. I didn’t know what the term meant at first, then they explained that Cynthia Rose came in from Tallahassee, FL and had two mothers and two fathers, which is why she is free to be a beautiful lesbian. That lesson helped me go in the next part and let me create this person that I’m playing because I thought they were creating it for me.
Was the music part of the film easy for you?
ED: No. I thought it would be easy. I can sing, but I’m doing “dit, dit, dit,” and “zoom, zoom, zoom.” That’s a totally different thing that I was doing with my voice. The a cappella helped me right what I was doing wrong. I learned new sound and learned new ways to put a feeling in a record. I wrote “Where Have You Been” when I was in Baton Rouge.
How was working with this cast?
ED: Nobody came on the set with an ego. We all had to learn these dances for three weeks straight, so everyone came in very vulnerable. There were no superegos because we were figuring out how to do these dances. As much as the film shows us growing, we had to do that behind the scenes. It was easy working with them.
There are a few mashups in the film. If you had to create one on your own, what songs would you choose?
ED: I could put “Somebody That You Use To Know” with “We Were Young.”
Is there any particular part that stood out for you while shooting this film?
ED: The fun part about shooting this film was the fight scene and the running, and chasing Alexis. The best part was when Anna’s character comes back from jail, and that actually was our last scene that we shot. Right after it was over, we all started crying. That was emotional.
Do you want to continue acting?
ED: Yes. I’m going to continue to grow. Anything that helps me become better in the craft, I’m going to do. In order to learn the game, I have to keep doing it and going out for more films. Do I want to keep writing songs and chasing artists, no. It’s about building your legacy after this.
Would you say this film is like ‘Bring It On’ meets ‘Glee?’
ED: I would say that this is like ‘Bring It On’ meets ‘The Voice.’ With ‘The Voice,’ you have to close your eyes and take in the talent and that’s what these girls from the original Bellas had to do. They had to do this without the stereotypes and find people that can come together and help them win a competition that they really want. Sometimes, in order to win, you have to close your eyes and let your heart lead you. The way the judges turn their back and listen to the voice is how I would compare it to this film. You also have a little bit of ‘The Hangover’ because there are some funny moments in here as well. I’m so glad that they didn’t make fun of a cappella. They just had jokes.
What’s your favorite a cappella?
ED: I can sing any of my songs like ‘Fireworks.’
What’s a good reason to see ‘Pitch Perfect?’
ED: A good reason is because it’s super funny. It’s made for everyone. Everyone who has seen the film outside of those involved has loved the film. You actually love the singing and I keep pressing them to do ‘Pitch Perfect 2.’
Clip – The Bellas remix “Just the Way You Are”