Anna Kendrick plays mom vlogger in twisted stylish thriller ‘A Simple Favor’

It’s mom vs. mom in the deliciously twisted love triangle thriller “A Simple Favor” starring Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Trolls), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, The Shallows) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). The movie puts Kendrick’s character, Stephanie at the center of a gritty showdown of wits as she tries to solve the suspicious disappearance of Emily (Lively).

At the core of “A Simple Favor” is an unlikely film noir protagonist—the sunny and practical suburban mommy vlogger, Stephanie (Kendrick). Stephanie’s perky search for domestic bliss, friendship and killer recipes accidentally leads her into a mad tangle of dirty secrets and fatal lies when she meets ultra-glamorous mom, Emily. When Stephanie is first approached by Emily to come over for a playdate, she is intrigued. Emily is mysterious and alluring with her super-posh lifestyle: a city job in high fashion, a sexy British author husband and an impeccably modern, showcase house. Stephanie is flattered when Emily seems to quickly latch onto her as a confidante and new best friend. She appears to be the ultimate insider, and Stephanie feels like she has cracked into a world of her most extravagant mommy dreams.

When Emily askes for a simple favor, Stephanie eagerly agreed to take Emily’s son, Nicky, home with her after school one day. However, simple becomes complicated when Emily disappears completely, leaving Stephanie with her son and not a single clue. Following her own “moms, do everything yourself” credo, Stephanie takes it upon herself, with the help of her social media followers, to find her missing friend. She has no idea just how convoluted this mystery will become as boundaries of friendship and loyalty are tested and lurid truths are unburied. Stephanie unknowingly enters an inky-black, nerve-wracking journey into deception, duplicity and transgressions, including her own.

Henry Golding as “Sean” and Anna Kendrick as “Stephanie” and Blake Lively as ‘Emily’ in A SIMPLE FAVOR. Photo by Peter Iovino.

Anna Kendrick is already known for her unique range. Even so, the role of Stephanie was something completely different for her. Stephanie might share some qualities with Kendrick, such as her exuberance and her everywoman amiability, but there is much more to the performance as Kendrick brings all at once a flair for mischievous humor, emotional complexity and an unleashed fierceness.

For Kendrick, the pleasure of playing Stephanie was digging into all that is going on beneath her happy-go-lucky, public social media persona. Kendrick notes that much as she plays at being a detective once Emily vanishes, she’s also just a lonely, anxious single mom with a past she desperately wants to keep locked away. “Stephanie is upbeat and always seeing the bright side, so she can be a little insufferable,” Kendrick laughs. “But I think there’s also a real sadness to her because really, she’s so lonely. When it comes to her relationship with Emily, she’s willing to put up with a lot of abuse because it’s preferable to her loneliness. And Stephanie also wants validation from Emily. I think that’s something a lot of women experience to some degree in some friendships.”

“A Simple Favor” will open in cinemas on September 12 from Pioneer Films.

Hottest movie date ever in R-18 comedy ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’

Unapologetically wild and based on a true-to-life ad gone viral, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” hits theatres on September 14 nationwide starring Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick.

In “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” Mike and Dave are brothers (played by Devine and Efron), warned by their family to smarten-up their hard-partying ways before their sister’s wedding in Hawaii, and to bring two respectable girls as dates. After posting an ad on Craigslist, they’re contacted by a cadre of prospective suitors, and they ultimately settle on Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), whose interest in Adam and Dave extends to little more than the prospect of a free holiday on the islands. But the girls they finally chose, aren’t quite as wholesome as they expect. And as the real Stangles explain, some artistic license has been taken to turn the film into this year’s hottest comedy.

The other woman in the boys’ life is, of course, their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard), whose Hawaiian wedding provides the backdrop for the unexpected girls-gone wild / dates-gone-horribly-wrong hijinks. But Jeanie’s big day is also ground zero for the guys’ determination that Jeanie be happy—no matter how crazy things get.

“Mike and Dave are party boys with good intentions,” Beard shares of her onscreen brothers. “Jeanie was like that, too, when she was growing up with them. They’ve protected Jeanie her entire life, but now there’s a new man in her life, her fiancé Eric, and he brings out her sweeter side.”

A special massage brings out yet another side of Jeanie. Having been accidently mauled by an ATV driven by…who else?…Mike, Jeanie is ready for some serious rest and relaxation. A nice massage seems like the perfect idea, but Alice has something a little more potent in mind for Jeanie. She makes arrangements with the masseur, Keanu, for him to go the extra mile.

Beard says filming the scene was a highlight for her—not only of the film, “but of my life!” she exclaims with a laugh. “My bare butt was exposed for almost an entire day’s shooting, and I was being used like a slip ‘n slide. The scene was a little sweaty, a little oily, but all great. I was laughing so hard, which was interesting because Jeanie is getting so much pleasure out of the massage, that all the shaking of my body from laughter kind of worked for the scene.”

The brothers are determined not to screw up their sister Jeanie’s destination wedding. “Mike and Dave love Jeanie and Jeanie loves them, as well,” director Jake Szymanski continues. “She just wants her special day to go without a hitch.”

“Mike and Dave adore their sister,” confirms Efron. “Their mantra is: ‘We’re doin’ it for Jeanie! Everything we do is for Jeanie!’ They protect and love her and have put her on a pedestal. She forgives them for all the mischief they do.”

“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” in cinemas nationwide on September 14, 2016, from 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick star in R-rated comedy ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Date’

It all started with a Craiglist ad that became viral when real life brothers Mike and Dave Stangle are looking for dates to bring to a wedding – sounds crazy but it really happened. Their story reaches the big screen in the hilarious and aptly titled “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza.

Mike (Devine) and Dave Stangle (Efron) are young, adventurous, fun-loving and, some would even say, obnoxious. The “some” would include other members of the Stangle family. So when their sister Jeanie announces she’s getting married, the family holds an intervention, demanding that Mike and Dave bring respectable dates. To fulfill their family’s request Mike and Dave turn to the best source of decent, respectable girls they can think of: Craigslist. They place an ad promising that their selected companions will receive an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii and the chance to participate in all of the Stangle family wedding-related activities.

Along with its R-rated humor, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” has unexpected moments of heart. Jake Szymanski, who makes his feature directorial debut after helming hilarious short form comedies on “Funny or Die,” says: “The Stangle family is very tightly-knit, even when they disagree. They’re very proud of being Stangles, so they’re just trying to have one family event that doesn’t get completely screwed up by Mike and Dave.”

When tuning in to their back-and-forth banter, it becomes clear that the Stangles’ primary interest is entertaining each other. If anyone else thinks they are funny too, well, so much the better. Before long the idea of a book emerged. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (and a thousand cocktails) continues with the same volley of dialogue and ideas; Mike does a chapter, then Dave does a chapter and so on.

Whatever their differences, Mike and Dave are tight. “They have a symbiotic relationship,” says Efron. “They can’t exist without one another. They’re as much best friends as they are brothers.”

Mike and Dave certainly know how to rock a room, but they’re small-timers compared to their dates. As background to Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), director Szymanski observes that they “have a history of misadventures that have taken them around the world. They can travel around the globe with only a couple of backpacks, and have stories to tell for ages.”

“The characters were great inventions of our writers,” notes Ready. “Tatiana is a mix of danger and sexuality, and everything she does is pretty extreme. Alice is a wild child who is always unpredictable. They are in such different places in their lives, and yet these wedding dates are just what they need.”

The burgeoning brotherly bond between Devine and Efron was facilitated by the opportunity to spend considerable time together on location. Says Devine: “Zac and I arrived in Oahu two weeks before production started, and we didn’t know anyone else there. Who else am I going to hang out with? So we obviously were just going to hang out with each other every day and that was great planning on Fox’s part, because we became the best of buds. By the end of production, he says with a laugh, “we finished each other’s sentences in a weird way.”

Rated R-18 by the MTRCB, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” opens September 14, 2016 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

‘The Accountant’ teaser poster shows Ben Affleck gunning for action

The teaser poster for Warner Bros. Pictures’ new suspense thriller “The Accountant” has been released, showing Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) holding a rifle, but “blinded” by numerical data.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”), “The Accountant” tells the story of Christian Wolff (Affleck), a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

the accountant ben affleck anna kendrick

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Pitch Perfect”), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” the “Spider-Man” films), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films) and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow (“Interstellar”).

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”).

Opening across the Philippines on November 2, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

WATCH: Ben Affleck’s ‘The Accountant’ debuts first trailer

Warner Bros. Pictures presents Oscar winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) in the title role of “The Accountant,” from director Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”). Watch the first trailer from the new suspense thriller below.

In the film, Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

“The Accountant” also stars Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air,” “Pitch Perfect”), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” the “Spider-Man” films), Jon Bernthal (“Fury,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Jean Smart (TV’s “Fargo,” “24”), and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (“Star Trek: Into Darkness”), with Jeffrey Tambor (TV’s “Transparent,” “The Hangover” films) and two-time Oscar nominee John Lithgow (“Interstellar”).

O’Connor directed the film from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”). The film was produced by Mark Williams and Lynette Howell, with O’Connor, Jamie Patricof and Marty Ewing serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes two-time Oscar-nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Anna Karenina,” “Atonement,” upcoming “Pan”), production designer Keith Cunningham, Oscar-nominated editor Richard Pearson (“United 93”), costume designer Nancy Steiner, and Oscar-nominated composer Mark Isham (“Warrior,” “A River Runs Through It”).

Opening across the Philippines on October 19, 2016, “The Accountant” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell paired in R-rated rom-com ‘Mr. Right’

Blending dancing, violence and romance into one-of-a-kind hybrid entertainment, “Mr. Right” stars Anna Kendrick as manic Martha who falls in for Francis (Sam Rockwell), a professional assassin with a cause.

When Martha discovers that her new beau is a professional hitman, who kills the people ordering the hits. But the bodies pile up, Martha must decide whether to flee or join her man in the mayhem.

Like her co-star Rockwell, Anna Kendrick combines dramatic chops — showcased in her Oscar-nominated “Up in the Air” performance — with the natural wit displayed in “Pitch Perfect” and its blockbuster sequel. When she read the “Mr. Right” script, Kendrick savored the chance to go a little wild. “The most exciting thing for me was the way Max wrote Martha as someone who’s always been a little psychotic,” Kendrick says. “He mentioned to me that some script notes suggested he make her this mild mannered girl until she encounters Mr. Right. But I thought it was funny and wise to make Martha bat shit crazy from the get go.”

Kendrick also sparked to Mr. Right because she knew Rockwell would be playing the title role. “I always pictured Mr. Right as Sam,” she says. “I knew he would bring amazing energy to the character. He makes you love this guy who’s killing people. but because it’s Sam playing Francis, you’re rooting for him.”

Director Cabezas sealed the deal with Kendrick after they met in New York and bonded over a their shared vision of a bold, unpredictable heroine. “Paco showed me a lot of pre-vis stuff on his computer,” she recalls. “We talked a lot about making sure that Martha was fun and active and not your typical damsel. For example, when we meet Martha, she’s being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend and she crawls into a closet and gets drunk. I really liked doing that scene, being able to spout profanity and nonsense where you don’t even know what you’re saying half the time and you go ‘This is my job! I’m at work, these are my co-workers, this is crazy'”

Producer Jacobs says “Often times with movies in this genre, you see the female lead running scared once the gunfire starts. We needed to find an actress who had that America’s sweetheart girl next door quality, but underneath all of that, in Mr. Right, the gunfire kind of turns Martha on. Anna knew how to pull off that turn.”

Kendrick’s Martha also gets in on the action once she learns how to channel her so-called “gift of motion.” “The stunt team has been amazing,” says the petite actress. “They know how to make you look good even if you’re a little five foot weakling. I’ve had a good time bludgeoning people.” Beard sums up Kendrick’s performance concisely. “Once she takes on Mr. Right’s moves, Anna kicks ass.”

As producer Jacobs sees it, Mr. Right ultimately succeeds on the strength of its leads. “When people see Francis and Anna fall in love with each other, that’s going to be the home run of the movie,” he says. “In order to stand out in this day and age, you can’t stick to regular conventions. Francis and Martha are so fun and the dialogue is so unique, you’re happy to spend two hours with these people.”

An explosive cocktail of romantic action comedy hits cinemas when “Mr. Right” opens April 6, 2016 from Pioneer Films.

To love and to guard in romantic action comedy ‘Mr. Right’

In the tradition of highly-successful romantic action comedies comes a one-of-a-kind love story in “Mr. Right” starring two of Hollywood’s well-sought actors Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell.

In “Mr. Right,” Martha (Anna Kendrick) discovers that her new beau, Francis (Sam Rockwell), is a professional assassin… with a cause. He kills the people ordering the hits. As the bodies pile up, Martha must decide whether to flee or join her man in the mayhem.

Sam Rockwell is that rare Hollywood star who’s equally adept in somber dramas like the most recent Broadway revival “Fool For Love” and BAFTA award-winning “Moon” as he is playing quirky characters in such black-humored action fare “Seven Psychopaths” and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” When director Paco Cabezas met with the actor in late 2012, Rockwell immediately responded to Mr. Right ‘s subversive sense of humor. “I said ‘yes’ right away because Max Landis wrote a really fun script that reminded me of movies like “Grosse Point Blank” in the way it mixed action and romantic comedy,” he says. “I saw Mr. Right as being kind of like Mr. and Mrs. Smith-meets-Silver Lining Playbook where you have two dysfunctional bi-polar type people who find each other. They’re both hot messes, on edge and scary. Francis and Martha might freak other people out, but they don’t freak each other out.”

Kendrick also sparked to Mr. Right because she knew Rockwell would be playing the title role. “I always pictured Mr. Right as Sam,” she says. “I knew he would bring amazing energy to the character. He makes you love this guy who’s killing people. but because it’s Sam playing Francis, you’re rooting for him.”

Producer Jacobs says “Often times with movies in this genre, you see the female lead running scared once the gunfire starts. We needed to find an actress who had that America’s sweetheart girl next door quality, but underneath all of that, in Mr. Right, the gunfire kind of turns Martha on. Anna knew how to pull off that turn.”

The movie veered away from using CGI trickery in favor of old-fashioned physical fisticuffs. “I’m tired of watching action movies plagued with digital effects where nothing is real,” Cabezas explains. “In Mr. Right, everything’s real. Sam Rockwell did 99 percent of the action himself, and he did it with grace and speed.”

Rockwell rose to the live-action challenge. “I’m not formally trained as a dancer but I have been boxing off and on for twenty years so that helped a lot with the lateral movement, feet agility, that kind of crap,” Rockwell explains. “It’s all the same stuff.”

Blending dancing, violence and romance into one-of-a-kind hybrid entertainment, “Mr. Right” aims to seduce audiences with its twisted take on the classic boy-meets-girl formula. “I don’t have a clue how to categorize this movie, and that’s what I love about Mr. Right,” says Cabezas. “It’s funny, it’s a thriller, it has action and a lot of heart. In that sense, it’s an explosive cocktail. I love movies that are great roller coasters of emotion, where you never know what to expect. I hope people who see Mr. Right have a laugh and have a good time and say ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.'”

Rated R-16 by the MTRCB, “Mr. Right” opens April 6, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

‘Pitch Perfect’ star Anna Kendrick pairs up with assassin in ‘Mr. Right’

Produced by hit movie makers, the upcoming romantic action comedy “Mr. Right” sees a hyperactive at the best of times, Martha (Anna Kendrick) has gone full-on manic since her latest breakup. She babbles, parties like a monster, cooks everything in sight — and is looking to do something terrible when she meets Francis (Sam Rockwell; “The Way Way Back”). To anyone else, Francis’s approach would come across as creepy, but Martha can’t help but be intrigued. They seem a perfect match: she’s bananas, he’s bananas… except he’s a deadly sort of bananas. He’s a professional assassin.

Francis is a hitman with a cause: he unexpectedly kills the people ordering the hits. Just as Martha begins to realize her new beau wasn’t joking when he said he had to step out for a moment to shoot someone, things start heating up for Francis. His services are solicited by a dubious client who’s being sought by an equally dubious FBI agent (Tim Roth; The Hateful Eight, Reservoir Dogs). As the bodies pile up, Martha needs to decide whether to flee or join in the mayhem.

Several years before writer Max Landis’ mastery of offbeat storytelling became evident in “American Ultra,” “Victor Frankenstein” and the $122 million-grossing superhero hit “Chronicle,” he dreamed up an outrageous contribution to the rom-com canon in Mr. Right. When the dancing hitman high concept proved too challenging for mainstream Hollywood tastemakers, Circle of Confusion producers Rick Jacobs and Stephen Emery, who also manage Landis, decided to produce the script themselves.

“For all its fun and dynamics, Max’s story didn’t immediately catch the eyes of the studios, so that became an opportunity where Stephen and I decided to put the movie together organically,” Jacobs says. “The great thing about Mr. Right is, it’s got a little bit of everything — action, romance, comedy. The story doesn’t fit in one box, which can make it hard for some people, but for us it seemed like a really fun ride to jump on.”

Making sure Mr. Right featured all the right moves, stunt coordinator Kevin Beard joined forces with fight coordinator James Lew to design Rockwell’s eye-popping stunts. “Our challenge was to make all this action come alive,” says Beard, whose stunt resume includes Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Expendables “Before the shoot began we had a three and a half hour meeting with Paco where the big question was ‘How do you do a dance fight and not make it look stupid?’ He had us go back and take a look at Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin movies from silent era. Once we started working out the moves, we came up with some cool stuff.”

“Mr. Right” opens in cinemas this April 6, 2016 from Pioneer Films.

‘Trolls’ movie adds Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake to voice cast

DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s recent reveal (via Twitter) of the full voice cast for DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” as well as pics showing the actors off with their respective fuzzy-headed onscreen counterparts have followed it up with the latest trailer reveal below.

DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” is an irreverent comedy extravaganza with incredible music! From the genius creators of “Shrek,” “Trolls” stars Anna Kendrick as Poppy, the optimistic leader of the Trolls, and her polar opposite, Branch, played by nine-time Grammy and four-time Emmy Award winner Justin Timberlake who is also on board the movie as its executive music producer and performing multiple songs on the soundtrack. Also starring are “The Late Late Show” host James Corden (Into the Woods) as Biggie, comedian Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek) as Creek, music superstar Gwen Stefani (The Aviator) as DJ Suki, YouTube personality GloZell Green as Grandma Rosiepuff, Kunal Nayyar (“The Big Bang Theory”) as Guy Diamond, comedian Ron Funches (“Undateable”) as Cooper, YouTube personality Meg DeAngelis as Moxie and Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop (Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo) as the Fashionistas. Together, these unlikely pair of Trolls must embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they’ve ever known.

Directed by Mike Mitchell (“Shrek Forever After”), co-directed by Walt Dohrn (“Shrek Forever After”) and produced by Gina Shay (“Shrek Forever After”), the film for the first time tells the story behind the beloved Trolls and their gravity defying and colorful manes. Setting out on an epic adventure that takes Poppy and Branch far beyond the only world they have ever known, their quest will test their strength and reveal their true colors – with no shortage of musical mash-ups along the way!

“Trolls” opens October 26, 2016 from DreamWorks Animation and to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.