‘Pitch Perfect’ writer marks directorial debut via comedy film ‘Blockers’

Kay Cannon, the writer and architect of the groundbreaking Pitch Perfect movies has proved that comedies about strong, dynamic women could pull huge audiences of female fans at the box office.

With her directorial debut in Universal Pictures’ sex comedy Blockers, Cannon has become only the sixth woman in the history of film to direct a big R-rated studio comedy.

In the film, when three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. As nonstop helicoptering struggles with awkwardly letting go, the well-meaning trio shares in the raucous comedy that accompanies their kids’ biggest step into adulthood.

Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are thrown together by fate—or rather their daughters becoming fast friends on the first day of kindergarten. As their inseparable girls grow into ride-or-die young adults, the trio of parents becomes de facto commiserates, sharing in their kids’ special moments, from birthdays and teen heartaches to first dances and now prom.

“I had been itching to direct for a long time,” she confesses. “Women don’t get an opportunity like this often and I was excited for the chance.”

When making her directorial debut, it was also important to choose a film that would one day resonate with her daughter. “Even though my daughter’s still young, I wanted to direct a film that she could eventually see herself in,” Cannon says. “I was waiting for a story that shows young women in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”

The story of Blockers appealed to Cannon because it wasn’t a typical ‘high-school sex movie.’ “It shows young women taking control of their own sexuality, and confronts the sexual double standard,” she shares. “Right away, I wanted to do this.”

For far too long, films have been made about young men’s firsts. With Blockers, young women finally have a rollicking film about their own sexual experience that’s equally relatable. The scene where the young women make the sex pact is a favorite for Cannon because it sounds like a conversation that could be overheard in any high school cafeteria. “They’re silly; they’re crass; they curse,” she offers. “They talk about sex in ways that we haven’t seen young women talk about it, at least not in high school.”

Cannon hopes that this story that explores sexuality from several angles will prompt audiences of all ages to start a long-overdue conversation about sex, responsibility and respecting the choices of young women. She offers, “I didn’t talk about sex growing up at all. It was abstinence and that’s it. Maybe you wouldn’t want to see this movie sitting next to your parents because there are a lot of dirty jokes, but my dream for this film is to get people laughing and then talking. I would love that.”

In Philippine cinemas May 2, Blockers is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘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.