Pitch Perfect 2 actress reveals how she trained for five weeks for aerial stunt to save movie opening
If you are not already a fan of Rebel Wilson, you will be.
The first Aussie comedienne to have made it in Hollywood has won over legions since her breakout role in the hit 2011 chick flick, Bridesmaids.
The role she auditioned for went to the equally plus-size Melissa McCarthy but Wilson impressed the producers enough to win a smaller part as Kristen Wiig's creepy roommate.
Stealing every one of her four scenes, she booked five movies the week that Bridesmaids came out.
One of them was 2012's musical comedy Pitch Perfect, the little movie headlined by Anna Kendrick, which became a sleeper hit with its infectious songs and quotable lines.
So it was a no-brainer that Pitch Perfect 2, which opens here tomorrow, would follow right along. The original cast was reassembled and co-star-producer of the first movie, Elizabeth Banks, became director.
Three years after college a capella group Barden Bellas take home the national title, a scandal derails their careers and they have just one chance at redeeming themselves by winning the World Championships in Copenhagen.
The scandal is, of course, caused by Wilson's comically quirky character Fat Amy, who accidentally flashed US President Barack Obama because of a wardrobe malfunction while performing the aerial silk.
Aerial silk is a performance where an artist does aerial acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric.
Wilson, 29, told M: "I did my own aerial stunts because there aren't any acrobatic aerial stunt ladies of my size.
"So they said, 'Rebel, we'll train you. If you can't do it, we'll scrap that and it'll be a completely different opening.'
"But I really wanted to do it, so I trained every day for five weeks to learn that 40-second routine because my dedication to the comedy was very strong."
At the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, Wilson walked in with her entourage, dressed in a black Preen dress which she glammed up by adding pink trimming. Her dress was very much like her personality - shy but confident.
Wilson said: "I think I'm definitely a non-conformist because I just don't do what other people do and I've always thought a little bit differently."
And how she got into showbiz makes an interesting story.
When Wilson finished school, she became a youth goodwill ambassador for Australia and was posted to Mozambique where she contracted malaria and was hospitalised.
"I had this hallucination for about two weeks that I was an actress and that I won an Academy Award," she said.
"In the hallucination, instead of giving an acceptance speech, I gave an acceptance rap and people really liked it.
"When I recovered, I started saying to people, 'Yes, I got into law school but I think I really want to become an actress.'
"People thought I was mental."
In 2003, she moved to New York City, after winning a scholarship endowed by fellow Australian actress Nicole Kidman, to train at Second City, a comedy school whose alumni include Tina Fey and John Candy.
Playing Fat Amy in the first Pitch Perfect flick didn't bother Wilson, who has a plus-size clothing range coming out in October and describes her fashion sense as "a little bit preppy" mixed with "gangsta edge".
"When I looked at the script and there's a character called Fat Amy, I imagined some actresses would be like, 'Oh, I am not playing that character.'
"But I just looked at the comic potential and thought, 'Man, I think that will be the funniest character.'
"I am a bigger girl and you can't really hide that."
Would she lose weight for a movie role then?
"If someone said, 'We'll pay you to do this really cool movie but you have to lose weight', that would be cool, it would be a really good incentive.
"I love martial arts. I have a background in it. I do karate. I wish I could do that in a movie.
"I thought in doing Pitch Perfect 2, I might lose some weight because of all the dancing we had to do.
"We rehearsed 10 hours a day but after rehearsals, we'd go out to dinner. We were filming in Louisiana, so there was so much good fried chicken, and mac and cheese that I just really loved, so I didn't lose weight."
When asked if she wants to build her career purely on comedy, Wilson admitted she had aspirations for a Judi Dench-like trajectory when she was starting out.
"I wanted to be very, very serious," she said.
"I was in a play at Sydney Theatre Company and I thought I was playing a serious role. Except when I went out on stage, everybody just started laughing and I realised very quickly I might have a knack for comedy."
But she is certainly still looking for the serious material.
"It's just about choosing the right dramatic role so that people don't get confused. They'd be like, 'Oh, why is she not being funny in this one?'
"I really respect (late Hollywood funnyman) Robin Williams and his choices. When he did drama, he went off into the really dark stuff.
"That's what we're looking at now. I want to show people I am a trained actress and for them to see the other side of me as well."
Rebel Wilson on...
... being academically inclined, especially in maths
I was like one of those freaky girls who just got 100 per cent in all her maths. I had the best standardised score in the Australian Mathematics Competition at age 14. I was very dorky and didn't have many friends.
... majoring in space law as part of the law degree she received from the University of New South Wales in 2009
Space law is all about, for example, the moon is owned by all of mankind under international treaty. But what's going to happen when, for example, China gets up there and says, 'All of this part is ours and we're going to drill here or we're going to build some cool space station and none of the other countries are allowed in.' So it's kind of the study of what laws we can put in place because outer space and our orbit is owned by all of us right now."
... striving to be healthy - with some success
I'm pretty fit. I work out three times a week with a personal trainer, but I also really love dessert. I love Australian chocolate. Half my suitcase is Australian chocolate. I want to try to look good for the Pitch Perfect 2 premiere but then I also love chocolate and it's like this constant battle.
... why despite being comfortable with her body image, the red carpet still bothers her
I get pretty nervous about it because when everyone's taking your photo, it really is people just looking at you for what you look like and that's not what I've ever been about. I've gotten to where I've gotten because I work hard and I think differently and I'm creative and use my brain a lot. So, to just have people look at you for what you're wearing is very unusual for me.