Aca-Awesome: ‘Pitch Perfect’ Star and Producer Elizabeth Banks to Direct Sequel

By  · Published on January 28th, 2014

Consider this the rare bit of movie news that manages to handily encapsulate the promise of so many, many things we’ve long wanted to see come true, ranging from dearly-held personal preferences (a love for movies about reticent a cappella stars and Rebel Wilson) and the hint of an industry sea change that everyone should be hungry for (more female directors). It’s worth singing about, you guys.

THR reports that Elizabeth Banks is on board to direct the upcoming Pitch Perfect sequel, as the co-star and producer of the first film will now add “feature film director” to her resume (along with maintaining both her roles as supporting star and producer). Banks was apparently “instrumental” in making the first film a success, and her energy and passion for the project seem to heartily recommend her for the gig. Screenwriter Kay Cannon, who adapted Mickey Rapkin’s book for the first film’s script, is also back on board to pen this new installment.

The news that Banks is jumping into the directing pool comes at an opportune time, one in which the discussion of the lack of mainstream female directors is reaching, well, a fever pitch. Given the success of the first Pitch Perfect (as THR notes, “the movie grossed more than $115 million worldwide on a $17 million budget. It also over-performed in ancillary markets with the studio estimating it generated roughly $135 million in physical and digital home entertainment sales across North America to date, making it one of the top-performing DVD and VOD titles of 2013”), it seems as if Banks is already in a position to make a hugely popular feature film, and one that will put her in the top-tier of money-making female directors – on her first directorial outing.

Considering that, of last year’s one hundred top-grossing films, only two were directed by women (that would be Kimberly Peirce’s Carrie and Frozen, which was co-directed by Jennifer Lee), there’s certainly room for a blockbuster sequel helmed by a woman, especially one who dearly loves her source material and is familiar with the entire cast and crew.

Banks’ apparent passion for the project will hopefully only drive the film even further, and she’ll serve up more of the stuff that made the film so great (including amusing asides from her character to John Michael Higgins’ misogynist a cappella competition co-commentator). Weirdly, Banks was originally only set to produce the first film – her supporting role as competition commentator (and apparent former a capella star) Gail was originally slated for Kristen Wiig, who had to decline the role due to scheduling conflicts. Instead, Banks got to inject her pop and flair into the role, and now she gets to direct the next outing. How is that for fun trivia? And things just working out in a wonderful way for everyone involved?

In other aca-amazing news, THR also reports that original stars Anna Kendrick and Wilson are both expected to return for the second film.

Pitch Perfect 2 is expected to arrive sometime in 2015. Warm up your vocal chords now.

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