Being the Weird and Quirky Lilly For The Third Time: A Conversation with Hana Mae Lee
Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office.
After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.
Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins all return and are joined by additions including John Lithgow and Ruby Rose. Pitch Perfect 3 is again produced by Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, and is directed by Trish Sie (Step Up All In).
In our interview The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali spoke to Hana about her character Lilly, returning to the franchise and working with Trish Sie…
Congratulations with the film, how did it feel for you coming back to Lilly for possibly the last time?
It was great because I love playing Lilly, she’s definitely a really quirky oddball that I really adored, really loved playing her. I can really quickly get into her character.
Playing her in the first film and the second and the third has been really fun and a fun dynamic of how she changes all the time but we can still expect the same weird, quirky things from her.
So that’s been really great, I’m definitely going to miss that, I’m definitely going to miss playing her and wearing all her patterns and hearing all the goofy things she says.
This franchise has been really great to work with Universal, they have been really fabulous and we’ve had great music team to work with and wonderful music and all the actors and all the dancing and the costumes and a really wonderful ride these past few years.
When filming Pitch Perfect 3, were there any scenes that stood out for you?
I think for the film, I just loved the whole a cappella scene I mean, I think the whole a cappella scene with a cappella groups has really blown up, it’s be really fun, and as far as the filming and the cast goes, I’m always going to have the memories with the girls and the dancing and the singing and all the choreography we had to learn and all the costumes that’s always going to be in my memories for sure, and I’m always going to love our fanbase which is such a diverse range from age to men and women to just boys and girls who love the film, that’s always going to be a huge blessing with me because not a lot of films do that where they have such a wide range of people that really enjoy the film so that’s always going to be a big part of my life, also because it was six years of my life so it’s a pretty big landmark chapter of my life.
Is being able to sing and dance something you look for in the roles you chose to pursue?
For singing and dancing? No (laughs) I think I’m going to leave it there for Pitch Perfect, leave it there singing and dancing and then the nice clothes.
Actually I also did Jem & the Holograms, that was also a Universal movie and that had singing and dancing in it as well, but that was just because I loved Jem & the Holograms growing up, but there’s not, I mean, nowadays a lot of TV shows and movies that have singing and dancing in it, but for me I think I’m going to cap here, I think I’m going to end on a high note and just say Pitch Perfect and Jem and that will be my prime (laughs).
What is on the horizon for you?
So I’m working on a few projects, a few episodic television series and a couple of films that you’ll probably be seeing that in the next year or two.
In December I’m in the third season of Those Who Can’t which is a show on TruTV so that’ll be coming out in December and I have a horror movie coming out in 2019 called Abruptio.
You know I think it’s fourth season of Those Who Can’t actually, yes I think it’s the fourth season not the third. (laughs)
With Pitch Perfect 3 you welcome Trish Sie to the Director’s Chair, how was she to work with?
She was great, she has a lot of energy and kindness, fun and had great ideas, she has like a really big choreography background and she was really wonderful to work with and she would say “you guys know these characters, you’ve been doing it for six years” and she just let us improv a lot and she has great ideas and was wonderful to work with.
She loves animals and I love animals so we bonded a lot over all the animals she has at her house and all the animals I had growing up, but as a director she’s phenomenal and she just brought it every day and was very communicative with all the ideas that she had and very giving and she was wonderful.
What’s the thing you’ll take away most from you time working on the Pitch Perfect series?
Yeah I think a lot of friendships that where definitely made with the first film and, you know, it like, it’s great when you’re experiencing things together as a group, it’s like a nice bond for friendship, and, you know, when we did the first one there was always this like, it was so great because a lot of us are super young and, you know, for a lot of us this was our first movie it was a nice bond and we created a lot of memories, the first two we shot in Louisiana we went out all the time at (dinners?) (can’t make out) food and went to dinner there where a lot of great memories that where formed and we’ll still all keep in contact with each other and we’ll know what’s going on in everyone’s lives, it’s created a nice friendship which is pretty cool.
With the third film you go on the USO tour, were you happy with the direction the film went in?
Yeah it was super cool, Elizabeth Banks has a relationship with the USO and it was really interesting to see all the bases because as an actor you don’t actually get to shoot too much on location especially something like the USO base, all the bases are private about all that stuff so so it’s really kind of awesome to see that.
And they took us on a little tour of like all the planes and jets, and it was really interesting and a lot of the people who served were really awesome and it was fun to be in Europe, Italy, a lot of it was shot in Atlanta except for exteriors which was shot in Nice but they didn’t take us (laughs) but (ther than that it really turned out pretty well and it was fun, what did you think?
I really enjoyed it, I like the ways its been cut together like it starts with the end and then it goes back but yeah I’ve just been a fan of the series since the beginning so I thought it was a nice close.
I thought that too, I thought it was a really nice ending to all three of the movies and I feel kind of nostalgic about the first.
I though that too a good ending to the trilogy.
Is there anything that you didn’t get the chance to explore with Lilly that you would like to?
Yeah, well the third movie actually got really weird and pretty wacky like there was a lot of things that they ended up not using which I was pretty sad and bummed about, like she would say what can happen in the future so in the movie they had her, like, always professing what’s going to happen in the future so when I’m wearing that dress it’s because I know it’s going to be splattered with peach juice and then I say certain things in the moment where I got splattered with the juice and also I say “I knew this was going to happen” so there was like a future telling thing that really didn’t get to play out in the movie.
So that I kind of wish happened because I think she was starting to become a little weirder with every movie and at the end she is no longer possessed, I think it would have been a little bit more awesome, but that’s just my selfish reasons and cool to do, that would have been really fun, and exposed to that psychotically, but yeah I mean I’ve had a lot of fun with Lilly and I’m definitely going to miss playing her.
They should do like a Lilly, Machete type movie (laughs) like Lilly fighting aliens.
PITCH PERFECT 3 IS AVAILABLE NOW ON BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL, COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT