Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Pitch Perfect: Watching The Cups Scene Is A 'Nails On A Chalkboard' Moment For Anna Kendrick

Once in a while, a song or movie scene unexpectedly hits the cultural zeitgeist and becomes so popular that it has the artist looking back at their work with a critical eye to re-examine it instead of letting it go. That appears to be the feeling "Pitch Perfect" star Anna Kendrick has for her unique tune "Cups (When I'm Gone)" from the 2012 musically imbued romantic comedy. Not only did "Cups" capture the attention of fans of the film, it also gained even more popularity when Universal Pictures released the tune as a single and music video.

Looking back at her film career for Vanity Fair, Kendrick admitted that she still finds herself picking her performance of "Cups" apart: "Now when I watch it, I can see I'm like rushing the back half of the phrase each time. I'm being nitpicky."

Kendrick apparently wasn't the only one who noticed. When she had to record the song again for the studio to release it as a single (Kendrick admitted her feeling was: "Who is gonna want that?"), she ended up getting a special assist to keep her timing just right. 

"The music supervisor was like, 'I'm going to put a metronome in there so that you stop rushing it,' cause I think I — you do get nervous, and you're trying to do it really quickly," Kendrick recalled. "It's like a weird nails-on-chalkboard thing for me to watch this a little bit."

Kendrick's Cups moves from the stage into a diner

In "Pitch Perfect," Anna Kendrick's character, Becca Mitchell, performs "Cups" on an empty stage as her audition for the college singing ensemble the Bellas. Along with the aid of an empty plastic drinking cup and hand claps, Kendrick sang "Cups" a cappella for just over a half-minute in the film, and the song was stretched out to 1 minute, 16 seconds for the "Pitch Perfect: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack."

Universal, however. had bigger plans for Kendrick and "Cups," and the studio produced a longer single and a full-fledged music video — which, along with some narrative exposition, clocks in at about 4 minutes. In the music video, Kendrick is featured as a cook-slash-server in the kitchen of a diner who rolls dough and cuts out English muffins with a drinking cup. After she pops the muffins into an oven, Kendrick — with some musical accompaniment this time — begins singing "Cups" and takes the song out to the dining area where patrons sing and tap their drinking cups as well.

In the end, the much larger scale of the "Cups" video typifies how much the song burgeoned in popularity from its much simpler beginnings in "Pitch Perfect."

"I had no idea that this moment would become what it became," Kendrick reflected for Vanity Fair. "When Universal was like, 'We should make a whole music video for this!' I was like 'What? Who would want that?' Egg on my face."

For the record, "Cups" rose to No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart more than a year after "Pitch Perfect" was released in theaters.