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Anna Kendrick: The Stowaway Scene That Makes Us Love Her Even More

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Anna Kendrick gets another opportunity to show off her sublime skills for bringing levity to even the most dramatic of circumstances in the new sci-fi film Stowaway. The Oscar-nominated actress stars in the movie as Zoe Levenson, a medical doctor who is part of a manned mission to Mars, in which the crew is tasked with studying and preparing the red planet for eventual human habitation.

After a mostly successful launch, Zoe and her fellow astronauts are ready and eager to get to work. But it takes less than a day for things to go spectacularly awry once they discover the unconscious Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), a flight deck engineer who's become an unintentional stowaway. Though Michael is a perfectly lovely man, he's completely untrained for this mission. And what's worse is that he's also accidentally destroyed the ship's life support systems, leaving the crew without enough resources to support four people for the full journey. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find a solution, fraught with both peril and ethical conundrums.

Before all of the tension sets in, though, there's one scene that really showcases the innate brightness of Kendrick's screen presence in the pic. Prior to the crew's discovery of their unexpected guest and just how dire their circumstances are, the burgeoning space family begins to establish quite a cozy new rapport in the ship. And almost immediately after setting in, Zoe decides to lighten the mood by playing a prank on her fellow astronaut scientist David Kim Zoe (Daniel Dae Kim). Not only does this scene establish the character as the heart of the crew, but it also shows off just how many nuances Kendrick puts into her performances.

Liftoff and a laugh

In the scene, David is experiencing a case of motion sickness, which is understandable considering his body has just been jettisoned into space, and things got just bumpy enough on the way out that even the ship's commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette) briefly considered aborting the launch partway through. So, as the trained medic of the ship, Zoe steps up with a prescription for what ails David — but there's a catch.

In addition to presenting him with a pill, she also gives him a dose of a very different kind of medicine when she serves it to him with one of her Yale mugs. Now, the fact that the only personal effect in David's bunk is a Harvard pennant flag makes his passion for the program crystal clear, but Zoe has been playing the long game here. Astronauts are only given so much room for personal items, but judging by Zoe's smug smirk, it was well worth it to lose some crucial space in her bags just to make this moment happen.

Kendrick's mischievous grin and pointed glances at the ship's commander are playful, but subtle, as her character quietly waits for the inevitable response from David once he realizes he's drinking from a rival alma mater mug. Then, she masterfully pivots to an exaggerated expression of wide-eyed innocence once David catches on and calls Zoe out for the gag and visibly savors his reaction.

Kendrick has always been able to say so much even when she has few words, thanks to her comedic timing and sensational command of her facial expressions. And here, the actress seems to be enjoying reacting to David's frustration just as much as her character is.

Fuel for the fire

In addition to displaying her expressive comedy chops in this scene, Kendrick also gets to show off her celebrated talent for delivering dialogue as well. First, she throws in a sliver of her signature fast-talk when Zoe incredulously denies coaxing anyone from the payload team into letting her bend the rules to bring the mugs onboard. Kendrick has certainly shown off her quick-punch dialogue skills in past performances, from her turn as Jessica, the ultimate frenemy in Twilight, to her Oscar-nominated frequent flyer character Natalie in Up in the Air, as well as her Emmy-nominated role as, Cody, a sex doll's best friend in Dummy. And here, she gamely uses her tried and true quick-talking talents to give the exchange an added air of humor.

Then, the scene continues with David pointing out to Zoe just how much trouble she went to in order to trick him into drinking like a Bulldog: Not only did she expend her precious personal effects allotment to bring this mug onboard the vessel, but she doesn't actually even care about the storied rivalry that makes this gag work in the first place.

Kendrick plays this brief moment with the vibe of a school teacher patiently waiting for a small child to finish a belabored sentence before offering her very amused response to him, chirping, "No, but you do, David!" It's then that she fully leans into enjoying her own joke by donning a cheesy grin and taunting, "Aw, it's so easy!" The scene ends with a clever display of another of Kendrick's many talents as Zoe quickly takes on a more serious demeanor and deadpans, "As your doctor, I'm telling you to drink that."

With all of her gentle humor and good nature on display in this scene, it's no wonder Kendrick's Zoe earns the title of the crew's resident comedian from her colleagues — you know, before the crew finds themselves in a giant mess of mortal danger.