Anna Kendrick may be small, but she’s got some major chops — and her big presence is being felt all across Hollywood.


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Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff/getty images

Anna Kendrick’s been up all night. Not because she was posing for the paparazzi, courting the tabloids or otherwise misbehaving as so many of her 20-something Hollywood contemporaries are wont to do. No, Kendrick was burning the midnight oil performing dialogue from a pivotal sequence in an upcoming, still-untitled project co-starring Seth Rogen.

After an “over the rainbow” 2009 in which the 25-year-old actress strode a yellow brick road — in the form of a red carpet — through endless months of extreme makeovers, mind-numbing interviews and other promotional duties in support of the blockbuster Twilight franchise and the Oscar nomination she garnered for her star-making turn opposite George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air, this dedication to her craft is Kendrick’s way of staying grounded.

“I’m really glad that the Oscar stuff is over, to be perfectly honest,” she says. “I mean, I am infinitely grateful — I’m so lucky — but it’s been a really crazy year. You’re constantly wearing clothes someone else picked out for you, delivering sound bites instead of real feelings, and walking into rooms full of people you don’t know. I didn’t become an actor for any of that, so it’s been kind of a confusing time for me.”

Which is to say that Kendrick was more than happy to lose sleep for the sake of her work, even if it was for a phone-call sequence in which she won’t even appear on-screen. She simply felt her voice on the other end of the line in this dramatic scene would elevate her co-star’s performance.

According to Rogen, Kendrick’s instincts were spot-on, if almost unprecedentedly magnanimous. “No one does that — staying awake all night to help out another actor,” he says. “The actor is almost never actually on the other end of a phone call you see the actor on-screen making, especially when the scene films in the middle of the night. But Anna was there, above and beyond what I expect from an actor.”

Expectations are something Kendrick is getting used to these days, or trying to anyway. She claims to be feeling “a little skittish” the morning after her all-nighter, catching only three hours of shut-eye and eschewing cosmetics and haute couture in favor of sneakers, a loose-fitting black-and-white hoodie, an iPod and a cup of joe. After almost a full year on the celebrity treadmill, leapfrogging from morning news show to magazine cover to morning news show, Kendrick’s self-described “plain Jane routine” is almost a form of protest — a return to self, forged authentically by a fine young artist intent on becoming an even greater one. “I don’t have any beauty tips. And the only hair secret I have is that I constantly think about chopping mine off,” she confesses with an endearing laugh.