The newly graduated Bellas are scrambling for cash and purpose in New York City at the start of “Pitch Perfect 3”: Becca (Anna Kendrick) is working an entry-level job and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is performing in Times Square as an Amy Winehouse impersonator.
“Rebel pitched this idea of Fat Amy Winehouse and we just ran with it because it’s so funny,” says Trish Sie, who took over as director after Elizabeth Banks stepped down last year.
Most of the third and expected final film takes the ladies around Europe for one last acca-venture performing for U.S. troops -- oh, and DJ Khaled is there too, but that’s a whole other plotline. But, we do get a glimpse of what life is like in Manhattan for the group early on thanks to a Bella reunion at the Brooklyn aquarium, which one must assume is actually supposed to be the New York Aquarium.
In a montage of flashbacks during the reunion, we get to see Amy donning a tall black wig will singing at her own makeshift theater booth in midtown. Chances are she’s taking her chances without a city permit, but Sie says, “she does yell to a hot dog vendor, ‘This is my corner!’ So, maybe she went through the hoops and got herself one,” but the chances are slim.
“There was a discussion about if we should put her in a tiny experimental theater somewhere, but the street corner gave us the chance to show the scale of New York -- the hot dog vendor, the cabs honking -- it also seemed more depressing,” Sie adds. “We really wanted that feel of trying to find your place in the world.”
Sie says the decision to place most of the Bellas in NYC post-Barden University was rooted in the idea that the city is a “universal place so many people end up after college.”
“We wanted to tap into that aspirational feeling that people leaving college have, where they want something exciting and all the possibilities but we also wanted the grittiness of real life,” Sie says.
That grittiness comes to a head when we get a glimpse of Amy and Becca’s teeny studio apartment. The bathroom is in the kitchen, their beds are separated by standalone clothing racks and Becca’s sleeping on a pull-out couch.
“It’s not the version of New York that you might experience if you’re starting out as a doctor,” Sie says. “This is what people who are strapping around trying to find their careers experience. But we tried to keep it upbeat, it’s not about being like sardines. It’s very close-knit and vibrant.”
Though we’re not officially told where that apartment is, Sie says the idea for the set was based on the film’s production designer Toby Corbett’s first digs in Alphabet City.
We get but a half hour at best of the Bellas in NYC before they shoot off to Europe for what’s expected to be their final excursion, but Sie says she’s willing to bring them back again in the future “in a heartbeat.”
“Pitch Perfect 3” hits theaters just in time for Pitch-mas on Dec. 22.