Rebel Wilson reveals how she scored HUGE pay rise for Pitch Perfect 3

Virgin Radio

2 May 2024, 07:15

Credit: Virgin Radio / Rex

Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson explained how she realised she could "leverage" the “biggest deal” of her career.

The award-winning actor, director, comedian and producer joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar following the release of her first memoir, Rebel Rising. During her conversation with Chris, the Aussie spoke about how 2012’s Pitch Perfect is her “personal favourite, really, of all the movies that I've done.”

Explaining that, following her breakthrough appearance in hit comedy Bridesmaids, she got a message over Facebook from Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon, Rebel explained: “She goes, ‘I've written this movie called Pitch Perfect, and I don't want you to be offended, but there's this character called Fat Amy, and I feel like you'd be great for it. And she sends me the script and asks if I would audition. I go in and audition and sing Lady Gaga, Edge of Glory with my own body percussion.

“So, I did my own thing, and then they cast me and I was the first person cast in Pitch Perfect, and it was because Kay had seen these off cuts of Bridesmaids.” 

The film - which also starred the likes of Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks -  was a big hit, as was its sequel. “Pitch Perfect 2 was the highest grossing musical comedy of all time. And then, I don't know, I guess a lot of people wanted to put their hands in it. And so Pitch Perfect 3 got a bit muddled,” Rebel said.

She told Chris: “So basically, at the end of Pitch Perfect 2, they told us OG Bellas, ‘You know what? We think you're too old. You're not going to be coming back for the third movie… You cost too much now. So you know what, this new lovely actress Hailee Steinfeld, who joined us in the second movie, she's going to take over the franchise and you older girls now we won't be needing you. So thank you so, so much.’ They literally said that to us as we're filming the end of Pitch Perfect 2. And they made us film a scene where we hand the reins of the franchise basically over to the young Hailee, who is the most gorgeous girl. Nothing against Hailee, she was not part of it.” 

Rebel continued: “Surprise, surprise, flash forward, Pitch Perfect 2 becomes the highest grossing musical comedy of all time. I thought, ‘Oh, that's interesting. Would they really get rid of us?’ Turns out they were doing these focus groups, and my housekeeper’s niece in Los Angeles went in, and executives from Universal were like, ‘Who would you definitely want to see back in Pitch Perfect 3?’ and Fat Amy ranked really high. So I thought, as a lawyer, this is what you call leverage. The younger people that came in for the second movie, they signed up for a three picture deal, me, they they didn’t, and so we could basically ask but whatever we wanted!”

Revealing her salary for the movie, the actor told Chris: “That was my biggest deal of my career, and it was 10 million US dollars! I don't say that to brag, because there are many male movie stars that you hear about, that very openly get 20 million for pictures, or more. And so I'm not saying it for that. I'm saying it’s like a win, it’s like girl power and it was just utilising my law degree.” 

Rebel - who graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts (Theatre and Performance Studies) and Bachelor of Laws degrees, said: “I guess people thought ‘Why are these actors going on strike?’ last year. It’s because they don't realise that 98 percent or something earn below minimum wage as an actor, and then me starting on Pitch Perfect 1 got what's the union's minimum. So to go from that and then to go to $10 million for Pitch Perfect 3 was something that I was really proud of, and, and that I worked hard to get.”

Speaking about how, from a very young age, she “always knew that if I wanted money I had to earn it myself,” and talking about her “entrepreneurial spirit”, she told Chris: “I am really proud of that, and I hope now with my gorgeous daughter that I do pass that on to her.”

Read about Rebel's "oh my gosh" moment with Barbra Streisand here.

Rebel Rising is out now. 

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.