Pitch Perfect muso takes stars on boot camp

Jessie Papain
Pitch Perfect 2 music director Deke Sharon with Rebel Wilson. Picture: Facebook

He was the vocal taskmaster charged with whipping the voices of stars such as Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson into shape for the first Pitch Perfect film. But after the cult-like success of the original, music director Deke Sharon stepped it up another notch for the sequel, enrolling the cast in an intensive new version of his a cappella boot camp several weeks before shooting began.

Where preparations for the first movie consisted of teaching the basics, Sharon toldAAA his latest regime was a “three-ring circus” that put the actors through their paces like never before.

“The second movie was like a family reunion but I was like ‘OK, here’s the deal girls: at the end of the first movie you finished your freshman year. Now you are supposed to be seniors so I need to make you sound like you have been nationally renowned a cappella stars for the last three years’,” Sharon, a pioneer of contemporary a cappella, said.

“There was no slowing down. I extended vocal techniques and ranges, made them imitate instruments, all kinds of crazy stuff. It was just as much work (as the first) and this time we knew people would be watching.”

Of all the cast, which also included Hailee Steinfeld and Brittany Snow, Sharon really enjoyed working with Australian actress Wilson, who he likened to the late Robin Williams.

“Rebel’s character is very unbridled and throws herself into situations but she has thought a lot about the jokes, because a lot of the jokes in the movie are hers,” the San Francisco-based muso said.

“The same thing goes when we are recording her voice. We will put her behind the microphone and start by just singing the notes, and then we will go crazy. But at no point is she unhinged, she is a very intelligent actor.”