The set of a musical comedy isn’t exactly where you expect to get physically slapped, especially by a body of water. “But yeah, I got pitch-slapped real hard by a lake,” actor Chrissie Fit recently told The Huffington Post -- using the kind of wordplay for which the "Pitch Perfect" movie franchise has become famous.
Fit, 31, had her encounter with the lake while filming "Pitch Perfect 2," the much-anticipated sequel to Jason Moore's 2012 sleeper hit. The original "Pitch Perfect" not only prompted thousands to learn Anna Kendrick’s version of “Cups” using real cups as percussion, but ultimately made “singing nerds” cool by giving them a (pitch-perfect) voice.
In the sequel, written by Kay Cannon ("30 Rock," "New Girl") and directed by Elizabeth Banks (who has appeared in both movies), Fit plays Florencia “Flo” Fuentes, a new member of the college a cappella group the Barden Bellas. The sequel aims to please die-hard fans by offering bigger, grander versions of many of the original film's highlights.
But with jokes about being deported and dying at sea, or almost being sold for a chicken at the age of 9, there are certainly moments where the movie takes Fit’s character and steers her toward Latino-stereotype territory.
Fit, who was born in Miami and is of Cuban descent, recently spoke to HuffPost to discuss her character, the stereotype question, that “crazy” incident with the lake and more.
Tell me about your character, Flo.
She’s a foreign exchange student that comes to Barden University to continue her education and then she’s now one of the newest singers in the Barden Bellas. I sing the bass line most of the time, which is funny ‘cause I’m like the smallest girl playing the lowest note.
It wasn’t clear from the start that Flo was an exchange student. Do you know more about her background than what made it on screen?
I do personally. We talked about it a little bit, as far as if we were going to be very specific on where she was from or keep it kind of a mystery. When I watched the movie, we kind of kept it a little bit more of a mystery, which I enjoy. It kind of reminds me a little bit like Fez on “That '70s Show,” where no one knew where he was from.
I know where she’s from -- she’s from South America and here [in the U.S.] to continue her education. But it doesn’t really make it that clear in the movie, and I think it’s kind of cool, actually.
Tell me about when you saw the script for the first time. I heard you guys actually got it pretty late.
So when you finally read the script, what was your first impression of your character?
I thought it was hilarious. I mean, I’ve been a big fan of Kay Cannon for a long time. One of my favorite shows is "30 Rock." So I was like "This is so funny," because it was kind of a different take on the Latina character. Basically everything I say is kind of in a way making fun of their white girl problems, and so I obviously appreciated that a lot. I think it was really funny, and just to be able to be sarcastic and witty and smart about the humor -- I really kind of loved that too.
She’s very specific and that’s also something that I really appreciate in comedy, when it’s a very kind of specific tone and voice.
What exactly do you mean by Flo being specific?
I feel that she knows exactly what to say and when to say it. She’s kind of like the polar opposite of [Brittany Snow's character] Chloe, in that Chloe thinks that not performing [at] the Puppy Bowl is the end of the world. And Flo is kind of like, “Well, not really, because...” And then she gives an example of a real-life situation which is obviously exaggerated but is a funny dichotomy of their kind of relationship.
I can definitely see that. But I have to be completely honest with you -- when I saw the film, I felt that the character of Flo and her comedy relied too heavily on Latino stereotypes. The film is obviously a comedy and a lot of its humor is very dark, but I think there will be Latinos who wish that Flo herself had had more dimension. What are your thoughts on the subject?
Well I mean, first of all, it’s a comedy. And it’s a comedy where one of the main characters [is named] Fat Amy and she makes fun of her physical appearance all the time. I’m a very, very proud Latina and I didn’t find offense to it. I thought it was a funny, smart way to go about it. There’s so many examples throughout movies and TV where they... kind of [play] off on that. And I think we did, but in a different way, in a smart way.
[Flo is] in college and getting an education. There’s a very specific part -- and audience members will miss it -- but when we’re graduating, my character has an honors [stole]. So you know, she graduates from college with honors and it takes a very strong person to come from another country where the language is not their first language. I experienced it personally coming from Miami, where I have a lot of friends who had come from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, and they were coming here kind of blind. I’m very passionate about that, because I think that people will relate to it and will also appreciate it.
Plus, Flo is basically my mom. If my mom had been in an a cappella group in college, that would probably be Flo. I drew a lot of inspiration from my mom.
Like you said, your character graduated. But this sequel proved that it doesn’t mean past Barden Bellas can’t return for the next film. So if there were a "Pitch Perfect 3," what would Flo’s ideal storyline be?
Ooh, that’s a good question. I wish I could dictate that. I would dream up Flo being the CEO of a company and then having to be, like, called to come back to sing a cappella with everyone else. But she’s too busy running a Fortune 500 company or something like that. That would be fun. Or maybe kind of taking more of a leadership role within the group. That would be cool to see.
This isn’t your first musical rodeo, either. You were in Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie,” so how was your experience with "Pitch Perfect" different?
I didn’t realize before going into "Pitch Perfect" how difficult it was going to be to sing a cappella and dance at the same time. Just because I sang the bass line a lot of the times and the choreography was usually to the lyrics of the song. So you kind of have to concentrate to be able to do things in sync and in the right frame. So it takes a lot of effort in that respect.
So you guys actually fully sing it out on set, not just rely on the playback?
Well yeah, we pre-record in the studio, but so that it seems authentic and it seems correct, we sing it out. I would actually love to see the recordings of that to see how we sound, because there’s a lot of movement. I know a lot of a cappella groups, but none of them are doing backflips while singing, for sure.
You guys must’ve had quite the workout with all your onscreen antics. I can imagine it’s even more fun behind the scenes. What is the craziest thing that happened on set?
I can tell you right now that the craziest time we had on set was when the Green Bay Packers were there. Those boys are fun and funny and insane and crazy. I love them. But also there was one point when we were at the a cappella boot camp and we had to jump off into a drop bounce and then into a lake, and the stunt guy jumped off of mine so that I could jump higher than the other girls, ‘cause I’m pretty tiny. And I over-rotated and literally got pitch-slapped by the lake, really hard. There was a moment of silence after I hit the water, because everybody didn’t know what had happened to me. And then I popped out out of the water and was like, “I’m OK! I’m good.”
“Pitch Perfect 2” premieres in theaters nationwide May 15. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.