Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin, the Peacock comedy series based on the hit Pitch Perfect film franchise, makes its Canadian debut today on W Network. Ahead of the premiere, I was beyond excited to chat with three of its stars: Flula Borg, who reprises his fan-favourite character, Pieter Krämer; Jameela Jamil, who plays German pop star, Gisela, who also happens to be Pieter’s lover-turned-nemesis; and Lera Abova, who shines as Pieter’s ultra-cool sister, Thea, also known as DJ Das Boot.
Thea is phenomenally layered, nuanced and empowered in a way that I found refreshing to watch on screen. Lera, was that part of the appeal for you in playing this character?
Lera: For sure. She’s everything I always wanted to be and never was because I’m not as cool as her. The costume, hair and makeup really helped the whole look, but also huge thanks to Megan Amram. Creating this character is something beautiful. Thea’s personality is colder and then evolves in different ways. It’s nice to see someone who’s very open minded, very protective of her soul and her art.
Jameela, I am obsessed with Gisela, especially her surface-level feminism that disguises her villainy. It’s entertaining to watch, but also offers some great commentary on some of those fake feminist icons out there.
Jameela: She’s a massive, constant contradiction, and I love playing those characters. I love playing complicated, irritating, nauseating people, because if we don’t understand them, how are we going to destroy them? It was really fun. I got to use so many kinds of Los Angeles archetypes and stereotypes to build this woman. How fuelled she is by competition and hatred — and all of these dirty things that don’t represent the others at all — made her a joy to play. She’s a royal pain in the ass, and her abuse of the rhetoric of feminism in order to enhance her own misogyny is classic. Megan Amram is the master of the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. She uses the most ridiculous, absurdist comedy to put out a much bigger and more important message.
Pieter has been one of my favourite characters in this franchise since Das Sound Machine first took the stage in Pitch Perfect 2. Before this series was announced, did you ever think about where he ended up after the film?
Flula: Oh, yes. Anytime they yelled cut during Pitch Perfect 2, number one, I would eat a big bowl of yogurt. And number two, I would daydream. What’s going on with him? What’s his favourite colour? Does he play basketball? Who’s his favourite rapper. I thought about these things for years and years, and then out of the bluesies, we get this delicious show where I get to explore all of these things and more.
I was hoping you could share a bit about establishing the dynamics between your characters, because I thought those relationships helped make this a show about more than just a rivalry between a cappella performers.
Lera: It was pretty easy because I’ve had situations like this in my life that I could relate to. Also, Flula and I had a really warm relationship behind the camera. He’s helped me a lot, like many of the cast members. Flula himself is a very amazing, warm person with a huge heart, so it wasn’t hard to build this relationship with him in the series.
Jameela: You did a fucking brilliant job. So, I love going walking and it’s not always super safe for women to go out walking on their own at night. Flula is such a gentleman that he would go walking with me every single night and even if he had been working longer than I had, at 8pm I would always get a text — like a dog being walked basically. I was Flula’s dog in Berlin. We became incredibly close because of this daily routine, and then it was fun to play these mortal enemies throughout the show. Also, it made it extremely awkward when we’d have to make out because we’re really good friends.
It was a joy all around and I hope we get to do more together because you don’t often find screen partners who you can build that kind of chemistry with so fast. All of us as a collective cast have that with each other, and it made it easy.
Images Courtesy of Peacock