The surprise hit of 2012 was Pitch Perfect, a comedy that has become a cult classic in the intervening years. So it's no surprise that it sparked a sequel. And the cast was up for the challenge. "To me, it felt like the pressure was off because I knew people wanted to see Pitch Perfect 2," says the film's star Anna Kendrick. "When you do almost every other film, you have no idea if anybody's going to be interested in sitting down and watching your stupid movie."

Pitch Perfect 2 posterPitch Perfect 2 unites the gang

For her the toughest part was getting her voice in shape to perform the a cappella numbers. "This is so much work," she admits. "You have to treat your body like a temple all the time. I could do it for a month, but sometimes I want to have fast food and a beer. I don't care for physical activity!"

More: Read our review of Pitch Perfect 2

Costar Rebel Wilson agrees that the sequel was very physical. "The first one we had a lot of dancing and high-level choreography," she says. "But this one was really something else! For the aerial stunt sequence in the beginning, I trained for five weeks. If I couldn't do it they couldn't get a stunt double that's my size, so it was either I do it or that's not the opening of the movie. I'm afraid of heights and I'm not that flexible. To hang upside down is really tricky, and to hold it for 45 seconds you really do have to train for it. But I smashed it!"

Watch the trailer for Pitch Perfect 2 here: 

This opening sequence immediately ups the stakes for the sequel, which Elizabeth Banks says was the point. Banks makes her feature directing debut on the sequel, along with reprising her role as riotously snarky commentator Gail Abernathy-McKadden. "I was very confident going in," she laughs of directing. "But it is, of course, a challenge to give people more of what they loved about the first film but also expand the world. What helped is that we had a sweet, small, university-set story the first time around and we had a great opportunity to blow it up this time. The musical numbers are all bigger and crazier and more comedic. We just leaned into what people already liked."

More: Watch the video for Jessie J's Pitch Perfect 2 song 'Flashlight'

And she's already thinking of where else this can go. "If people embrace it in the way we hope that they do, I think we have to do a big right turn and do something completely different, otherwise we'll be facing off against aliens," she laughs.

"We'll be the Avengers of a cappella!"