While everyone obsessed with the former Orange is the New Black star is more than aware that she can act, the fact that Ruby Rose can really sing, too, is a lot less well-known. Yet when her character Calamity and her band EverMoist challenge the Bellas in the new movie Pitch Perfect 3, Rose shows off some seriously impressive pipes. And upon the film's Dec. 22 premiere, Rose explains to me how singing has actually been a consistent factor throughout a majority of her life, even if fans didn't know it.
But let's first clear something up, for anyone who's wondering: Yes, Rose is really singing in the film. "I didn’t milli vanilli it," she says with a laugh when we chat over the phone. "It was a lot of fun." Rose's experience with singing goes way back. "I grew up in a church choir when I was in school and even in my twenties I was sort of singing when I was hosting MTV and I decided I wanted to release a single," Rose says. In 2012, Rose released the single "Guilty Pleasure" before writing and producing The Veronicas' "By Your Side" in 2016.
Still, the 31-year-old is primarily known for her acting, modeling, and LGBTQ activism. The Australia native became an American pop culture obsession with her role of Stella in Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black and appearances in action-packed films like Resident Evil, xXx, and John Wick. But singing was always a passion. And while she's been singing and playing guitar on-and-off throughout her life, Pitch Perfect 3, in which Rose plays a sexy, cocky frontwoman who outperforms the Bellas, gave her a chance to channel a passion she's mostly put away for the last decade.
"This film... got me back into music, which I hadn’t done in so long," Rose says. "I’d sort of forgotten how much I love it and how therapeutic it was." Still, she won't deny that joining an established franchise with a group of fantastic singers is pretty intimidating. "The pressure was on because I’m not just going into any musical with just anybody, it’s like every single person in this film as such an astronomical voice," she says. "Ester Dean has one of the sexiest voices I’ve ever heard, Anna Kendrick just can’t hit a bad note if she tried, Rebel [Wilson] has an amazing voice. It’s just silly, these people are too talented."
This experience may have been one of the most challenging in her career thus far. Rose was given about three weeks to learn the guitar parts, original song, vocals, and lyrics, and then had to perform in front of 1,100 people. She says she's less intimidated by the life-threatening stunts she's done in action films than by singing in Pitch Perfect 3.
"It was more nerve-wracking to... sing, be vulnerable, play guitar... than to do death-defying stunts in xXx or fight sequences in John Wick," Rose explains. "I’m more comfortable in the physicality of martial arts and stunts no matter what they are, they don’t scare me. But to sing and dance and be sexy and play guitar, that was scary."
Still, the support on set allowed for Rose to forget about the pressure, get outside of her head, and just rock out. (Playing with Prince's guitarist and Beyonce's drummer in her fictional band in the movie doesn't hurt either.) "I didn’t really think about it... I just really had to think about it as a band," Rose says. Putting pressure on herself, given the success of the first two films, would've been way too much of a burden. "I love music and one of the greatest things about going to see people perform live is that things happen," Rose says. "We all had creative freedom when you’re playing in like a rock band, [even more] than we would in these a cappella things."
And stepping up to the plate while still embracing the experience had its payoffs. "After we had done a take or finished a scene, the feeling was such an adrenaline kick," Rose says. "It felt amazing to do something like that, so different." Seriously, is there anything Rose can't do (or doesn't do without giving 100 percent)? That remains to be seen.