If you’re interested in seeing “Pitch Perfect 3,” the final movie of the hit trilogy about the crazy world of college a cappella singing groups, you might have read that DJ Khaled has a cameo as himself.
This is not quite accurate. DJ Khaled does not just have a cameo. He has a rather critical role that involves the characters saying his name so many times throughout the 90-minute film that one reviewer wondered whether it was a contractual obligation.
DJ Khaled is, of course, a very successful record producer and hugely popular social media personality known as “the King of Snapchat.” So it is somewhat logical that he would make a random appearance in a movie about music. But his importance in the film, which opens in theaters Friday, becomes so inflated that you start to wonder whether it was an elaborate inside joke by the screenwriters.
Khaled comes into play near the beginning of the movie, when the a cappella group, the Bellas, reunites to perform on a USO tour. Though most of the singers (Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld) are no longer in college, they’re floundering in real life and are excited to have an excuse to sing again. When they arrive for the first stop in Spain, they’re told they’ll be performing with a few other groups on the tour — and they’ll all be competing to open for Khaled for the last show, which will be televised. Translation: Khaled wants to make someone a star.
Thus kicks off the movie’s main quest: Win over DJ Khaled. Lines include, “We just have to show DJ Khaled we’re better!” and “Next time you’re trying to impress DJ Khaled, try to have some dignity.” Of course, this mission takes some wrong turns, such as when the Bellas crash a Khaled party and literally set it on fire. Then they accidentally set free a cage of bees, which travel with Khaled’s personal juiceologist, Sunburst, who relies on them for fresh honey.
Yes, this is the level of detail we get into with Khaled’s character. Producers were unavailable to tell us how this surprisingly substantial role originated. (Khaled’s record label, We the Best, was once owned by a label within Universal Records, which produces the “Pitch Perfect 3” soundtrack; he’s now signed to Sony’s Epic Records.) Snow, who plays group co-leader Chloe, shed some light in an interview with Bustle.
“It’s funny because he was supposed to be a little part of the movie and his presence is obviously very big,” she said. “He showed up like three days late — we didn’t know if he was even gonna make it.”
Part of the reason for Khaled’s increasingly prominent role may be his penchant for making up whatever lines came to his head. Multiple cast members said that he ad-libbed through the whole film.
“He sort of said, ‘Oh, I don’t do scripts and I like to improv,'” Kendrick, who plays lead character Beca, told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show.” Beca and Khaled share a scene where they talk about her potential as a solo act, and at one point, Khaled’s improv didn’t exactly reflect the rest of the script.
“There’s a line where I’m talking about the other girls, and he was like, ‘They don’t want you to win! They want you broke! They want you dead!’ And I was like, that’s not what the movie’s about!” Kendrick said, as Fallon cracked up.
Khaled, meanwhile, was psyched about the casting, tweeting in March about his “major role” in the movie. In an interview, he called his character “basically me, but at the same time, a little more entertaining.”
Comparing the third movie to the first two, he said, “It’s definitely gonna be bigger and better cause DJ Khaled’s in it.” However, he acknowledged that you “can’t take away from one and two because those were incredible to get to three.”
“I know everybody’s gonna like it,” he concluded.