Credit: Colin Young-Wolff

The Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest is back, and this year Pitch Perfect 2 director, Hunger Games star, and everyone's girl crush Elizabeth Banks is taking part in the fun as a judge.

What is the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest? You might remember it from the past few years. Basically, fans around the world can submit 30-second ads to the challenge; a group of panelists (including Elizabeth Banks) will narrow down 10 finalists, and then fans will vote to pick two that will air during the Super Bowl. The ad with the highest votes will net the winner a cool $1 million and a dream job working at Universal Pictures.

But don't take our word for it! Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Elizabeth about the contest, plus what it was like to make her directing debut with Pitch Perfect 2, and the Toronto Film Festival movie that everyone is going to be talking about.

Wetpaint Entertainment: What Inspired you to get involved with the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest?

Elizabeth Banks: I think everyone in Hollywood has to start somewhere, and what I think is great about the Crash the Superbowl contest is that they're going to give somebody their start in this business,which I think is a really amazing opportunity for any young amature filmaker out there. We all need our patrons in the beginning of our career, and Universal Pictures has been a great patron of mine and gave me my dream job directing Pitch Perfect 2, and they're going to, as part of the winnings here, give somebody their dream job at Universal Pictures, which I think is just incredible.


You're going to be a judge. What will you be looking for?

Two fan-made ads are going to air during the Super Bowl, these Doritos ads, and the person who made the ad with the highest numbers of votes on Doritos.com is going to take home the prize, the million bucks and the dream job. I think that's really amazing, that they're going to give the opportunity to be on air, not just to one person, but to two. I'm just really excited that we get to invite ideas from all around the world.

I, for one depending on who's in the Super Bowl, of course, I'm a Patriots fan! think that the ads are often the best part of the game. So I'm really excited to see what original voices come to this contest, and what people bring. I'm always thrilled to be surprised by the storytelling of people. And great acting, great directing, unique voices. I'm really excited to be a part of it, and to help somebody's dream come true by voting for their ad.

And it's the Super Bowl, so people can do anything.

Literally, yeah! You can do anything. And maybe the crazier the better, I don't know.

What's the job opportunity going to be like?

The great thing about this is that Universal and Doritos want to tailor the job to the winner's interests. We know that not everybody who submits is going want to be a director. They might want to be a screenwriter, they might want to be an actor, the might want to work on short films or digital or web series or feature films. So we're going to really try to tailor the experience to the winner's interest. The last couple of years the winner has worked on the sets of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Transformers, and worked directly with Michael Bay. Whoever It is, I'm looking forward to meeting them at the Super Bowl, shaking their hand, and welcoming them to their dream life.

You mentioned that you got your dream job directing Pitch Perfect 2. What did you find to be the most challenging part of directing?

Well, the biggest challenge is just managing all the people and personalities that you have to work with. It's a huge, collaborative task. I don't drive the trucks, and I don't design the sets, but I have a hand in knowing where everything has to be, and when it has to be there. So it's really just about collaborating with people. There is really no more grateful feeling than showing up on set and knowing everyone is working towards the goal of making a amazing fun movie to entertain audiences, and that they're doing it for me. That was just an incredible feeling every day.

You've obviously been in front of the camera for years, and seen directors work. Did anything about directing surprise you?

You know my expectations were pretty in line with what happened, which is it's exhausting, really hard work, but also really gratifying. I loved being surprised by the actors every day. I love actors. I loved working with them, working with The Barden Bellas, and all of our really fun  we have some really fun cameo surprises in store for people. At this point, I just really am hoping to build on the foundation we had with the first movie, and tell a little bit more of these really fun characters' stories. That's the point of the sequel to give audiences a longer look at some character that they live.

Did the fact that it's a sequel change the approach? Are you going bigger?

I set out to be pretty ambitious with the filmmaking, but at the same time I really wanted to honor that The Barden Bellas are a bunch of misfits who come together to make music with their mouths, and we're going to keep on doing that.

And you're about to head to the Toronto Film Festival. Can you share about about your movie there, Love & Mercy?

Yes! Love & Mercy is the story of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, and it's sort of a bio pic of the greatest American rock band of all time. I play the woman who saved Brian's life, who he is still to this day married to, all these years later. It's just a really beautiful story about a portrait of an artist who is really sort of tortured in a way, but who lived to make music.

It's nice that it's a love story with a happy ending.

That worked out! Brian really needed the love of a good woman, and he found it, and I get to be that woman.

You can enter the Crash the Super Bowl contest at Doritos.com from Septever 12 until November 9. Get more info here.

For more from Elizabeth Banks, follow her on Twitter @ElizabethBanks.


Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!