updated 10/04/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/05/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
The actor – who has appeared on Girls as Matt and in the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening as Georg – plays Jesse, a Breakfast Club buff and member of the rival Treblemakers with a crush on Kendrick’s Beca.
Here are five things to know about Astin, 25, and Pitch Perfect as the film hits theaters Friday.
1. He booked his first role – as Jesus – in a basketball uniform
The Rockland County, N.Y., native began acting at 14 in a community production of Godspell – a role he auditioned for after heading straight from a junior high game.
“My mom bribed me with some great dinner that was neighboring the theater. I always secretly really liked singing, and I’ve been playing piano since I was 5 so I went for it, in my basketball uniform,” Astin said at a recent press conference. “I booked the gig, due to the lack of males at that level. Jesus was going to be a girl for the first time ever, so I snagged that.”
2. His last name is really his middle name
Although Skylar is his first name, Astin is actually his middle name – and Lipstein is his last.
“When I was 15, my first agent just did it for me. I’m not ashamed, I’m not embarrassed, but she said it was just less specific to one thing and she chopped it off,” he tells Movieline.com. “Forever to my friends I will be Skylar Lipstein,” he adds.
3. If you bring him to karaoke, he may bust out some Céline Dion
Astin has a serious set of pipes, but don’t expect him to show off his singing on a night out.
“I cannot sing karaoke, because it’s hard and weird. So I rap. I’ll do Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ or something like that where I’m just screaming violently by the end of it,” Astin explains. “And then I have another drink and I do ‘My Heart Will Go On.’”
4. The movie’s set was like an all-star theater camp
With tons of talent between the film’s a capella groups, time together on set was well-spent – until it got strange.
“You had people you’d recognized from TV and film singing theater songs or pop songs on the radio,” says Astin. “We were constantly harmonizing with each other, which got to a weird place after a couple of weeks. God forbid someone pulls out a guitar – it’s just gonna get crazy.”
5. Filming the riff-off wasn’t as fun as it looked
The middle of the night face-off between the Barden Bellas, Treblemakers and other campus a capella groups was one of the best moments in the film – for everyone but the actors.
“It was a night shoot, so it’s at 3 a.m. [and we had to] to wake up. We were also shooting in an actual hollowed-out pool that was dingy and dirty but looked so good on camera,” Astin tells MovieViral.com. “There were no places to keep cast chairs or warmers, so we bonded a lot that night.”