By Grace Gavilanes
Updated Mar 29, 2015 @ 4:18 pm
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Credit: Splash News

We're calling it: May is going to be the month to remember.

Inviting warm weather and budding bright flowers aside, Pitch Perfect 2, the highly anticipated follow-up to its 2012 predecessor, hits theaters on the 15th. The film, which boasts an impressive cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Brittany Snow, among others, is an exciting project for Elizabeth Banks, especially, who returns to star, produce, and direct the sequel.

"[Directing] was something I had focused on and intended," Banks (in a Monique Lhuillier dress and Stuart Weitzman heels) told InStyle at an event celebrating the launch of American Greeting's new program on the importance of gratitude. "It was a goal of mine. Not specifically Pitch Perfect 2, but I was aiming to direct a studio film at some point. It made sense from a creative standpoint and literal, physical standpoint for me and my life to direct the movie."

But don't be fooled; Banks is far from an amateur, having already directed a slew of short films in her career. "I felt good about it," she shares. "I had a lot of confidence going into it. It was a really great experience. When you're working on a movie, honestly, you just go day by day. That's all you can do. You have a list of things you have to accomplish and you either do it or you don't."

On top of promoting the female-fronted comedy, filming Magic Mike XXL, and gearing up for the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 this fall, the triple threat also acts as host and creator of her own YouTube channel, "Ask a Badass." So far, Banks has interviewed Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Morgan Freeman, Chris Pratt, and Lenny Kravitz. But her dream guest? With a wish list consisting of Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton, the star offered up an unexpected pick. "Sandra Day O'Connor. She is the greatest badass I know. She'd be a dream."

The event, hosted by American Greetings and The Huffington Post, highlighted the ThankList, an inspiring initiative that aims to create a more thoughtful and caring world. In an effort to do so, the card company released a series of documentary shorts that followed five real people who each shared a personal story of gratitude. To learn more, and to watch all five videos, visit thanklist.com.