Mandy Moore Talks Talks Because I Said So

The actress talks about working with Diane Keaton and about her new ablum

Mandy Moore has been entertaining the world ever since her 1999 hit, Candy. But over the years, she's proved to be a pretty powerful actress as well.

In her latest flick, Mandy plays opposite Diane Keaton, Piper Perabo, and Lauren Graham as her over-bearing mother and sisters in the romantic comedy, Because I Said So. To top that off, she is also in the middle of a crazy love triangle with Gabriel Macht and Tom Everett Scott - one that her mom, Diane, kind of got her started in.

Wanting her daughter to meet a man, Diane went out on her own and put up an online ad for Mandy to find a guy; Mandy liked one of them - someone Diane definitely didn't approve of. Trying everything she could to push Mandy onto her choice, Diane ended up almost messing everything up.

Movieweb.com spoke with Mandy about playing the role and working with this tremendous cast. Here's what she had to say:

What is your criteria for roles and is your music career on hold?

Mandy Moore: I actually just finished my record which was sort of a two-year process in terms of writing and everything, and I think in that sense it's just about prioritizing. The last couple years, I've really been sort of focused on acting and I feel really lucky because great projects sort of keep coming my way. I guess the criteria that I look for, it gets increasingly difficult because when you have the privilege of working with someone like Diane, it's kind of like, 'Well, where do you go from there.' But it depends on the scripts and the character and just everybody involved, the other actors and directors. It's just a gut feeling when you find something, you're like, 'Yes, I want to sink my teeth into that.'

Did any of the meddlesome mom moments ring true? Did mom ever weigh in on the boyfriends?

Mandy Moore: No, I feel really lucky in a way - lucky or unlucky. I know my mom cares but just not enough to really meddle too much. I guess I have sort of an atypical relationship with my mom for someone my age, because I think I started so young with the music thing and I had my parents always on the road with me. So at a time when I think I should have been rebelling like in high school, they were actually my best friends. They were the people I was closest to because they were on the road with me and going through this crazy roller coaster experience with me. So my mom has never been a big meddler and isn't like extremely opinionated or at least just doesn't voice it to me. She's sort of let me come into my own by myself and I think that's just a testament to what my parents did in terms of raising us.

If you were your character, would you have gone crazy?

Mandy Moore: Yeah, yeah. It wasn't really hard to find the annoying, grating fester from Diane's character. It really did drive me batty. Meeting Diane, I was completely nervous; I remember walking in to Michael Lehmann's office during pre-production and sort of shaking her hand for the first time and being completely in awe and nervous, like how am I going to pretend like she's my mother? I love her so much; she's on a pedestal anyway so I sort of tried to use that a little bit. But just like any other co-star, you just sort of get to know each other and everybody sort of opens up.

What about your other co-stars in the underwear scene?

Mandy Moore: I think it was nice having Lauren and Piper there a lot because all girls, we just wanted to be gossipy and talk about shopping and clothes and boys and all that stuff. And the scene with us in our underwear was particularly difficult because we kept going back and forth between - Piper was fine; she was the one I think right off the bat that was like, 'Yeah, all right, I'll be in a thong, I don't care.' Lauren and I were petrified and kept going back and forth between like should we have body doubles, should we do it ourselves? I'm super self-conscious and what girl really feels comfortable about being on a gigantic movie screen with her butt there? Just everything is in full view, but in the end, we all decided just to dive right in and go for it. Why not? I'm embarrassed of it but yeah, it's over.

Any scenes where you couldn't keep yourself from laughing?

Mandy Moore: At first, I don't know about scenes where I couldn't contain myself from laughing. There are always those moments where sometimes there's something funny that's said right before the camera rolls and you just can't get it out of your head. You feel so unprofessional because you keep laughing and cracking up during a scene. I think the scene that I felt like kind of the most uncomfortable and awkward in front of everyone at first was describing the orgasm. That took a little getting used to, to just kind of jump into that; once you've got a couple takes under your belt, it's fine.

Did you add anything to the orgasm, or was it all scripted?

Mandy Moore: It was kind of all written out but it was sort of written in a way where obviously she's kind of finding her words and finding the right way to approach it with her mother, so I think I kind of infused a little bit of myself in there as well.

Did they add your singing to the script or were you hesitant about it?

Mandy Moore: I'm always a little bit hesitant because I think it's important, for me at least, to keep them as separate as possible. But Diane was all for it and I was like, 'Okay, if Diane wants to do it, I'll do it.' But I actually had a lot of fun. It was sort of a different experience because we all had to rehearse together and we went in the studio together to record it. I've never been so nervous to sing in front of people before; it was an interesting experience but it was so much fun to actually choose the numbers in the film. We had a great time, working out our harmonies and everything. Felt like we were in like a girl group.

What's the next kind of role you're looking for?

Mandy Moore: I definitely am looking to do some more dramatic roles; I'd love to do a period piece. I'm just getting started; I feel like there's a whole wealth of options out there to try my hand at.

How did you perfect your laugh?

Mandy Moore: That was the bane of my existence; it was scripted, and Michael kept referencing the Sandra Bullock movie where she kind of does the snort, 'You know, like what she does in Miss Congeniality.' I didn't really have a frame of reference. But that was kind of the bane of my existence because they're like, 'We want it sillier and goofier.' For some reason, I felt completely awkward and embarrassed to just come up with this sort of unnatural laugh. I was doing ADR, laughing for 10 minutes, trying to find the perfect laugh. Who knows how it's all pieced together in the end?

What kind of music is on the new album?

Mandy Moore: I'm just so excited about it; I co-wrote the whole record with everyone from - a lot of artists, singer/songwriters that I love - The Weepies, Lori McKenna, Rachel Yamagata, Chantal Kreviazuk - people I just have so much admiration and respect for. It's a really sort of organic record, I would say it's sort of folky pop; I've been so immersed in it. I went away to Woodstock, New York for two months this fall and just completely threw myself headfirst into it and had probably the most creatively fulfilling experience I've ever had doing anything. It's been a passion project of mine; I've been writing for two years and I think it's a completely different side of me musically than people maybe are expecting or have come to know from my past efforts.

Why Woodstock?

Mandy Moore: I love fall on the east coast and I wanted to be out of LA and not necessarily be in the city. A friend of mine had recorded at the studio and said it was the most inspiring place and it was. It was this 45 foot ceiling, this old monastery that they had converted into a studio with floor to ceiling windows that just overlooked the Catskills. So every day I was watching the leaves change a little bit more and singing this music that is so personal and so vulnerable - it was just the coolest experience.

What is your writing process?

Mandy Moore: It just sort of depends; I carry around a little journal with me, a little notebook and a pen and just write all the time. Not necessarily actually sitting down and writing lyrics, just free-form writing, whatever's going on in my mind. I write a lot on airplanes actually because it's completely isolating; there's no one to talk to, there's nothing to do. And then I think a lot of it sort of comes out sitting down with the people I'm co-writing with and talking to them about what I'm going through and what I want to say. It just sort of happens; every song came about in a completely different yet organic way.

Does this album define who you are now?

Mandy Moore: I think so, yeah, it's my words; I'm not quite sure how to navigate talking about it because it is so vulnerable. It's what I've gone through in the past two years of my life, ups and downs and love and heartbreak and all that stuff, and figuring out who I am amongst everything. So yeah, I think it's really telling of who I am and the path that I'm headed on hopefully.

We'll have to wait until the spring for Mandy's new album, but you can see her in Because I Said So in theaters February 2nd; it's rated PG-13.