Evan Rachel Wood went from Thirteen where she played a troubled teenager to her latest film, Pretty Persuasion, where she plays a troubled teen. It's no accident - not because Evan is some kind of delinquent, but because she's one of the best young actresses out there and she can handle the pressure.
In Pretty Persuasion, she plays a teen actress who accuses her teacher, played by Ron Livingston, of sexual harassment.
I had the chance to sit down with Evan to talk about the film. And she filled me in on what she's working on now, a movie musical based on the songs of The Beatles!!
How do you see this role (Pretty Persuasion) compared to your role in Thirteen?
Evan Rachel Wood: She’s way worse! At least my character in Thirteen only wanted to be accepted, but actually that’s what this character is in here, just trying to get the attention they need and so they’re just acting the only way they know how; they just want to loved.
Are you familiar with your character in that you know people like this?
Evan Rachel Wood: Actually, I based my character on one girl in particular and totally used her sexuality in a way so she could get in that queen bee position and acted like my best friend, but had no problem stabbing me in the back all with a smile on her face and that’s how I wanted to do Kimberly.
Can you talk about being the daughter of James Woods?
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh, I’ve always loved him and I was so excited to work with him and he’s an amazing actor and always does flawless work. And then working with him, you just never knew what was going to come out of his mouth so keeping a straight face was the hardest thing to do; we should all get Academy Awards just for keeping a straight face. Cause he would just know it; he would see how far he could go before you’re going to crack and you can actually see tears in my eyes from laughing so hard, but trying to keep it in. Especially in the kleenex shot; I had no idea he was just going to whip it out and I looked up at him and was like ‘Why, why did you just do that; we’ve got a long scene ahead of us, why?’
You were originally cast in the Britney role; what made Marcos [Siega] (director) change you to the lead as Kimberly?
Evan Rachel Wood: I don’t know, he switched me to Kimberly before Thirteen, before any of that so I got attached to Brittney and then I came in and met with him so maybe that was it.
Do you see any difference between the set of Thirteen where it was directed by a female and this directed by a male? Did you see any differences of how the female lead role was approached?
Evan Rachel Wood:Thirteen was so much female energy; it was always so chaotic. In this one, the whole crew was male and it was great. I couldn’t believe how cool everyone was and they were being real protective of me; nothing was ever weird or uncomfortable.
Was there anything that you did feel uncomfortable with and want to change?
Evan Rachel Wood: I did feel uncomfortable with things, but I knew it was all very important and I wanted to do it. Marcos had a rule that if there was anything you were uncomfortable with, the crew would have to do it first. So, for the strip tease scene, Marcos got five of the grips to come over and do that first and that did help cause I really did feel ok after that. Jane Krakowski, when she had to take her shirt off, he made the whole crew take off their shirts to shoot the scene and also made the whole crew fake an orgasm before she had to. It’s all on tape, yeah that was a fun night, but that’s just how it was.
Did James and Jane give you any advice while you were working with them?
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh yeah, I could listen to James talk for hours and it’s great that there are people out there who say ‘No, you’re doing the right thing; hold out for those good projects and you’ll always be ok.’ Yeah, he just wanted to encourage me and not let anyone talk me into doing something I don’t want to do.
What kind of character would you like to play next?
Evan Rachel Wood: I’m doing it; I’m playing my dream. It’s a musical and it’s just great. I get to go to work every day and act and sing and sing all the Beatles songs, sing all these songs I’m completely in love with and still get to play this really cool character who goes through all these changes. I can’t ask for anything more.
Who’s directing that?
Evan Rachel Wood: Julie Taymor. Yeah, wow! It’s very rare that I get along with female directors: Katherine Hardwicke and Julie Taymor and it’s just awesome.
What an imagination?
Evan Rachel Wood: You can just feel it; the whole cast is like kindergarteners when she explains things in a scene. We just sit down and cross our legs and just listen with our mouths open. Yeah, it’s just amazing! And to know that you’re in such good hands. Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s an ensemble piece, but there’s two main characters, a boy and a girl.
You’re singing the songs?
Evan Rachel Wood: Yes, it’s going to be my voice, it’s going to be me; yeah, we’re all doing it.
The Todd sisters were talking about this film a few weeks ago and said about you and when they heard you, they said ‘That’s who we want.’ How does that make you feel?
Evan Rachel Wood: I mean, that was amazing; I’ve never been more nervous in an audition. I went in once and had to sing and act and I never even sweat, and I got in there and I started singing and I felt my back and was like ‘Oh my gosh, am I that nervous?’ So really, I wanted it so bad and I knew I could do it, so yeah. I was actually on another set and my agents came over to me and told me they offered me the role and I freaked out; I almost started crying, I was just so happy. The crew on the set just clapped cause they knew how happy and excited I was. But it’s still not even real, when I go into rehearse every day, I think they might come up and say ‘This isn’t working out, you’re not going where we need you to go; we’re going to have to hire someone else.’ And I’m like ‘I knew it, it was too good, it was too good.’
As for the 'kleenex scene,' I'll let you see it for yourself - I don't want to ruin that for you. James Woods is classic in this film! Pretty Persuasion opens in theaters August 12th.