Evan Rachel Wood discusses playing Anna Surratt in The Conspirator, working with Robert Redford, True Blood, and more
Actress Evan Rachel Wood started acting at the young age of 7, and she hasn't let up since. The actress cut her teeth in TV movies and feature films such as Practical Magic, Digging to China, and Simone, along with her breakthrough performance in Thirteen. Those roles lead to bigger parts in acclaimed dramas such as Across the Universe, The Wrestler, and Whatever Works. Her latest movie is the historical drama The Conspirator, where she portrayed Anna Surratt. I had the chance to speak with Evan Rachel Wood about her role in The Conspirator, which hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on August 16. Here's what she had to say below.
Can you talk about your initial involvement with The Conspirator? Was there any sort of intimidation factor knowing that Robert Redford is directing it?
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh, definitely. It was definitely intimidating. I just got a call asking me to read for it. I read the script and thought it was a great part, so I went for it.
I read that the actual Surrat boarding house is still standing in Washington. Did you actually visit that house? Can you talk about some of the other things you did to prepare for being Anna?
Evan Rachel Wood: I didn't go to the house. We were shooting in Savannah, Georgia, so I didn't get a chance to see it. As for the preparation, my dad is really big into conspiracy theories. He actually has a replica of the gun that John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln with. So I've always been around these kinds of stories.
Your father has a replica of the gun? That's amazing. Did he really get into the story as well, when you told him about this project?
Evan Rachel Wood: Yeah, he did. He was actually with me at the premiere, which they had at the Ford Theater, which was kind of surreal. When you get to that scene in the movie, you could literally look up and see the balcony. It was amazing.
The wardrobe that women had to wear back in those days were not as simple as it is today. Was that kind of an ordeal, just to get dressed every day?
Evan Rachel Wood: (Laughs) It was an ordeal. You have these corsets which have to be tied so tight, and it wasn't easy.
When I watch movies like that, it almost makes me glad that I'm a guy.
Evan Rachel Wood: (Laughs) Yeah, well the guys didn't have it easy either. They had these really thick clothes and it can get really hot in their outfits.
Can you talk a bit about getting to work with the legendary Robert Redford? What did you really take away from his style of direction?
Evan Rachel Wood: He was incredible. He's such an actor's director, because he's been there, he's been in our shoes for so long and he knows exactly what to say to actors. He creates such a great environment on the set and it was an honor to work with him.
There is such a great cast around you as well. I was curious who was all on board when you signed onto the project? Did you get any sort of memorable advice from any of these veteran actors like Kevin Kline or Tom Wilkinson?
Evan Rachel Wood: Pretty much everyone was on board before I signed on. There wasn't any advice passed along. It doesn't really work like that. I just kind of sit back and try to soak in as much as I can.
Robin Wright plays your mother, Mary Surratt, in the movie. What did you take away from working with her?
Evan Rachel Wood: She is one of my favorite actresses of all time. She's such a wonderful actress and a true professional. We had a great time on the set.
Is there anything that you're looking to join in the near future that you can talk about?
Evan Rachel Wood: Nothing I can talk about quite yet, but I'm looking to do more comedy. I think there is one coming soon, but I can't talk about it yet.
Are you always looking for that perfect comedy to try and attach yourself to?
Evan Rachel Wood: Yes, and I think it may be coming up, hopefully.
Will you be returning to True Blood at all next year?
Evan Rachel Wood: They haven't told me yet, so I don't know. I would love to, but we'll have to wait and see. You never know.
It is still fairly early in your career, but you have accomplished quite a bit. Do you have any ambitions to go behind the camera at some point?
Evan Rachel Wood: I would love to, but I don't think I'm quite ready yet. When the time is right, I would love to direct something. For now, though, I'm just trying to learn as much as I can.
It must help to be working with such amazing directors lately.
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh yes. I'm just shadowing them as much as possible so I can learn as much as I can.
The Conspirator didn't do quite as good as people thought it would in theaters, but it seems like it would do well on the DVD format. Do you think it will find a wider audience on home video?
Evan Rachel Wood: I really do. I think DVD and Blu-ray is how most people watch their movies these days, so I hope it people find it and enjoy it on DVD.
That's my time, Evan. Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with anything else you have coming up.
Evan Rachel Wood: Thank you, Brian.