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By Brad Balfour
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: August 21,
With two remarkable cinematic
performances under her belt, teen actress Evan
Rachel Wood has successfully avoided doing the clichéd
Hollywood chick flick routine. In Thirteen the Southern born
Wood gave us a thoroughly authentic look at the
travails of a modern suburban teen but through
Pretty Persuasion she gets really tested
having to create Kimberly Joyce, a no holds barred adolescent monster
with a sweet side.
So this part was originally going to go to Jenna Malone and you
were going to play the beautiful best friend who steals her
boyfriend. Did you get to work with
I only met with her once and I think Jenna's great; I really,
really respect her and think she would've been great but it all
happened so fast, getting [this other part] and having to completely
switch my mindset about the movie. I went, "Oh my God, I have to go
back and read it. What am I doing now? Oh God, that's what I'm doing?
Did I agree to this?" So it was a little scary at first, but I was
excited because it was kind of the most challenging role I feel that
I've taken on. So I was scared but excited.
Even more than with doing Thirteen?
Yeah, because with Thirteen, I felt like I could relate more to
the character. And with this one, there's comedy involved and I had
never done that and you try to, since there's been so many similar
characters like this, to make her different, not just a kind of easy,
one dimensional, mean girl.
There must be a better choice of words.
Yeah [laughs]. So I wanted to give her different colors and try
to figure out where she was coming from and not to make her so mean
and have moments where you do feel bad for her.
You once said "People think I play these damaged girls." Even on
an episode of CSI you played the damaged girl
– you were 12 or
Oh CSI, I was 15 when I did that.
What is it you do that makes people want to see you in these dark roles?
Well, I specialized in drama, so anything I do will be dark and
dramatic. But all of the characters I've played seem pretty different
than me and coming from different places and just as long as I'm not
doing the same thing over and over again [that's cool]. I do feel
like I worked some sweet roles in there too. I was
a pretty sweet character in
Once and Again. I'm doing a musical now.
It's the Julie Taymor musical?
It is light! It's Beatles songs.
How difficult was it in preparing for this role, in taking on this
It was hard because this character has so much dialogue. The
first ten minutes of the movie is just me
ranting and talking and just having to memorize
all the lines and, like I said, not to have her be
the stereotypical bad teenage high school girl. I was just trying to
figure out a way to make her be so empty inside and yet just have so
much going on in her brain. Everything is just up here and there's
nothing going on in here and just pure venom coming out of her eyes
and yet she still looks very sweet and she's got a smile on her face.
Having to mix all those things together was fun to play around with.
In terms of the way the character was developed Pretty Persuasion
offered quite a contrast to Thirteen –
your character there was all
Oh yeah. Her emotions were all over the place and she was not
about to hide any of them. So yeah, that was just like go all out,
just put her all out there. But this girl was very internal and you
just had to see everything going on in her face and in her eyes.
approach this role, you had to think she wants to be this
celebrity no matter what?
There's so many reasons why she does what she does. It's
established in the movie that she's way too smart for her own good
and she's broken all the school test records so
you know she's already a really smart and clever
girl. And just seeing how she was raised and
what kind of a house she came from, she just felt really alone and
really unloved and already like she didn't have anybody. Then her
brother dies. You kind of get the impression that they were close.
And then she feels like her best friend betrayed
her. So yeah, she's just pissed off and feels
alone and she feels like there's nothing left to
lose. So why not just do whatever she can to become famous and get
what she wants for herself.
Actors always often say that you have to get things across in the
eyes, or more in the movements of the face. What do you do to make
your eyes convey emotion?
It just happens. When you just think about the way you're saying
it. The eyes are kind of unexplainable. It's weird how you can
stare into somebody's eyes and know what they're
feeling and know what they're thinking. I don't
know how to explain it, but I know that it just
happens if you put yourself in the right mindset. Even if your
face isn't changing, you just kind of sense it and feel it for some
Was there anyone in your past that you could draw on for your own
character? For both movies, did you draw on the people you've known
People like Kimberly? Oh yeah, definitely. And I knew way too
many girls like the character in Thirteen. And there's this
one girl in particular that I based Kimberly on
that I went to junior high with. Man, oh man.
She was just terrible. "I'm going to pretend to be
your best friend and I have a smile on my face and I'm going to go
behind you and completely stab you in the back and I'm going to do
everything I can and use my sexuality to be in a place of power and
to be the queen bee and stir things up, just to
stir things up." And it's was just so
frustrating and so hurtful.
could choose a dream role, what would it be?
Definitely, the one I'm doing now. I want to do
a cool movie musical. I was in tears when I
showed up for the first day of work and it was
just rehearsal. We were just going into the dance studio and
were in the middle of Times Square and it was just exactly what I
wanted to be doing.
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT EVAN RACHEL WOOD HAD
TO SAY TO US IN 2009!
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