On Taking On Her Most Comic Role Yet|
by Austin Trunick, published on February 21, 2014
Evan Rachel Woods latest film, Barefoot, opens in theaters today. This very charming romantic comedy has an unusual premise: Woods character, Daisy, is an escaped mental patient. She stars opposite Scott Speedman, who plays the facilitys janitor, who tries to pass her off as his nurse girlfriend to get back into his wealthy, Southern familys good graces. For Evan Rachel Wood, who's known for tackling heavier, dramatic roles in films such as The Wrestler, The Ides of March, or Thirteen, this is a much different character than were used to seeing her play, and its a delight to watch her having so much fun.
Wood took some time to speak with us about taking on her most broadly comic role yet, her upcoming film Into the Forest with Ellen Page, and which recent Under the Radar cover artists shes loving right now.
Austin Trunick [Under the Radar]: Just to clarify for readers who havent seen Barefoot yet, you play the female lead in this romantic comedy who also happens to be an escaped mental patient
Evan Rachel Wood: Yes. Does that sound funny? [laughs]
Meanwhile, the male lead, Scott Speedmans character, is a huge jerk whos going to be killed by some mobsters if he doesnt pay back his gambling debts.
ERW: Thats so funny.
Those two are a strange mix, wouldnt you say?
ERW: Yeah, absolutely!
Even with those dark elements mixed in, the movie's very funny. What appealed most to you about the film? Was it your character, or maybe the unusual premise?
ERW: I did like the unusual premise, and I liked that it was a dark comedy. But also, I was looking for a really accessible, fun romantic comedy I could do. Id been doing really heavy-hitting dramas for a while. As an actor, you dont really want to keep doing the same things, you kind of want to show all your colors. And I think my psyche kind of needed a break from all the dark drama! So I just wanted to do something that was really fun, so that appealed to me about it; and, that it was an unconventional love story. Im still me, and I still like unconventional things.
What was it like working with Scott?
ERW: Oh, Scott was great. I think he really steals the show in this film. And we had a lot of fun! We were shooting in New Orleans, and always on the road, and laughing. It was really good fun.
How did you like shooting in New Orleans? Did you have much opportunity to slip away and take in the city?
ERW: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I went and walked around every night. Its always hard when youre an actor and you have to work away from home. When youre alone, it helps to be in such an inspiring city with lots of stuff to do. I definitely got to hang out there a lot.
I just saw you in [Romania-set crime thriller] Charlie Countryman recently. These two films had very different tones.
ERW: [laughs] Yeah.
Is it especially difficult to go from doing something so dark, to something so light-hearted, or vice versa?
ERW: Well, the funny thing is when I was filming Barefoot, that was before Charlie Countryman. Every day at lunch Id go into my trailer and practice my Romanian. Then Id have to go out and be Daisy! [laughs] The films were shot back-to-back, so I finished Barefoot and the next day I got on a plane and went to Romania and started Charlie Countryman. But, I think thats just an actors life; you just make it work.
When I was filming Barefoot, I was really shy on set, because I didnt want to be taken out of the character at all. Shes just such a pure and innocent character to go from that to hanging out and smoking cigarettes with the crew just didnt feel right. So, I stayed in that headspace for a while, and then when we were done I was ready to leave it behind and move on.
Speaking of darker premises, I believe Into the Forest is supposed to begin shooting soon. [The film is based on Jean Heglands novel about sisters living in a remote cabin while the world is on the brink of apocalypse.] Can you tell us anything your preparation for that one?
ERW: Well, my characters a dancer in the film, so Ive been training and dancing for a few months now. Its based on the book, so Ive been studying that for a while. Ellen Page and I have been collaborating and hanging out a lot. Im excited about it. I think its going to be a pretty surprising, special film.
Are you playing teenagers in the film?
ERW: You know, it doesnt really say how old they are, which we kind of liked. You never really know their ages.
The last time spoke to Under the Radar, when The Wrestler came out, you were discussing music. You talked about being a Bright Eyes fan
and were into Radioheads In Rainbows at the time.
ERW: Oh, yeah!
What bands or albums are you really digging right now?
ERW: Im very excited for HAIM. I actually knew those girls in middle school, and they were always so cool, and nice, and sweet, and had this band even when we were kids! Now theyve taken off and theyre doing so incredibly well, and I could not be happier for them, and because I really love their music.