Mandy Moore stars as First Daughter Anna Foster in the new Warner Bros. romantic comedy Chasing Liberty, opening this Friday. While on a diplomatic trip to Europe with her parents, Foster exacts a promise from her father, the President of the United States (Mark Harmon), which allows her a night alone, unescorted by the battalion of Secret Service agents that safeguard Anna from danger. But when her dad has a change of heart, Anna decides to take things into her own hands. In a wild escape, incognito Anna meets mysterious stranger Ben Calder (Matthew Goode), who reluctantly aids her European getaway.
Moore says she got to travel a lot for the shooting of the film. “We went to London, Prague and Venice. I literally got to play tourist in the film because we shot at so many different locations in each city, whether it be Venice or Prague, places that Id never been before, so, in between shots I’d be there with my camera taking pictures of St. Marks Square and Old Town Square in Prague, it was just beautiful. It really was. One of the reasons I wanted to be part of the film, because of the locations and stuff where we’d be shooting.”
But did other tourists in the cities recognize her? “The cool thing is that no one knows who I am, to begin with, but especially when I travel outside of the states. You’re in different parts of the world and people have no clue who you are. They’re like, “What is going on there? Is it a music video or a movie?” And the funny thing was as we were shooting, the love parade scenes in Prague with the Czech extras and stuff, obviously those people have to know we’re making a movie right? But they would give just the dirtiest glances as I’m trying to navigate through the crowd and I’m pushing people aside. And of course I’m still being Mandy and saying excuse me, pardon me, I’m sorry. They would give me like the coldest glances over their shoulders and stuff, and some people wouldn’t even let you move. It’s like, “Excuse me,” trying to push people aside and people wouldn’t move. So I felt a little weird, like, pause, and go over and talk to the Czech ADs, ‘Can you go over and talk to them. You know, this is just my character running through? I’m not trying to be rude and pushing people aside.’ Things got lost in translation.
Mandy says that she didn’t go seek out any of the First Daughters for help in preparing for the role, but she could imagine what their lives are like. “I think First Daughters, and rightfully so, are very guarded. They’re lives, I can’t even sit here and begin to say I could imagine what a day in their life would be like. I don’t have people hiding in my bushes trying to take care of me or follow me, I don’t travel with bodyguards or security or what not. And I quite frankly don’t know if I ever wanna live that lifestyle. I had a tiny taste of it in the movie and I’m satisfied with that. I don’t even want it in my real life just doing what I do. I’m happy with the levels I’ve stayed at. I’m allowed very much a personal and private life, people give me my space and give me my time and allow me to go out to dinner with my friends or let me have my independence and drive by myself and not have to feel scared and worried that I’m by myself and on my own. I don’t want things to change.”
She adds that it was interesting falling in love on-screen and in real life. “I think it was weirder on the last film, falling in love, being so disgruntled in love when I really was actually in the process of falling in love, and I’ve been in love for a little bit now, so, it’s nice. This movie, in particular, I’ve never done a romantic comedy. It’s so the type of movie that I would go see if I wasn’t involved in anyway because I’m such a girl and I gravitate toward these films and I love the feeling you get watching these people fall in love on-screen and taking that journey with them.. So yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons why I would gravitate towards a project like this because I’m happy in my life, so why not live that for 2 ½ months in a beautiful locale.
Mandy Moore also stars in the upcoming comedy Saved, with Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin. “I play the best friend of a girl who gets pregnant by her gay boyfriend,” she reveals. “We play these kids in a Christian high school so she feels like she’s saving him by obviously doing the deed with him. It’s a really, really, really funny film but it has a lot of heart and a lot to say as well. My character is that seemingly perfect, All-American, Christian, blonde cheerleader, head of high school, happy-go-lucky girl when deep down inside there is a little evil streak to her and she kind of uses her faith to take advantage of those around her and kind of feels like it puts her on a pedestal when really she’s kind of lonely and really missing something, and kind of has her whole life. Macaulay Culkin plays my brother in a wheelchair who falls in love with the only Jewish girl in school. It’s really a crazy film. It’s so funny. It’s something that I’m proud of because, again, it has something really positive to say to people, not just people my age.”
With her musical background, has she had any interest in doing a musical? “Yes. Lots of temptation but I want to wait for the right thing because it’s special to me. I want to wait for the right project.”
She adds that she’s looking forward to another film in the works as well. “I’m starting a new project in March that’s a little independent film where I’m playing a supporting role. It’s a John Turturro film and I’m excited. He’s directing it. I’m excited about that because it’s a little different for me. Mandy can’t say much about her role yet though. “I don’t know if I can talk about it yet? It’ll all come out in the next couple of weeks or the beginning of the year. It’s a really cool cast and stuff, so I feel very honored. It’ll be different. Different role, pretty different type of movie.”