In the words of MTV‘s “True Life,” you think you know Amanda Seyfried as an actress, but you have no idea. This reference is particularly fitting considering the channel’s target audience is likely the one to rush to see anything with Seyfried’s name attached. But brace yourselves; you’ve likely seen her as the blond bombshell with ‘ESPN,’ Karen, in Mean Girls, Meryl Streep’s bubbly daughter Sophie in Mamma Mia! or, more recently, as the innocent nerd trying to deal with her demonic best friend in Jennifer’s Body, but you’ve never seen her like this.
In Chloe, Seyfried plays the titular character, a young prostitute who delves into an unconventional side of the business when she strikes a deal with an older woman named Catherine (Julianne Moore). Catherine suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her and hires Chloe to taunt him so she can see if he’ll nibble at the bait. But what Catherine doesn’t know is that there’s far more to Chloe than operating a business of questionable integrity. In fact, Chloe’s personal integrity is more suspect than her line of work.
ComingSoon.net had the opportunity to sit down with Seyfried and hash out the details of the role and get her feelings about having to share a particularly sensual moment with Moore. As her filmography grows, skyrocketing her to a life of fame and fortune, Seyfried is just trying to do what she can, keep her films fresh, put priorities in their place and has her new puppy Finn by her side to see her through it all.
ComingSoon.net: Congratulations on the ShoWest nod (Breakthrough Actress of the Year).
Amanda Seyfried: Thanks. It’s encouraging. Definitely makes me feel like somebody out there is paying attention.
CS: This film is drastically different from other things we’ve seen you do. Were you consciously looking for something new?
Seyfried: No, it was just two years ago. I think I had filmed – god, what did I film? I think I was just about to start “Jennifer’s Body” and it was great. It was a great idea. I’d never gotten a script that was so drastically different character-wise for somebody my age and I thought, “Well, hey, this could be cool if I could pull it off.” But it’s hard to do that when you’ve never really done that before. But you have to try new things obviously to challenge yourself because if you’re not up to the challenge, then you know that you’re not going to get very far. You might as well just keep playing yourself. But I don’t know how far that gets you. I don’t think it’s very easy to continue to be motivated if you’re doing the same sh*t all of the time. I waited a year to shoot it and now it’s been done almost a year. Still kind of weird talking about it actually.
CS: I imagine many actresses would have gotten the script and then shied away after seeing some of the things the role entails.
Seyfried: Some people did actually. They purposely didn’t go into the audition because they were like, “I don’t think so.”
CS: Did you have any reservations about signing on?
Seyfried: I did. Nudity was an issue just because of the standards here and the perception that nudity – the halo that is put on you when you’ve done something. All the outlets now, you can find stills everywhere, screen captures, and it’s just – it becomes about something different. But luckily the people that are going to see this movie are, I know for sure, the [Atom] Egoyan fans and there’s many of them.
CS: What about some of your fans who are used to seeing you in more wholesome roles? How do you think they’ll take it?
Seyfried: I don’t know. I just hope that they take from it – to see it for what it is. I’m worried that some people won’t understand it. It’s got a different pacing to it. It’s still not a mainstream feel and I think that’s what I love. I love that aspect, but I don’t know if some people – I’m not prejudging anybody, I just hope people take away from it what they’re supposed to take from it and they’re not taking things for granted and just going on this journey with this girl and this woman and watching this unique relationship evolve into something really powerful and chaotic. I think it’s entertaining to a point as well, but there’s also some themes to it that hopefully can be seen.
CS: Chemistry with the other actors seems vital in a film like this. Did you rehearse much or have time to get to know Julianne and Liam before filming?
Seyfried: Yeah, a little bit. I think chemistry, it’s very simple from where I sit. I think it comes from a shared sense of humor and an ease with how you work and I think that all three of us have that, and Adam as well, that it made it so much easier to just go and do what we needed to do and communicate off screen and on screen and it was just so easy. Obviously Julianne is so so amazing and so focused that it was so easy to work with her and Liam, as well. He’s so generous. He’s such a good guy.
CS: Yes, you’re working with a fantastic actress, but there’s one scene you share with Julianne that’s extremely intense, sexually. I would be scared out of my mind to go into something like that.
Seyfried: I was scared out of my mind.
CS: How do you prepare yourself for something like that?
Seyfried: I’m so separate from that now, I don’t know why. It was so scary, but nothing – it’s always going to be the same answer; intimate scenes, whether you’re naked or not, are really uncomfortable. The first time you’re with somebody new, the first time you make out with somebody or you’re intimate with somebody, physically intimate with somebody, it’s nerve wrecking and then the only time it isn’t is when you’ve been with someone for a while and then it becomes second nature. Especially when you have cameramen and a director and you’re with someone that you wouldn’t normally want to be with. You can’t wait for it to be over. But it’s really important and I think it was done really well. So beautifully done. I don’t think as humans we could ever become comfortable with that right off the bat.
CS: It’s more than just a sex scene because you’re aware of the erotic nature of the moment, but that’s not the focus of it.
Seyfried: Yeah, you’re right. You’re like, “What are they doing? What is she thinking? Where is she going? Why is she doing that? Oh my god, they’re doing that. It’s beautiful!” And you don’t see it coming either. It’s like all of a sudden. I thought there was a scene missing when I saw it. I was just like “What?” She leaves and then she comes to the hotel and then all of a sudden – it’s interesting. It’s something that you think about but you never do, you know? People’s imaginations allow them to go into the erotic kind of places in their minds and they can get very sexual in their imagination, but it’s never something that you would play out and Catherine goes and plays it out and that’s what’s so – like you don’t believe it for a second and that’s what’s so fascinating about the script is that she goes and does it. Amazing.
CS: There are many layers to Chloe, all of which need to meld into one personality but still stand out on their own. Was this difficult to achieve?
Seyfried: She changed from moment to moment. She’s able to be strong and in control when she’s working and she has to be in control of the situation with Catherine, but she’s trying hard to do that because she feels so vulnerable and open. But in order to keep Catherine involved and intrigued she has to, I don’t know, she has to act out, she has to tell stories. There are moments where she’s unsure if it’s working and she thinks that maybe Catherine’s being pushed away and then she realizes she’s actually pulling her in. It’s just so much confusion and so much subtext. It’s amazing. It’s so much fun to play that. It is really fun. I think that’s my strong point actually. I’d rather not saying anything. I’d rather literally act with my eyes instead of my, you know, my words.
CS: That makes me think of Needy towards the end of “Jennifer’s Body.”
CS: Would you want to do something like that again?
Seyfried: Hell yeah, of course. Oh my god. It’s so fun to play someone that’s a bit shaken up or like Needy. But also Chloe’s [whispers] deranged a little bit. I mean, she’s delusional and she’s so damaged. She’s just not normal and it’s so fun to explore that. Luckily my mom’s a therapist, an occupational therapist. She works with people who are actually mentality ill and I’d love to play that. Who wouldn’t? It’s like freedom.
CS: You were attached to something along those lines right?
Seyfried: “Sucker Punch.”
CS: Oh yeah!
Seyfried: Yeah. It’s still really a soft spot for I think Zack Snyder and myself.
CS: But you have so much coming your way. Why even worry about that?
Seyfried: I know, I just hope – I have to say that that script was really unique. Never going to be one like it. Never. And I fought so hard. There’s never going to be one like “Sucker Punch,” seriously. There were three levels of the madness. “The Fountain” was kind of like that because you didn’t know which was really, but that was even different. “Sucker Punch” is amazing and I don’t know how it’s going to come out, I’m sure it’ll be great, but the script, Zack wrote the script and he was so passionate about it and that’s so attractive. And then they ripped it away from me.
CS: So, what do you have coming up?
Seyfried: “Letters to Juliet” is coming out but I’m going to do a film with Rodrigo Garcia, which I did. I worked with Rodrigo, he did the pilot for “Big Love” and he cast me in his movie “Nine Lives” about five, six years ago and that went to Sundance and he’s been doing a bunch of other movies. He just did “Mother and Child.” He’s just amazing and he’s doing this movie called “Albert Nobbs” and Glenn Close co-wrote it and she plays Albert Nobbs.
CS: What ever happened to the Oscar Wilde adaptation “A Woman of No Importance”? Will that shoot anytime soon?
Seyfried: No. I don’t see that happening soon. My schedule’s getting kind of clogged. Not clogged in a bad way, like I’m putting things in their right spaces and trying to work it out. I have two projects, so if I can fit “Woman of No Importance” in I would, but they’ve been trying to make it for so many years so I don’t see why they can’t push a little longer.
CS: To conclude, I recently read an article that quoted you as saying you “need to be needed by your dog.” I just thought that was sweet and is something I, as well as a number of other people, can relate to. Is your dog your solace after a hard day at work?
Seyfried: Yeah! My life changed just dramatically when I got him. I’m a huge dog person and I love animals. I had a cat, my mom looks after him because I was traveling so much. And this dog kind of like was there one day and I told someone – somebody at work at “Big Love” had dogs and had puppies. These two Australian Shepherds had puppies and I saw it one day at the office and I was like, “What is that?” And he’s like, “It’s one of the dogs that Scott had.” And I was like, “Scott? Well, what are they? I’ve never seen anything like it!” They had human eyes. Babies just laying there, the most docile unbelievable animal and I was like “Do you have anymore? I can watch them for you. I’m here for three weeks and leaving town again. I could never have a dog, but I can watch them.” He’s like, “Actually I have one more, a boy, and I haven’t found anybody to take him yet.” I was like, “I’ll take him!” And 24 hours later I was like, “I’m totally, gotta – he’s mine!” He’s like, “I get it.” I’ve never experienced anything like it. Not even with my cat.
Chloe opens in theaters on Friday, March 26.