Evan Rachel Wood considers her turn in the George Clooney starring and directing cinematic storm, The Ides of March, her most treasured role to date. Wood sat down with Movie Fanatic to dish her career and how The Ides of March is a pinnacle, “so far.”
Wood plays Molly in The Ides of March -- an idealistic intern who winds up in the midst of what could be the scandal that destroys a promising presidential campaign on the verge of wrapping up the Democratic nomination.
The actress dishes working opposite Ryan Gosling (check out our Ryan Gosling Ides of March interview) and how the scenes with the actor were among her favorite. She also talks about what it meant to her to be directed by an icon in Clooney. Wood even lets us in on what the latest is with her singing career. If you think Wood sings like a bird as an actress, figuratively, you should hear her vocal prowess.
Movie Fanatic: What was the appeal of playing Molly? Was it that she was so driven?
Evan Rachel Wood: Yeah, I loved that about her. I loved how confident she was and I thought it was cool to have this girl that was really young but she’s grown up in this world. She’s really used to it and she’s not intimidated by it. She’s just throwing all these guys off their game. It’s awesome and so much fun to do.
Movie Fanatic: The vulnerability part, was that tricky since she really knows how to play the game but has that one Achilles' heel that kind of got her into trouble?
Evan Rachel Wood: I think the thing about Molly and the one thing that the situation she gets herself in shows, is that she wasn’t doing any of that to gain anything. If she wanted to, she could. She could use that situation to her advantage. She doesn’t because I think she was really just a young girl who was having fun and living in the moment and just got herself in a terrible situation and she’s just terrified. I think she’s one of the few honest people in the movie. She’s very direct about what she was after and I think she was actually good-hearted. She just made some bad choices.
Movie Fanatic: You spent most of your time with Ryan. How did you find him personally and professionally?
Evan Rachel Wood: When you’re going to work with someone like that, you hear that they’re amazing and talented and beautiful, and you’re like, “Okay, whatever.” Then, you get around them and you’re like, “God damn it! You’re so good!” It makes you mad because he’s such a great actor but he’s also just a really cool guy and interesting and creative [laughs]. He’s a great partner.
Movie Fanatic: He had a few things to say about you too!
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh, did he now?
Movie Fanatic: That you have a great memory for starters.
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh yeah. He calls me a hard drive [laughs] because he’d always try to stump me on movie quotes and I’d always know exactly what movie it was and I could quote it. He’d be like, “God. How do you do that?”
Movie Fanatic: Was working with George Clooney like a dream -- both as actor and director?
Evan Rachel Wood: George was amazing because he’s an actor, so he knows how to work with you and talk with you. He sympathizes with what you have to do so he makes it really fun. I think George knows that if he has a happy cast and crew, that he’s gonna have really good work. He’s smart. He knows what he wants, so things get done quickly. But, they’re done really well. That’s an ideal situation.
Movie Fanatic: Did he shoot you with his Nerf gun?
Evan Rachel Wood: Yes!
Movie Fanatic: What were you doing when he shot you?
Evan Rachel Wood: Nothing! [Laughs] He just does it. I think I hijacked that Nerf gun a couple of times actually and I was shooting people. I think it got passed around.
Movie Fanatic: Any good practical jokes that George concocted? We’ve heard on more than one occasion he’s the best prankster there is…
Evan Rachel Wood: He didn’t pull any on me. But, I think the worst joke that he pulled on me was having the reputation of being a prankster so I was so paranoid every day on set. I was constantly like, “When’s it gonna happen?” But, with Ryan, he’d be giving him direction while very subtly just shooting a slight mist on his crotch with water so Ryan couldn’t feel it. They’d be having this deep discussion and George would be giving Ryan this big wet spot and he’d go do the scene and we’d be like, “Oh my God. He has no idea that’s there.” It was amazing [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: As a young person, are you involved in the political process and if not, has this movie made you want to be more involved?
Evan Rachel Wood: I don’t know. I try and stay informed as much as possible but as far as getting involved, I just get too upset and emotional about it. I’m the person when there’s a big political debate in a room, I’ve gotta leave because I just can’t go there. It’s so upsetting. People ask me if I would get behind a certain candidate and I don’t think I’d ever really be able to do that because it’s not about the candidates anymore. I don’t think it matters who you elect at this point. It’s like, “Okay, we’ve really got to start rethinking these things.”
Movie Fanatic: Do you have a favorite scene in The Ides of March?
Evan Rachel Wood: I think that one of my favorite scenes is the bar scene with Ryan. I think it’s so great that it’s so subtle and the tension is so good and it’s funny too -- it’s also sexy. I think it’s cool to see a really subtle seduction like that. It’s kind of nice.
Movie Fanatic: What do you think audiences will take away most from the film?
Evan Rachel Wood: That there’s no hero and no villain. It just leaves you with a lot of questions and makes you question yourself. And the fact that it’s not really about politics. It’s about people and these weird games and moral dilemmas and whether or not you’re going to compromise yourself for what you believe is the greater good and what the best way of going about that is. It’s a weird thing.
Movie Fanatic: You’ve done costume pictures, drama and an upcoming comedy, what is left? Do you want to be a superhero?
Evan Rachel Wood: I do! I would totally be a superhero. I really would actually. I never get offered superheroes or comedies because they have an idea of who I am as an actor I guess.
Movie Fanatic: So you can kick butt?
Evan Rachel Wood: Totally! I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I can kick butt. I wasn’t good at ballet so I was a fighter, I guess. I just needed that so I did it for years until I got my black belt.
Evan Rachel Wood: I’m singing. I’ve been singing a lot recently for fun and sharing it. It’s something I’ve done privately. I’ve put out three videos now and I sang at the after party for Ides of March. I’ve been collaborating with a few people just lending my voice to certain things and it’s been fun. I don’t know if it’s something I’d want to do full-time but I would do another musical. But it is really hard to top The Beatles (in Across the Universe).
Movie Fanatic: You transitioned from child star to adult actress seamlessly. Why did it work so well for you and not so well for others?
Evan Rachel Wood: I always did kind of adult material so I think it was easier for me to have an "in" to that world. I always felt like I was playing older than I was so I think that’s what helped. I feel like it’s because I never did young, cutesy roles.
Movie Fanatic: Do you think you sacrificed a childhood to be in entertainment?
Evan Rachel Wood: I did sacrifice my childhood in certain aspects. I’ve been acting and working since I was five. I think that’s why, for a few years, I went. “Okay, I’m going to go be as crazy as possible right now because I didn’t have an adolescence. I didn’t have a childhood. If I’m going to get really serious about this career then I wanna have my fun.” So I did some sight-seeing and it was crazy. I got to know myself really well and now I’m really ready to commit and to work hard.