Evan Rachel Wood | Interview
Evan Rachel Wood plays Larry David's sweetheart. Marilyn Manson's ex knows about unexpected pairings.
For her first role, at age four, Evan Rachel Wood played a baby rabbit. This year, the 21-year-old actor played Mickey Rourke’s baby girl in The Wrestler. When Wood’s parents split, the then nine-year-old left Raleigh, North Carolina, along with the theater her father still helms there, and followed her actor-mom to L.A. In 2003, she gave a lauded breakout turn opposite Holly Hunter in the indie film Thirteen. Now she joins the ranks of Woody Allen ingenues in his latest, Whatever Works.
Time Out Chicago: Your assistant mentioned you had a sudden doctor’s appointment.
Evan Rachel Wood: I’ve had food poisoning for two days. The doctor said, “Wait it out, drink some water. That’ll be $500.”
TOC: Where’d you get food poisoning?
Evan Rachel Wood: I was on a road trip to Vegas, and on the way back I stopped at terrible fast-food places. I think the culprit was a little roadside taco place. This is far beyond any hangover. [Laughs]
TOC: So…the film.
Evan Rachel Wood: Yeah, no, let’s stop talking about food poisoning! [Laughs]
TOC: The Guardian called you “wise beyond her years”; Larry David said you seem older than 21. But here you play naive to the point of imbecilic.
Evan Rachel Wood: I feel pompous saying it was hard to play that dumb, but it was! It was difficult trying to make such an imbecile very endearing and likable, not just annoying and stupid.
TOC: What led to that seems-older-than-she-is quality?
Evan Rachel Wood: Growing up in the theater and always being around adults more than kids. I was homeschooled most of my life, and I had a steady job by the time I was 12.
TOC: Like other Allen films, Whatever Works features the misanthropic man with the unsophisticated woman. How would you compare Allen to his counterpart here, Boris?
Evan Rachel Wood: [Laughs] Oh, he’s much happier, much sweeter and much less stingy.
TOC: Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood—a pretty unlikely onscreen couple. What was your take on him?
Evan Rachel Wood: Oh, I loved him. I had never done a comedy, and he had never done a film. He would come to me after the fifth take and say, “Oh, my God, we’ve done five takes. Is this a bad day?” I’m going, “Dude, no. That is a very good day. Are you serious? How many do you do on Curb Your Enthusiasm?” He was like, “We do two, three at the most.” I’d come to him going, “Oh, my God, am I funny? Am I funny?”
TOC: Have you thought about all the Allen actresses with Oscar noms?
Evan Rachel Wood: Um, I have thought about it because people are reminding me.
TOC: People like me are reminding you?
Evan Rachel Wood: [Laughs] Yeah. It’s a pretty cool club to be in. My mother reminded me of all the amazing women that have been in Woody Allen movies. And, you know, an Oscar wouldn’t suck. [Laughs]
TOC: The age difference between your and David’s characters—did you have any insight into that given the age difference between you and your ex Marilyn Manson?
Evan Rachel Wood: It definitely helped me relate to it and to her just not really caring about what anybody else thought and just loving that person for who they are. That’s the whole title, Whatever Works, whatever makes you happy, not what people think should make you happy. So yeah, that’s one of the reasons I liked it.
TOC: I hear you got a Beatles tattoo after Across the Universe—are you gonna get a Woody one now?
Evan Rachel Wood: I have no idea what that could possibly be. [Laughs] That tattoo started off as a strawberry, but it wasn’t very good. Now it’s a diamond. So it’s kind of half the Beatles, half Pink Floyd—for Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” All my tattoos are either music related or a poem.
TOC: What’s your poem tat?
Evan Rachel Wood: It’s Edgar Allan Poe. It says, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” My mother used to read him to me when I was little.
TOC: What’s the latest with the Spider-Man musical?
Evan Rachel Wood: I can’t say too much about it, but Julie [Taymor] describes it as a circus rock & roll show more than a Broadway musical. We don’t have a Spider-Man yet, but I’ve heard the music, and it’s pretty incredible.
TOC: Who’s your first choice as Spidey?
Evan Rachel Wood: I would love Jim Sturgess to be Spider-Man and so would Julie, but I think scheduling isn’t gonna work out.
TOC: Not Tobey Maguire?
Evan Rachel Wood: No comment. [Laughs]
TOC: You’re not a Tobey fan?
Evan Rachel Wood: Nooo comment. [Laughs]
Whatever Works opens June 26.