Exclusive Interview: Evan Rachel Wood Dishes About MILDRED PIERCE, TRUE BLOOD, and Nudity

Evan Rachel Wood in Mildred Pierce (HBO)

Daemon’s TV
recently had the opportunity to chat with the very talented actress Evan Rachel Wood who at a very young age already has a career that can make anyone look lazy.

We talked about her portrayal of a spoiled daughter in Mildred Pierce, how she dealt with the nudity in the part and also what happened to her when she met an “interesting” True Blood fan. Evan Rachel Wood will be back in a little screen near you in this upcoming season of True Blood and also on the big screen in the movie “The Ides of March” with Georges Clooney and Ryan Gosling. In the meantime, check out what she had to say to us.

Congratulations on the critically acclaimed ‘Mildred Pierce’. Can you talk about playing such a complex character as Veda?

Evan Rachel Wood: Thank you. I think this is one of the hardest characters I’ve ever played, not only because she is so complex and it’s incredibly dramatic, but also doing the preparations for the singing and the piano. It was just a lot of work, and the dialect; a lot went into that character everyday.

Where did you find inspiration to portray some of the more difficult aspects of the story and this performance?

Evan Rachel Wood: We had a couple of weeks of rehearsal before we started to get a feel for everything and a feel for each other and the material. Kate [Winslet] and I made a point of not watching the original film so that we could make it our own, but we worked with Todd [Haynes] on building who she was because we didn’t want her to just be evil and that be it. We wanted a reason behind the madness.

Do you think that for Veda, she wasn’t really evil, but that she just came across that way?

Evan Rachel Wood: I think she’s the very definition of spoiled. I think she’s a spoiled person. I think she was born with a certain spirit and energy and I think that Mildred just projected too much onto her and smothered her in a weird way and let her get away with murder. By doing that she just lost all respect for Mildred and didn’t want to have anything to do with her or that lifestyle, and especially at that time there was such a focus on class and money. I think it Veda just kind of latched onto that idea.

If we lived in a parallel universe and you had the opportunity to talk to Veda, what would you tell her?

Evan Rachel Wood: Oh, lord [laughs]. I would just say, ‘Leave her alone, man.’ I think Mildred and Veda should just leave it alone, just go your own way. That’s what I would say, and loosen up. Just relax.

What was it like working with Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce?

Evan Rachel Wood: They’re just wonderful, brilliant people, especially Kate. She’s my favorite actress. She’s on the top of my list. So, getting to work with her was pretty incredible. Just watching her on and off set is amazing because she, I mean, talk about a great spirit, kept everyone going because it was a really difficult shoot. We had a lot to film. She had the most to do and she took it like a champ and was really inspiring. Guy is just a brilliant actor and is always great in everything that he does and really intense in a good way.

Was there any advice or tips that they gave you?

Evan Rachel Wood: I wasn’t going to do the nude scene, but Kate kind of helped me out there, helped me through the whole experience actually which I’m really glad that I did because she was right. It was important for the film and it was a really powerful, intense moment and I think that it was necessary. So I’m glad that she convinced me to do it.

And the mechanics of the scene, were they close to what you imagined or were they different?

Evan Rachel Wood: I don’t know. It was all terrifying. Kate is just an amazing woman and she was there to support me and make me feel comfortable. So it was a good experience.

Is there something special that you look for in a character that you want to play?

Evan Rachel Wood: I have to connect with the script and with the character and really believe in the project or else I can’t do it. I’m pretty picky in that way. I mainly just go off of a feeling that I have when I read something, if I get excited, if I get butterflies and if I’m really passionate about it then that’s the one that I go after.

Do you seek out characters that are different from you or ones that are closer to your personality?

Evan Rachel Wood: A mix of both. It’s really fun to do something that’s completely different and totally step outside of yourself, but sometimes it’s fun to just play around and have it be slightly more natural to you. So, either one is good.

Do you have a standard approach to a role or does it vary depending on the part?

Evan Rachel Wood: It really varies. The director is really important to me. Todd was definitely on my list. ‘Velvet Goldmine’ is one of my favorite movies. So, that. I can connect with a character, but I have to know that it’s in the right hands, too, and that the story is going to be told in the right way. So, that’s important.

Outside of ‘Mildred Pierce’ you also played Queen Sophie-Anne in ‘True Blood‘. Were there any similarities to that character and Veda?

Evan Rachel Wood: Not at all [laughs]. They’re both pretty sassy, but ‘True Blood’ is interesting because it’s a lot of fun. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun, but suddenly all these things come into play that you never really thought about, like, you’re a supernatural being now. So, it’s like, ‘Should I breathe? Are my fangs out? Am I fast? What’s going on?’ What would a three hundred year old vampire do in this situation. It kind of blows your mind. So, it’s a much different approach. I think that Veda is much darker and more intense than even a vampire.

The season finale had Queen Sophie-Anne and Bill going at it. I have to ask who wins?

Evan Rachel Wood: [laughs] There’s no way I can tell you that. They would have my head. No way, but I think it’s going to be surprising.

What can you tease about the new season of True Blood?

Evan Rachel Wood: Honestly, I know just as much as you do. I’m also a fan of the show and so I don’t like to know what’s going to happen. I know what’s going to happen to me, but I’m waiting to see.

Have you had an opportunity to meet any of the diehard fans of ‘True Blood’?

Evan Rachel Wood: Yes. ‘True Blood’ has incredible fans. I was one of them and still am one of them, and they’re diehard. They’re really dedicated. It’s great. I walk down the street and people scream out, ‘It’s the queen!’ I go, ‘Where?’ So, that’s really fun. I think I get stopped more for ‘True Blood’ than anything else.

But they understand that you’re not a three hundred year old vampire, right?

Evan Rachel Wood: Right, yeah. I did have one person ask me if I was a day walker. I said, ‘No. I’m a human.’

You’ve had a prolific career at a young age. Do you have a long term vision as to where you want your career to go or more of a fluid approach to it?

Evan Rachel Wood: Usually a more fluid approach. I try not to think about it too much because I always want to be surprised. I just kind of want to keep doing what I’m doing, keep working with good directors and maybe one day direct. I’m just waiting to see what happens.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

Evan Rachel Wood: Well, ‘The Conspirator’, is that still out in theaters? I have that out and in October I have a George Clooney called ‘The Ides of March’ coming out.

How did that go?

Evan Rachel Wood: It was really great. All the performances in it are amazing and it’s just a great story. George did a wonderful job.

If you could guest star on any television that you’d like which one would it be?

Evan Rachel Wood: Weeds’. I love ‘Weeds’. I really do. Mary Louise Parker is my hero. I love that show. I do. I know it’s not on HBO, but [laughs].