Actress Evan Rachel Wood burst onto the scene in 2003’s “Thirteen” playing a troubled teen. Her powerhouse portrayal of a young girl on a downward spiral into drugs, sex and crime was critically praised and launched her career. Since then, Wood has continued to take on provocative roles in indies and television, and has also stretched out her vocal chops singing Beatles hits in the Julie Taymor directed “Across the Universe.”
In her latest “Charlie Countryman,” Wood co-stars alongside Shia LaBeouf’s title character as a Romanian cellist whose violent ex-husband might mean trouble for the smitten Charlie.
On the eve of the film’s release (it opens in select theaters today and is available to view on VOD), we sat down with Wood to chat about the film, shooting in Romania, karaoke, LSD, her new life as a mom and her musical future.
So tell me about Romania, that’s where you shot, right?
Yes we shot in Bucharest in Romania. Romania was really good to us honestly, it’s a place that has a really rich history and a not always pleasant one with a lot of violence. That city’s been through a lot. It’s actually a line in the film, it’s made them stronger, it’s given them so much character. And our Romanian crew was incredible. Their work ethic there is very impressive. I liked it there.
Evan Rachel Wood has largely managed to stay out of the public eye except when she has a movie out, she says — something that her most recent costar, Shia LaBeouf, has yet to learn.
The two pair up in the new movie “Charlie Countryman,” in which LaBeouf’s title character goes on a psychedelic voyage to Romania — during which he feels compelled to save, again and again, the alluring and endangered Gabi (played by Wood with a thick local accent). LaBeouf’s been dogged by public interest in what he described as his drug use on the set of “Countryman,” as well as a turbulent period that began when he quit the Broadway show he was working on with Alec Baldwin.
By contrast, Wood, a recent new mother, keeps a low media profile, even in spite of interest in her relationships past (Marilyn Manson) and present (Jamie Bell). The actress, known for turns in “The Wrestler,” “Thirteen” and “The Ides of March,” as well as on “True Blood,” dismissed criticisms of LaBeouf — “He’s insanely focused — kind of a Method actor” — and why she’s tuned out haters online. “It does me more good to lick a toilet seat than to care what people say about me or my personal life on the Internet.”
How do you feel about social media? I see you’re on Twitter with a funny bio link: fuckyeahevanrwood.tumblr.com.
Evan: [Laughs] Yeah, I saw that and thought it was hilarious, so I decided to make that my own page.
Wait, what? lol
She’s the girl you love.
In Charlie Countryman, Evan Rachel Wood is Gabi, the girl you meet for two seconds and instantly fall for. Well, Shia LaBeouf’s Charlie is the one who falls for her, but you do, too. She’s the hardened Romanian cellist with the short hair red hair, and brittle gaze betraying a lost soul. She’s the girl you love.
Charlie just lost his mother, and escapes the pain with a trip to Bucharest. Gabi just lost her father, and escapes the pain with a trip to Charlie’s heart. Wood, 26, has been acting on screen since she was 9—transfixing as an adolescent addict in Thirteen, hypnotizing as a young lover in Across the Universe, and heartbreaking as a neglected daughter in The Wrestler. In Charlie Countryman, she’s the girl so interesting, so spellbinding, that a perfect stranger is ready to risk his life to reach her heart, even if he has travel through her violent past and face-off against her criminal ex to get to it.
After getting to know straight-shooting, ever beguiling, always unpredictable Evan Rachel Wood over nearly two decades in the business, the same thing could be said about the actress as her Charlie Countryman character.
Evan Rachel Wood, 26, and her husband, actor Jamie Bell, 27, had their first child, a son, on July 29, 2013. She chose a natural home birth, for which she credits Ricki Lake’s inspirational documentary, “The Business of Being Born.” Wood still rocks the baby glow on her face and her body looks amazing.
TheBlot caught up with her Wednesday in SoHo. Wood wore stylish black pants, a black vest, and colorful sleeves that set off her cropped haircut and hypnotizing green eyes.
Dorri Olds: Congratulations on being a mom. What do you like most about motherhood?
Evan Rachel Wood: Everything. It was my dream to be a mom, so I’m loving it.
Is it hard getting back into the swing of work after having the baby?
Yeah, these last couple of days I’ve been having separation anxiety. I’m so used to having the baby right here [motions to her chest]. It’s strange. They become a part of you.
Was it difficult juggling baby time in between your hectic movie schedule?
I was lucky because I’d just done three films and then I got pregnant. I was like, “I’ve got things in the can and I’m taking a break!”
It just felt like the right time?
Yeah, it worked out perfectly.
In the romantic comedy “A Case of You” (now available), Justin Long plays an exceptionally geeky young man who falls for a bouncy New York barista (a magnetic Wood). In the crime thriller “Charlie Countryman” (available starting Friday), Shia LaBeouf plays an exceptionally geeky young man who falls for a sullen Bucharest cellist (a magnetic Wood).
Hmmm. Maybe these movies aren’t so very different after all. They’re alike not only in casting young Wood as the male hero’s borderline unattainable object of desire, but also in suggesting how relatively few options exist in American movies for intelligent, discerning actors — particularly female actors.
“There are too many movies that are exactly the same,” Wood told Interview in 2006. “I mean, people just don’t really expect movies to be that good anymore. The majority of them are just prepackaged, like, conveyor-belt movies.”
Millennium Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,” starring Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood. The film, directed by award-winning commercial director Fredrik Bond, premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and later competed at Berlin. The company has yet to announce a release date for the drama.
The film stars LaBeouf as Charlie, an American who heads to Bucharest, only to fall in love with Gabi (Wood), a beautiful musician. Unfortunately for Charlie, a vicious gangster has already laid claims on Gabi.
"In his theatrical debut, Fredrik Bond’s has created a stylish, action-packed ride that hooks you from the first moments and never lets go," stated Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee. "This is a perfect addition to our slate and we expect the film to draw audiences in all windows of release."
A very pregnant Wood is at Tribeca to unveil her latest film, romantic comedy A Case of You. Directed by Kat Coiro from a screenplay by brothers Justin and Christian Long, the film stars Justin Long as Sam, a disillusioned novelist who is infatuated with Byrdie (Wood) the barista at his local Brooklyn coffee shop. He eventually stalks her Facebook profile and seeks to win her over by becoming the man he thinks she wants—that is, conforming to all the things under her “likes” section. The experiment goes swimmingly, until Sam realizes he may be biting off more than he can chew. The film boasts a stellar supporting cast as well, including Vince Vaughn as a snappy agent, Peter Dinklage as a saucy gay barista, and Sam Rockwell as a stoner guitar instructor.
Wood sat down with The Daily Beast at Tribeca to discuss her film, pregnancy (her husband is actor Jamie Bell), her fantastic Twitter account, and her decision to come out as bisexual via social media.
What attracted you to the role of Byrdie?
She’s fearless, and the complete opposite of Justin’s character. The whole point is she needed to be everything intimidating to someone who’s insecure, because she’s the most confident, free-spirited girl with a pixie cut that’s an artist. She seems like a fairy, on the surface. What attracted me is it’s different from everything else I’ve played because I usually do more intense roles, so it was nice to smile and have a good time.
Did you feel like you were getting pigeonholed as the “brooding, intense young woman?”
No, but I’m sure I wasn’t the first name that came to mind when they’re doing a comedy. People who I’ve worked with are always like, “Why aren’t you doing comedy? You’re funny!” because they’ve only seen the one side. I did do the comedy Whatever Works, with Woody Allen and Larry David.
Can you tell me something funny or strange about Larry? He’s so great.
He loves Steppenwolf, which I didn’t know. He loves it! We’d rock out to “Magic Carpet Ride.”
Now I’m picturing Larry blasting Steppenwolf in his Prius. Byrdie is a caricature artist. Do you have any strange hidden talents?
Yes. Obviously, I’m pregnant and I looked at my husband one day and I was like, “I’m going to crochet the baby a blanket!” And he was like, “What?” And then I got all the supplies and started crocheting this blanket in front of him, and he was like, “Are there any other hidden talents I should know about? I had no idea you could crochet!”
How far along are you, if you don’t mind me asking?
I’m close! I’m in the home stretch.
Do you play it music?
I do! My friend Toby got me this belt that you put around the belly so it’s like Surround Sound, and I found all these great lullaby renditions of rock ‘n roll songs, like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead. It’s awesome.
Back to hidden talents—there is a joke about Judo in the film, and I heard you have a black belt in Taekwondo?
[At this point, Justin Long—who apparently had been eavesdropping on the interview—screams “WHAT?” from the hallway and comes into the room]
Long: I did not know that! What don’t you do?!?
Wood: I have a black belt and used to compete when I was a kid! I did the Junior Olympics.
Long: I’ve known you for so long, I can’t believe I didn’t know that! OK, carry on. [Leaves]
Have you ever had to use your Taekwondo skills?
I used to get beat up in school around fifth grade, but it’s funny because I refused to use it when I got beat up. I just thought you weren’t supposed to. But I think once I did. I just did a really crazy kick and everyone was like, “OK, I’m gonna go away now.”
Are you active on Facebook?
I am on Facebook but it’s mainly for friends and family, so it’s not my real name. But I am on Twitter a lot. I resisted it for so long, but I love it because I get to connect with people I look up to—actors, comedians, and singers. I’ve made new friends and I get tickets to shows and things, like I’ll mention a band and get a tweet back that says, “You’re on the list,” and I’m like, “I love Twitter!” I follow a lot of news sources so I get news really quickly, and I love it because you get to talk about whatever issue you’re passionate about, so I’ve used it to rah-rah for certain things.
Gay marriage is a big issue that I see you talking about a lot on Twitter.
I’m out [as a] bisexual, so I get questions and curiosity from people who don’t genuinely know and want to ask questions. People will start out not believing it and by the end of it you find that you’ve reached some kind of understanding with people—some middle ground. And then other people start talking, other people tell their stories. Even people that come out so against it, it’s very interesting for me to hear the other side.
There’s been this big sea change now with Obama endorsing gay marriage and you even have R&B singers like Frank Ocean coming out as bisexual. Back when we were kids, you never would’ve seen any of that.
Yeah! And I think part of that is just where we are. It’s become more socially acceptable. With me, the reason why I came out is because I felt like now was the time to no longer be silent about it.
Had you been reluctant to come out for a little while?
I wanted to wait for the right time and wait to have enough years under my belt where people knew that it wasn’t a phase or anything and I wasn’t doing it for attention; this is a part of who I am, and I’m old enough to really know who I am by now. And I had to wait until I told my family, too, which I was really nervous about! And I have a really chill, understanding family, too.
The film is really about trying to please your partner so much in the relationship that you lose sight of who you really are. Have you ever been in one of those relationships where you felt like you lost sight of who you are?
I think everyone feels a little of that when he or she starts dating—you just like someone so much that you’ll do anything to make them happy. And in the process, you lose yourself and neglect your own feelings, and then one day you ask yourself, “Why am I so unhappy?” I started learning another language. Swedish. That’s probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done. It was a bad idea.
You do a beautiful job singing in Case of You, and of course in Across the Universe. Had you ever thought of releasing an album?
I’d like to do it at some point, but I’ve resisted because I act for my job and that’s this creative thing that I do, and it’s a passion but it’s still a job. Artists are sensitive about their stuff. Singing makes me so happy and feeds my soul so much that I almost wouldn’t want it to get tainted and become this work thing. Maybe one of these days I’ll just say screw it. I sing very loudly, so I feel like it would have to be Janis-y.
Was that your real back tattoo in the movie?
They let me keep my tattoo, yeah. It’s an Edgar Allen Poe quote from “A Dream Within A Dream.” It says, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
I remember I saw Thirteen with my little sister when she was 13 and I told her, “Don’t you ever do any of that.” Was it strange to be immediately thrust into the spotlight at 14?
It was, and I don’t think I realized it until I was older and looked back on it. It was zero-to-a-hundred, and it all happened so fast. It was a blessing and a curse. I’m proud of that film and it’s still moving people, but you’re so young and you’re thrust into the spotlight, and you’re supposed to show the world who you are before you even know who you are. “This is me, but I don’t even know who I am!” Then you have to grow up in front of everybody and go through all your awkward stages. And then you go, “I’m going to go be a goth kid because I’m 19,” and the whole world freaks out and you’re like, “You know I’m still a teenager, right?”
The first time I went to Sundance was in 2005, and you had Pretty Persuasionand The Upside of Anger in it. Your husband, Jamie Bell, also had The Chumscrubber there…
Yeah! That’s how we met! We met at that Sundance Film Festival. We fell in love at that festival.
That’s crazy. I was at the after-party for The Chumscrubber there. So it wasn’t the Green Day video for “Wake Me Up When September Ends” that you two met?
That’s what everyone always says, but we never said that. We were already dating and very much in love when we did that music video, that’s why it’s so good. [Laughs]
You and Jamie initially split up and then found each other again. That’s tough to do.
Yeah, but you know, that’s the real test: If you can go away and come back. It just never went away. Sometimes, you break up with people and it goes away, but this only got worse. It felt like a fate thing—this thing inside both of us that felt like we needed to be together.
Your movie choices have been so diverse, and mostly indie—you’ve really shied away from the two-dimensional female roles in blockbuster films. Has that been a conscious choice for you?
Yeah, and sometimes I’ve been too picky. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing big blockbusters, but I wanted to go do movies that I wanted to go see. I’ve managed to work with a lot of my favorite directors and actors. I did like doing roles that were I guess… I don’t want to say extreme but just not the norm, because I’m a little weird.
The Hollywood actress on using olive oil in her skincare regime, why Kate Winslet is her inspiration and how her favourite fragrance is fitting of strong, independent women.
We’re not only in awe of these EXCLUSIVE pictures of Evan Rachel Wood, the hawt 25-year-old Golden Globe nominates actress and face of Gucci Guilty Black, but her awesome answers to our beauty probe. Take note, girls.
What is your daily skincare routine?
I use olive oil to take my makeup off. I put it all over my face with a hot towel. It leaves my skin very smooth. Then, aloe and sunscreen.
What are your go-to products?
Mascara - I could have no makeup on, but if I have mascara on, I feel fine.
Olive Oil - It’s a great trick to keep your skin soft. You can bathe in it or take your make-up off with it.
NARS Lip Pencils - It’s a lipstick and lip liner in one. You can be very precise, but get all the coverage you want.
Make Up For Ever Foundation – It can be hard for me to find a match for my skin because I’m so pale. They have many different shades and it goes on very light.
DHC Sunscreen - I’m pale; I have to wear it every day. One of the reasons why I love DHC is because they use a lot of olive oil in their products. I use their soap, because it won’t dry your skin up.
Who is your beauty icon?
Tilda Swinton. She’s a female Bowie to me. She always looks gorgeous, but very androgynous, from another planet. It’s very striking.
Who are you most inspired by?
Kate Winslet. She is a really incredible to watch, and inspiring. That’s definitely a very strong woman. She’s incredible, no matter what’s going on. I’ve seen her sick as a dog but still pulls through. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your personal life, that day she leaves it at the door. She rises above it. She has a great attitude. She still makes everyone laugh. She’s fun to be around. She’s really easygoing and really funny.
Describe your fitness routine
I live in an area where I can ride my bike everywhere. That’s a great way to stay in shape. I just started doing yoga, which I totally get why everyone is in love with it now. It took me a while to jump on the train, but it’s pretty great. And dancing. It’s a fun workout.
How do you apply and wear fragrance?
I wear it everyday. I usually spray it to the air and walk through it a few times. I like having a fragrance that is yours and that people associate with you. So when they smell it, they are immediately reminded of you, or an experience they had with you.
Describe the Gucci Guilty Black fragrance
It’s very sensual and very edgy. It’s got a sweet smell, but also a spicy smell. It’s got red pepper in it, but then it’s got red fruit. It’s sugar and spice. I really like that.
Describe the woman that would wear Gucci Guilty Black
A woman who is a little more adventurous, one that knows what she wants. A strong independent, confident woman. Someone that wants to leave an impression on people. Scent does that. It’s one of the reasons we wear it – people smell it and want to get closer to you or they smell it and they remember you, they’re taken back to a time or place.