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Red Riding Hood - Amanda Seyfried interview

Red Riding Hood

Interview by Rob Carnevale

AMANDA Seyfried talks about updating the classic fairytale Red Riding Hood for Catherine Hardwicke and working with the director’s unusual casting process.

She also discusses her own career, how she’s seen by casting directors and whether Mr Right is out there…

Q. What did the tale of Little Red Riding Hood mean to you as a girl and what drew you to the character now?
Amanda Seyfried: Playing an iconic role like this is hard to come by and fairytales exist all around the world. I don’t remember when I was first told this one – whether it was this or Snow White. But I think because they’re such an international and iconic story, you feel like the opportunity to play her, especially in a more contemporary way, is exciting and something I couldn’t pass up. I mean, the original tale was very short and very symbolic – it had a lot of very dark symbolism that has changed over the years. But we kept the key components: the wolf, the grandmother, the riding hood, the cloak, the forest, and we brought it into this movie world where we had to build on that simple story and add a romance and a thriller/whodunit aspect. So, it was pretty obvious it was something I should do.

Q. And did you like the fairytale anyway?
Amanda Seyfried: Red Riding Hood scared me when I was little. Everything was just too dark and I wasn’t very comfortable with that world at the age of five or six. I needed to be cuddled in a blanket. I didn’t want anything to do with Red Riding Hood.

Q. So how was recreating those iconic lines – ‘what big eyes you have’, etc – with Julie Christie?
Amanda Seyfried: Crazy! I didn’t know… that was a tough one to incorporate into the movie and the script because it’s pretty silly when you think about it – you know, ‘God, what big eyes you have’! But it is still the iconic narrative from the story, but how did we put it in there without being weird? I think it actually works. The only place it could work is in the dream, so… It was crazy that she [Julie] had these huge pupils/contacts in, and this set of teeth. But she was totally down with it. I mean, she’s a totally cool lady. It was still really weird, though, because we were in bed together and it was a bit twisted. We kind of had to laugh at it. But the shot it in a way where everything was out of focus except for the focus – which was, at one point, the eyes.

Q. Do you have romantic ideas about the right one being out there for you, like in the movies? Or have your ideas changed through time?
Amanda Seyfried: Yeah, my ideas have changed. It’s always different. Every couple of years what I think is important changes. It’s all along the same lines but having been in long relationships I now know what really attracts me and I know what doesn’t. Sometimes, even what doesn’t attract you… if someone has that quality, you’ll overlook it because there’s something so special about them. I don’t know, I feel like my standards have just gone out the window and I’m just kind of enjoying everyone I meet and enjoying people for who they are as opposed to trying to find the perfect person.

Red Riding Hood

Q. Can you talk a little about Catherine Hardwicke’s unusual casting technique? Was it every awkward?
Amanda Seyfried: No, not ever. She casts based on chemistry, she really does. She finds the best young actors working today – sometimes people that aren’t working, or that haven’t worked yet like Robert Pattinson, for example… funnily enough, they brought in Shiloh [Fernandez] and Shiloh had been No.2 to Robert Pattinson [for Twilight] and Kristen [Stewart] had chosen Robert. They both chose him. And then Catherine said to me: “Who did you really connect with?” And I said ‘Shiloh’. And so, over a series of eight different auditions I had with Shiloh they finally cast him. It was just heartbreaking because I knew I wanted him from the beginning and there were other people in the mix and it tends to be a little bit political but we won!

Q. Catherine has said that she thinks you look like someone who has come straight out of a fairytale. Is that something that has helped your career?
Amanda Seyfried: Yeah, but I also lose out on certain parts. I think I tend to, from a negative side, look too soft and too vulnerable and maybe that purely has to do with the colour of my skin and my soft features. Or maybe it’s my essence – maybe it’s the way people see me. I can’t change that but I can go into an audition and prove them wrong.

Q. Which kind of parts did you miss out on? Or which ones would you like to go for?
Amanda Seyfried: The strong ones… I don’t know if I’d prefer to play these roles necessarily but there are certain scripts out there right now that call for a strong, young woman – like a tough chick – and nobody has ever said: “Oh, what about Amanda Seyfried?” They’re like…

Q. Let’s get Michelle Rodriguez?
Amanda Seyfried: Yeah, like no one would immediately think of me for the roles she plays. And that’s totally cool… I mean, I’m pretty thin and weak looking. But at the same time I really do think that I’m capable of anything if I prepare myself and spend time on it. My biceps are pretty good right now – I hide them well!

Q. Do you consider yourself vulnerable?
Amanda Seyfried: Sometimes… in certain situations I’m vulnerable, absolutely. But I also have a strength that I’ve built up over the years, which is pretty solid.

Red Riding Hood

Q. Where does your sense of humour come from? Max showed us the badge you made him wear today…
Amanda Seyfried: Is he wearing it? That’s nice! I just got it for him yesterday. I thought I’d get both Max and Shiloh a little pin to wear. You know, they have a really large amount of humility – especially Max – that’s so sweet. I don’t know, my sense of humour comes from my sister, I think – growing up with someone who is very morbid and really politically incorrect… as much as she can be! I think that she makes me laugh more than anybody in the world. I try not to insult anyone but usually it’s pretty successful. I like being a bit twisted. I’m entertained by people like David Lynch and then also people like Ricky Gervais. He’s probably the funniest guy I’ve ever seen.

Q. Did you like his Golden Globes?
Amanda Seyfried: I did. I enjoyed it very much. I don’t know what the big deal was. It’s not a big deal here. I think a lot of people enjoyed it but maybe it’s hard to admit. Listen, whether he’s wrong or right, he’s making people laugh. As long as he’s not joking about certain areas… I mean, there are always boundaries, for sure. You don’t want to hurt somebody. If someone’s feelings get hurt, then they’re miserable but I find that if you’re watching a stand-up comedian… I mean, I watched the Trump Roast on Comedy Central. It was the funniest thing ever – they were just ripping on him and he took it like a man. But it was really, really funny and all in good fun.

Q. Your next film, Now, deals with the concept of time and youth. Do you worry about getting older?
Amanda Seyfried: Of course! I don’t want to get old but at the same time I don’t want to die young. So, I don’t really have much of a choice. But I think there’s something beautiful in every age. Life experience is priceless… wisdom. I mean, you can’t be that wise if you’re this young. Some of the most attractive people know are very old. The concept of Now is basically that the richer you are, the longer you live. You can basically be immortal if you’re a billionaire because money is time – our money, our currency is actually time in this movie. So, there’s a crazy parallel. It’s really smart and it has a really fun, big concept to be a part of. I think people will really like it. Andrew Niccol [the director] is really good at that stuff. It’s very human but also very different. It’s our world but it’s completely turned inside out.

Red Riding Hood

Q. Are you taking care of yourself in a bid not to get old?
Amanda Seyfried: Well, I’m doing this re-genesis thing [laughs]. I’ve had two months off, so I’ve been in LA so I’ve been going to this facialist – Kate Somerville… I go there every once in a while anyway but I’ve been going there every week. I don’t know what it’s doing… it’s just this laser thing that they put over my face for 20 minutes and they tell me that it’s re-working the colognes but it’s preventative against getting wrinkles because I have premature wrinkles from naturally having a worried look all the time! In a lot of my movies, people are like: “Relax your forehead” Even Catherine and the DP on this were like: “Relax your forehead! Relax your forehead!” I work out a lot as well.

Q. What do you do in your time off?
Amanda Seyfried: Well, I spend too much time on the Internet. But I do love knitting. Actually, I do more knitting when I’m working, so never mind. But I always run errands and I play with my dogs. I’m really good at getting stuff done.

Q. Valerie, in Red Riding Hood, is suspicious of Peter at times and suspects that he could be the wolf. Are you suspicious of your boyfriends in real life?
Amanda Seyfried: I’m just very suspicious. It doesn’t really keep me from entering any relationship because that suspicion is kind of synonymous with this industry and that, in some ways, is exciting. However, I think there’s a point when you truly know if some person will not steer you wrong and will actually be faithful. You get to know somebody to a point where you want them. There are some circumstances where people find out that the person they’ve been married to is not really the person they thought they were marrying, and that’s terrible. But I’m always suspicious of people, especially now being in a weird realm of people kind of knowing me… and not knowing what people’s motives might be.

Read our review of Red Riding Hood

Read our interview with Shiloh Fernandez