Committing to a role like Chloe is no easy decision, particularly for an actress who is well known for being part of comical and family-friendly films. In Chloe, Amanda Seyfried stars as the titular character, a young prostitute hired by an older woman (Julianne Moore) to tempt her husband (Liam Neeson) to reveal whether or not he has extramarital tendencies.
Nothing like Karen from Mean Girls, Sophie from Mamma Mia! , Sarah from Big Love or Needy from Jennifer’s Body, right? Well, that’s kind of the point. Seyfried is well aware of the inclination of young actresses to take on roles that are merely versions of themselves and was thrilled about the opportunity to color outside of the lines--way outside the lines.
But even while taking some risks, Seyfried certainly has her head on straight. She admits to taking her work home with her, Mamma Mia! co-star Dominic Cooper in particular, but she’s determined to follow in the footsteps of some of her iconic co-stars, like Moore and Meryl Streep, in an effort to establish herself as a capable and talented actress. Take a look at what Seyfried had to say about being an up-and-comer in a profession overflowing with expectations, her experience working with director Atom Egoyan, and more.
How much intimidation did you have to overcome to play a role like this?
I almost didn’t want to do the movie. When we were getting close and Julianne signed on, I got really scared and I tried to think of a way that I could get out of it. Obviously I didn’t want to, but I was so intimidated I didn’t think I could actually do it. I have only really gotten by with playing versions of myself as most young actors do. It was the best opportunity that had ever come up for me, the most complex female character and I had to do it. It was clearly the riskier choice, but it was also the better choice. And I think the risk factor came with that I might not be able to pull it off and also that the nudity might, I don’t know, create some damage with my American audience. It’s sad to say, but it’s true.
So would you rather go down in flames trying something daring like this or do Mamma Mia Part 6?
Absolutely. God, I really wanted that to happen.
Well, they haven’t even done 2, 3, 4 and 5, so you’d have a while before that would happen.
You’re right. I know you cannot go wrong with Atom Egoyan because he’s his own thing. He never does anything against his instinct and his instinct is always so specific and something so real and he has such a passion for everything he does.
What do you take away from all of the amazing strong women you’ve worked with? You’ve really worked with the best.
And the reason they’re the best is not only that they are connected to each character that they are, it’s also because they have this level of professionalism and respect for the people that they’re working with. I’m sure you’ve heard of a lot of actors and actresses feeling like they’re higher than the rest, that there’s a hierarchy sometimes in people’s imaginations, but, the fact is, you’re just another team member. Maybe you’re financing it, [but] it doesn’t make you any better than the rest. I think you have to know what your job is, not just as the actor, but also as a team member, how to make everybody else’s job easier. A film set is really delicate and people treat you very very well if you’re an actor because they want you to be as comfortable as possible for you to do your work, but it really is just one in a team of many and usually 150 people. Being professional is just really clearly the way to go and helps you on the road to longevity. Meryl [Streep]’s the same way. She separates her life from her work and she just doesn’t take it home with her. And although I’m younger and of course I did end up taking my work home with me, on some occasions, I’m learning from it and I think that it’s just a process of making mistakes a little bit here and there, but finally maybe one day getting to the point where it’s just like it is a job and as fun as it is, as exciting a world it brings you into, it doesn’t make you who you are and that’s what I think that Meryl and Julianne have proven and they have their families and that’s the end all be all.
What’d you like most about you character? Some people may find her actions at times particularly unsympathetic.
I just don’t see her as an antagonist. In the beginning, she’s creepy and you don’t trust her at all and then you start seeing some deeply human qualities and vulnerabilities and the depth that she goes and then you see this lost girl fall in love with somebody. That’s what made me fall in love with her. I knew her so well and I just feel like it was so, it would have been hard not to fall in love. It would have been hard enough not to appreciate her in some ways. She doesn’t have nasty motives, she just felt something and it made her need it and you become addicted to it, obsessed with it, which was love. She just tried to do anything; that was her only motive, just to have that forever, which is a bit delusional when it comes to Catherine. It’s completely unrealistic, but she’s damaged, she’s got a lot of crosswires and it makes sense because she’s had a crap life. Her mother kicked her out when she was 14, that was written in the script and then taken out, and she never had a father. Everything she does is because she hasn’t had anybody to love her.
What’d you take away from this movie in terms of relationships?
You have to reevaluate sometimes, reevaluate yourself and where you are and I think people don’t stop enough because they get so used to these people. It’s almost like they’re – everything becomes furniture. You’re just used to it being there and of course it proved that Chloe comes in and puts everything upside down.
You basically exploded after Mamma Mia. How tricky has it been to navigate life and your career since?
I think Mamma Mia brought me to a new audience. I already had kind of an audience from Big Love, which was a more serious type of well-written piece of work that if you were getting used to seeing me as Sarah, the daughter in Big Love, I think that Mamma Mia was a new audience, younger, young kids and older women. So then I had a well-rounded group of people who kind of were familiar with me and so it wasn’t hard to jump back into very serious after Mamma Mia. After Mamma Mia I did this really weird dark movie called Boogie Woogie and so I went straight into that and then after that I did a horror comedy. I’ve just been really lucky with the movies that are coming up. Scheduling is always really hard especially if you have three really great offers on a movie, on three movies, and they’re all going at the same time, you have to pick and choose and it’s really difficult to do that. I just take what’s best at the time and usually the good ones are always pretty unique.
And how about not losing your head in the process?
I think I’m past the age of getting lost. It didn’t happen too early. It’s happened steadily, slowly but steadily and people say, ‘Oh, well you’re an overnight sensation’ but actually that’s not true at all because I got into playing a supporting member in Mean Girls and then I went to Big Love and then I did small movies and then I did bigger movies, then I did Mamma Mia. It’s been like seven years and I feel like it’s not happened too fast. I think that’s another secret, keeping my head on and obviously I have really good parents.
What was your most memorable moment on the set of Chloe?
Well, the love scene. I’ll never forget that. [Laughs]
The whole Mamma Mia 2 plan is pretty hazy. Some are saying they’re going to do it and some are saying they’re not. Colin Firth said they’re doing Mamma Mia! with a new cast. What have you heard about that?
I think I might have started that rumor. I started sharing a rumor that I heard that there was a Mamma Mia 2 and then in October, all of these people in London were telling me that there is actually a script and everything and then in November, my boyfriend had talked to Phyllida [Lloyd], who directed Mamma Mia, and she said that if they do Mamma Mia they are going to use a whole new cast and do a prequel. And then that’s when I said no, it’s not going to happen. And then apparently someone said - this was bullshit - that I’d asked for $7.5 million. I would love $7.5 million, but I don’t think it’d be right to ask for that for Mamma Mia 2. It did make a lot of money so maybe it gave me some ideas, but it’s just not going to happen. And Pierce recently said that it wasn’t going to happen either. So sadly, no, but at least we ended on a high note.