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European Vacation: “Chasing Liberty” Stars Hit the Road

Contrary to popular belief, Mandy Moore’s new romantic comedy Chasing Liberty has nothing to do with the hunt for Osama bin Laden or the capture of recently deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Not that co-star and inevitable love interest Matthew Goode would hesitate to put a patriotic spin on the proceedings. ‘They way I look at it,’ he says, ‘I was chasing Liberty for all Iraqis.’

Moore and the good folks at Warner Bros. see it differently. The titular Liberty, in reality, refers to Moore’s character Anna Foster, a rebellious teenager eager to enter the social scene who must contend with the fact that her father (Mark Harmon) is the President of the United States. Fed up, this first daughter finally makes a break for adolescent freedom during her family’s diplomatic peace-keeping mission in Prague, though she’s accompanied on her carefree European jaunt by the responsible and amorous Ben (Goode).

For his first feature film, longtime television director Andy Cadiff (According to Jim) painted his action against a global backdrop. He bounced his cast and crew around Europe, stopping in Berlin, London, Venice and Prague to film. ‘We had the opportunity to be tourists,’ says Moore, remarking that despite our country’s ongoing skirmishes overseas, she ‘always felt safe, like I was in my own little bubble.’

Traveling across multiple continents is nothing new for the pop star/actress. She’s been traveling non-stop since the age of 14 (she’s currently 19), whether on tour for her music or working the publicity circuit for a film. Liberty is her fifth theatrical project, if you don’t count the times she lent her voice to feature films (Dr. Dolittle).

While she related to her character’s flights of fancy, Moore doesn’t share Anna’s disdain for her parents. ‘They’re my friends,’ Moore says of her folks, who spent all their time on the road while their own daughter was touring. ‘I really feel close to them.’

She also enjoyed working with Goode, an actor she met mere days before they started shooting. ‘It felt good when I first met Matthew,’ says Mandy. That’s good, because his character eventually ends up in the sack with the queen of ‘Coverage.’ The actor, making his American debut in a feature film, impressed Moore with his warm people skills despite the fact that his character needed to be so buttoned-up. ‘I’m one of the biggest worriers in the world,’ says Goode, who appears in control on screen. Moore disagrees with his self-assessment. ‘Don’t listen to him,’ she says. ‘He was really calm and collected on set.’

Except for the day they needed to bungee jump. Here’s the scene: Anna has eluded Ben’s grip, and has joined forces with a team of rogue backpackers. He catches up with her minutes before she’s set to leap from the edge of a towering bridge, with nothing but a bungee chord strapped to her waist. So what does he do? The same thing any self-respecting love interest would do … he joins her. Did the studio let them jump for real? Of course not. Would they, if given the chance? ‘Yes,’ says Moore enthusiastically. ‘Absolutely,’ chimes in Goode. ‘No question asked.’ Sensing my disbelief, Moore ensures me, ‘We’re very spontaneous people.’ Let’s just hope the sequel isn’t called Scraping Liberty Off the Rocks Below.

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