If you take a chance and see Mandy Moore in Dedication this weekend in
be pleasantly surprised to see a young actress who’s branching out and maturing
as she takes on a more challenging role. In this wide-ranging interview, Mandy talks candidly about the Justin Theroux-directed
edgy romantic comedy, about New York City, about her recent depression and her
latest CD, Wild Hope (which, because it’s stripped down, passionate and not
teen pop, is a small triumph in itself).
HG: You’ve mentioned that a lot of the scripts you get are,
well, crap. What made you want to do Dedication?
MM: I gravitate toward things that are really
character-driven. And the script in general is very, very well-written. The ability to work with Billy (Crudup) and
Tom (Wilkinson) and Diane (Wiest) I knew would be a great learning experience. I knew I’d come out of it a better actress.
Plus, doing a little indie movie here in
Hit the jump for much more Mandy.
HG: What scenes in particular in the script really resonated
MM: When Billy’s character berates me the first time in the
diner, I thought Good Gracious. This girl has to sit there and hear this and
take it. And then she has to come back and work with the guy in spite of
everything. To do that scene with an
actor of Billy’s caliber just was so tempting to me.
HG: Since this was a tight shooting schedule, did you get a
chance to hang at all?
Yorker for a while. I did a little bit
of shopping and good eating, seeing theater. It was a thrill.
HG: You were very comfortable with Justin as an actor turned
director. Why’s that?
MM: Obviously, movies don’t shoot in sequential order. So being able to have someone in your support
system like Justin, who knows what it’s like to be in an actor’s shoes on such
a tight shoot with no time and no money, was really helpful. We had a rapport that made me feel
comfortable. He would pull me aside and
advise me with two words. And I got
it. We were done. Cool. It just made perfect sense. I
really felt like he was there for me and knew what I was going through.
HG: So where did you want to take your character?
MM: I wanted to make sure that she was never meek, that she
was always sort of strong and steadfast and had this sense of self and did
things for the right reasons and really was just this solid, stable girl. I think I relate to certain aspects of that
character, (whispers) but I’m super, super shy as a person so I didn’t want any
of that to inform the character’s choices.
HG: I could see some of the shyness in the press conference,
and I could see that you wanted to please the journalists by trying to find a
balance between what they asked and what you felt.
MM: Yeah! I’m definitely
a people pleaser and I hate to say ‘No,” and I want to give people what they
HG: What was Justin’s vision of your character?
MM: He was really adamant about her look and what she wore
and the overall style. He had a pitch
perfect idea of what he wanted all of these characters to be. I mean, Billy’s character dresses like Justin
because he’s kind of like Justin. He
was very prepared. I mean, I’ve never
come out of a rehearsal before feeling that it really helped me prepare for the
shooting of the movie.
HG: What did you learn that you’ll be able to take with
you to your next movie?
MM: I think I learned to, like, settle into myself and feel
comfortable there. With this movie, I’ve
learned to trust the quieter, stiller part of myself and not be afraid of that. I really found a way to tap into it and feel
secure enough to go there and stay there.
HG: I liked your latest CD, Wild Hope, a lot because it was
stripped down. And your earlier stuff,
while your voice was good, felt like you were fighting with the strings and
MM: This is the first album that I actually tracked with a
band. There is such a difference when
you’re not fighting the instrumentation and the arrangement. I can’t wait to get on the road and play the
new songs. There’s something about being
on a bus and being with the band and playing music night after night that’s so
good. I love making films and don’t mind
doing intervivews. But there’s something great about going up there at the end of
the day and being able to let off that steam and have the ability to get it out
HG: What people excerpted or quoted from your interview with
MM: They only talked about me being depressed. I don’t
regret saying that. But I think it was
taken out of context. If you’re just excerpting
and taking away the fact that I’m depressed in a quote, (it’s not the whole story.) That bummed me out. Depression is a very real thing. But it’s not something I’ve been diagnosed
with. And I felt, like, I don’t want to
be the poster child for depression because it’s not really fair for anybody. I
think people took away from that quote that I was debilitated and couldn’t get
out of bed. It wasn’t that heavy. It was
kind of like this cloud was over my head that had never been there before. But
I went through a period that was very low for me. It was very weird and out of the blue and
just not the norm for me. I had to find
my own means for dealing with it. And
that came from writing. It worked itself out more or less.
HG: Finally, what would you say to entice people to come to Dedication?
MM: If you want a real
you feel good, this is it. It’s hard to
say what you’ll take away from this movie, but maybe it’s just trusting the unexpected
connection you have with a person and just going for it.