Amanda Seyfried began her career as a young model and daytime soap actress before she caught her big screen break in Mean Girls, the high school comedy penned by Tina Fey. She went on to play supporting roles in films like Nine Lives and Alpha Dog before sharing screen time with legends like Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia!), Vanessa Redgrave (Letters to Juliet), and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), among a slew of others. This week, she stars in Lovelace, a biopic of the adult movie star who was exploited and abused by her husband and starred in the famously controversial 1972 film Deep Throat. RT chatted with Seyfried about her preparation for the film and why she’s personally drawn to intimate storytelling, but first, here are her Five Favorite Films:
Mother and Child (Rodrigo Garcia, 2010; 79% Tomatometer)
Mother and Child by Rodrigo García, because he’s really incredible about dealing with human relationships and he’s not afraid to go as dark as you need. He’s one of my favorite directors of all time, and I think he can write for a woman almost better than he can for a man. (laughs) And he’s a straight man. His father is actually Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He’s got just a nice touch with women and the performances are outstanding. Annette Bening and Naomi Watts and Britt [Brittany] Robertson, just f***ing everybody in that movie is… oh, it’s just f***ing one of the most beautiful, flawless films I’ve ever seen.
Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1996; 71% Tomatometer)
Romeo + Juliet. I was always a big Leo fan and Claire Danes fan. And Baz Luhrman just, I dunno, looked into my soul. I think I was maybe 12 when that came out, 11. It had an effect on me that made me wanna be an actor.
You were looking up at the screen saying, “I want to be on the other side of that.”
Yeah, and I want to feel that way. And also, I want to feel that love. I just want to experience what they were experiencing, in any capacity. It just made me feel so much; it made me realize my emotional capacity.
Another movie would have to be Animal Kingdom by David Michôd.
That was a hell of a movie.
Another flawless movie. Like, the way it starts out, it’s like, I wanna work with that guy forever. And a good friend of mine, or two good friends of mine, are in that Blue Tongue film group, that Australian filmmakers group. And, you know, they had to set up an incredible vision. Really, really human, really dark, really disturbing.
Right. Jackie Weaver is so scary in that.
Yeah, so great. But even just the way they start out the film with the kid sitting there for, like, two minutes, a minute and a half, next to his dead mother. It’s really profound. A look into, you know, another place that I’m just not aware of and I have no familiarity with. It’s just f***ing great.
I guess I’m gonna have to say Hannah and her Sisters because I only recently saw that in the last year and, I mean, Dianne Wiest… All the female characters are amazing. It’s like before they’re all, before everybody’s…
A household name?
Before everybody was a household name, before everybody had an image, before anybody has, like, a layer of the industry, like, before… I dunno, it’s just very untainted. Really great stuff from back in the day. God, I could study [Woody Allen’s films]; it’s unbelievable. But I guess I’ll have to say that one. Crimes and Misdemeanors is f***ing great but I’m not gonna say that’s one of my [five].
Wet Hot American Summer is a classic comedy and if it’s on I’m gonna finish watching it. What’s to say? It’s just like a bunch of f***ing ridiculously funny people. It’s just so stupid. It’s so good.
That movie’s a lot of fun though.
It’s so fun. I mean, come on, I don’t have any comedies in there so that’s my fifth.
Next, Seyfried talks about her new film, Lovelace, and why she likes improv and documentaries.
RT: As I’m looking at this list, I see some dark movies on there. Do you have a propensity to like dark stuff?
Amanda Seyfried: Yeah. I also have a propensity to like documentaries. Because it’s all really happening. It’s just, it’s not fiction. I prefer to read novels — fiction novels — but in terms of movies, I like biopics and I love documentaries.
RT: Which, of course, gets us right into Lovelace.
AS: Right. Yeah. I love studying people. Real stuff, real life stuff. I don’t like action movies because it doesn’t feel realistic. It’s really sad for me when I’m in a movie that feels unrealistic, but sometimes I do certain things for certain reasons but for the most part I’m attracted to movies that are real, and performances that are real, and it’s like… You just feel like you shouldn’t be watching it because you feel like you’re invading someone’s privacy, you know what I mean? That’s what I love. That’s why Animal Kingdom is so f***ing good. And Martha Marcy May Marlene. Like, I just love these movies because you don’t feel like you’re watching a movie. F***ing relationships, you know?
RT: Are you more attracted to movies with roles that allow for that kind of intimacy you’re talking about?
AS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I love improv because of that. You watch two people kind of exploring some circumstances and a dynamic, and you don’t know where it’s gonna go, but there’s confines, there’s a structure there, but… I like watching something really take place, really develop. And I like being a part of that, too. One of the greatest moments of my career was on the beach with Peter Sarsgaard, shooting this movie, where we were allowed to improvise a little bit. Honestly three minutes of the film, like, rolling. We had two cameras on us, so we didn’t have to redo it. They didn’t use most of it but, man, it was so intense, because I was playing somebody else, but it was like, something was really happening, something was really being created out of the circumstances.
RT: Is it hard to go to an intense place for a role like Linda Lovelace?
AS: Yeah. Sometimes I’m just not in the headspace to be able to get deep enough, you know, the day-to-day. But sometimes I am. And then when you are, it’s harder, it’s really hard to f***ing pull yourself out of it, so… [sighs] That’s the scary part of this, because I did kind of, for the first time in my life, lose myself a little bit. It’s hard to reach back out.
RT: So what’s next for you?
AS: Oh what’s next? I’m gonna work with Noah Baumbach in September and October. And Naomi Watts, and Ben Stiller. I just finished a movie with Seth MacFarlane, which could push Wet Hot American Summer out of my fifth favorite movies.
RT: That’s the western he’s been working on?
AS: Yeah. I have a feeling, whether I’m in it or not, it’s gonna be one of my favorite movies of all time. Feels good to say that, too, ’cause I mean it!
Lovelace hits theaters in limited release today.