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Amanda Seyfried on Playing Vulnerable and a Vixen in 'Chloe': Interview

Amanda Seyfried on Playing Vulnerable and a Vixen in 'Chloe': Interview

Amanda Seyfried appears to be this years "It" girl with outstanding roles in "Dear John," "Jennifer's Body" and on "Big Love," but the wide-eyed ingenue flexes her acting muscle playing a prostitute who insinuates herself into the lives of a married couple (Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson), and develops an obsession with the wife in Atom Egoyan's psycho-sexual study "Chloe." Seyfried talks about taking on the serious role of Chloe and on all those lesbian sex scenes she's been in this year.

“The more terrifying a role seems, the more fulfilling it will be in the end — and when you’re doing it.” This is how Amanda Seyfried describes the difference between playing a sweetheart — like she did this year in Dear John — to playing a vixen in this month’s Chloe, in which her title character seduces Julianne Moore.

Chloe, a suspense-thriller written and executive produced by Secretary scribe Erin Cressida Wilson, finds Moore’s Catherine questioning her husband David’s (Liam Neeson) fidelity and seeks out an “alluring” young woman (Seyfried) to find out the truth. The web of sexual desire is tinged with insecurity, steamy love scenes and enough of Seyfried’s well-known big blue eyes and full lips where audiences forget they know the actress as Meryl Streep’s singing daughter in Mamma Mia!

“I was worried that I wasn’t capable of being able to nail the scenes as they were written,” Seyfried confesses to a group of reporters during a roundtable with Wilson at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills just days after presenting at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. “It was a realistic study of a marriage, and it seems like it’s never easy and a woman kind of coming into this place where she feels like she’s lost and she doesn’t know who she is anymore to her husband. I’ve never seen that before in a movie. It’s also a character that wouldn’t come around very often to someone my age.”

Seyfried is clearly enjoying another career high and the “up-and-coming” labels are flying fast and furious, but the 24-year-old actress is wise beyond her years when it comes to selecting roles.

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“When people say that I’m having a moment right now, I think it just means that I had a movie that won at the boxoffice,” she says. “I wish it had more to do with my work, but Chloe is finally something that’s going to raise the bar a little bit. … I hope this is a turning point and people will say, ‘She’s doing something different.’ Isn’t that the trick? You’ve got to move to something that’s going to challenge you even more.”

Same-sex scenes will definitely do that. In the past year, she’s locked lips on screen with Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body and now with Moore in Chloe, where she plays a prostitute.

“No intimate love scene like that will ever be easy — whether it’s with a man or a woman, with nudity or without. It’s never going to be not awkward,” she says. “Julianne treated me like a peer and like a teammate. We were a team throughout this whole movie because we had to discover something: a relationship.”

Before visions of U-hauls dance in your head, Seyfried — and Wilson — are quick to dismiss labeling Chloe and Catherine.

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“I really think Chloe falls in love with Catherine,” Wilson says. “It’s interesting, when writing it I never thought of it as a lesbian issue or a bisexual issue. I just didn’t think of that. I think Chloe fell in love. I think Catherine falls in love with her as well. In some ways, it’s about Chloe but it’s also about (Catherine) falling in love with her younger self and thus falling back in love with herself so she can learn to be attracted and attractive to her husband.”

Adds Seyfried: “I don’t think she knew anything. I think she was just looking for validation, love and to be loved.”

Enough about Chloe’s motivation, right? What does the actress think about mainstream media’s fascination over A-list actresses in same-sex kissing scenes — whether it is Fox and Seyfried in Jennifer’s Body or Seyfried and Moore in Chloe?

“I think they were both very different and very erotic,” Seyfried says. “The scenes (in Jennifer’s Body) are kind of almost unrealistic because we’re both young girls in that movie and I know a lot of young girls have had that need or desire and they feel comfortable with each other growing up.

“One day it will make a difference,” Seyfried adds of the fight for marriage equality. “One day, it will be like there’s no word for it — sexual orientation. People have their own preferences.”

Added Wilson: “It’s a male fantasy, but it’s also a female fantasy and we’re all excited by it and by perhaps what we don’t do enough of. I wish I would do that more, but I don’t, so I’m going to watch that movie and watch them do it!”

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As for how Seyfried thinks her fans will respond to Chloe, the actress whose résumé also includes a stint on Big Love and a few episodes of lesbian favorite Veronica Mars said she hopes the role will up her acting credibility.

“Hopefully they’ll see me as an actress instead of just a sweetheart, which is what they know me from because of Mamma Mia! and Dear John,” she said. “I feel like at least I can kind of create this seriousness factor. Not every 8-year-old is going to be able to see every character that I play. I like the variety, which is what I need and what I’ve been able to obtain with this.”

Wilson thinks Chloe will do just that. The film, a remake of 2003’s Emmanuelle Beart-starrer Nathalie — which Seyfried just ordered on DVD courtesy of Amazon.com but has yet to watch — was written more suggestively, Wilson says.

“(Comparing Nathalie to Chloe) is apples and oranges because the way that (Beart) plays the part is extremely sexually,” Wilson says. “The way it is written is extremely sexual. It was very long, sexual stories. I gave you shorter stories and in some ways ones that were less sexual, more blunt, less descriptive. Then you played it against sex. I really liked that.”

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Seyfried, meanwhile, believes the character she plays in Chloe is a great actress. “I think she’s acting all the time,” she says. “But I think what’s so wonderful in the movie is that what makes the audience love her at one point is you see the vulnerability that shines right through all that. You really see her pretty raw at some points. It makes you empathize with her.”

And there’s certainly no better actress to judge a character’s vulnerability than Seyfried, who has made a successful career out of playing vulnerable — yet different — characters on the big and small screens.

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Lesley Goldberg