Monday, February 1, 2010


A Smile Like Mona Lisa's?

Amanda Seyfried last Friday in San Francisco: "I'm so bad at posing".
Omar P.L. Moore/

By Omar P.L. Moore/
Monday, February 1, 2010


manda Seyfried (pronounced "Sigh-frid") admits it: she's insecure.  And it's that mix of insecurity and talent that has helped to get her to where she is.  We often picture celebrities as confident, self-contained beings -- although many of us clearly know better.

That said, Miss Seyfried, 24, has a career some may envy: she's on television (HBO's "Big Love").  She dabbles in music (contributing songs to some of her movies).  After last year's "Jennifer's Body" she has three new movies on the way -- the soon-to-be released "Chloe" (in the title role as the woman hired to monitor Julianne Moore's onscreen husband Liam Neeson).  And there's "Letters To Juliet" (in May) and "Dear John", which opens on Friday in the U.S. and Canada.

The actress said she didn't read Nicholas (The Notebook) Sparks' book of the same name when preparing to act in "Dear John", which is directed by Lasse Hallström ("The Cider House Rules").  A love story at heart, the film is about the relationship between Savannah (Miss Seyfried) and John (Channing Tatum), who has to make a choice between going off to fight in a war after September 2001 and staying by the side of the woman he loves.

"I knew the book was a little bit different from the script, especially my character," Miss Seyfried said to four journalists assembled here while awaiting a jolt of joe to get her morning moving.  "She's really strong-headed, but in so many more ways in the book that I think that the way she was portrayed in the script was more relatable for me and for hopefully everybody.  We need to really like (Savannah), otherwise the love story is not going to play well for you."

Laughing nervously at her own comment, Miss Seyfried then declared with comic timing: "I still haven't read the book.  I don't think I need to at this point."

Miss Seyfried, who has her own Twitter page and, to her chagrin, many imitators (at last count 14), also has a long-distance relationship with the British actor Dominic Cooper, whom she met on the set of the film "Mamma Mia!"  Mr. Cooper can currently be seen in the film "An Education".  The two have been dating since 2008.

The Pennsylvania-born actress talked about family and how Charleston, South Carolina, where "Dear John" was shot, impacted her.  "I can get really emotional talking about my family because I just love them so much and I feel like my life is really full.  And when I got to Charleston I realized that I'm actually living in the wrong place -- in L.A. -- I realized . . . the capacity I have to be inspired (in Charleston) is just like, is huge.  And I just realized that living in Charleston, it was just a real gift for me, and for everyone else."

Having levity helps a performance in a serious film, according to Miss Seyfried, who opined that "when you're doing a serious movie, I think the more you play around when the camera's not rolling, the better you are at accessing the serious, emotional pieces of you."

Of Mr. Tatum, she said: "I realize that Channing is probably the ultimate co-star for anybody because he's real.  And he happens to be very successful and gorgeous and all that stuff and a lot of that is who he really is."

The actress, who got her big screen start in the smash hit 2005 film "Mean Girls" says she wants to do a comedy and a period film.  She acknowledged her own envy at Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow for starring in Mr. Hallström's next film "The Danish Girl", coveting the roles the two Oscar-winning actors will play.

"Chan was going to play a woman.  And I was going to play the other woman", Miss Seyfried joked.

With all the films and TV work and being on the just-released cover of the March 2010 Vanity Fair magazine, how does a 24-year-old film star maintain perspective? 

Miss Seyfried credits her family's love and support, time off between projects and the sacrifices she's made to attain the successful career she has.

"I'm also really insecure and that makes it easy not to take anything too seriously," she chuckled as her coffee finally arrived.  "Because if you do then you just kill yourself.  Perspective is just easy."

Miss Seyfried quickly reconsiders.

"Maybe for younger people it's difficult when your ass is being kissed all the time, but your ass is being kissed for reasons that don't mean anything.  It's easy for me.  I have really good people in my life.  I have a good dog."  (Finn is four months old, an Aussie Shepherd, "and I miss him like crazy", Miss Seyfried admits.)

"I'm actually proud of this movie," the actress declares.  Miss Seyfried was happy, if not surprised, that Mr. Hallström was so relaxed and playful during the filming of "Dear John".

"He'll be like on the Internet looking up stuff, and the assistant director will say, 'come on guys, we're ready to roll.'  And Lasse (pronounced Lah-suh) and Chan and I would be looking up stuff and laughing.  Lasse's a kid.  I don't know if it's because he's Swedish, or just like, open mind, heart.  Anybody that can connect to that youth in themselves is like, so attractive."   

As Amanda Seyfried leaves for another round of interviews, she says with a smile:  "Have fun with Channing.  Ask him about his penis."

"Dear John", also starring Richard Jenkins, opens on Friday across North America.
The film is released by Sony Pictures' Screen Gems division.