The Arty Semite

Evan Rachel Wood on Motherhood and Romania

By Dorri Olds

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Evan Rachel Wood stars with Shia LaBeouf in Fredrik Bond’s Tarrantino-esque thriller, “Charlie Countryman,” which opened November 15 in limited release. LaBeouf plays Charlie, whose dead mother appears and sends him to Bucharest. The griefstricken and unglued Charlie goes through a series of bizarre events leading him to Gabi (Wood), a mysterious Romanian he falls instantly in love with. The trouble is, as director Fredrik Bond put it, “Gabi is like playing with plutonium.” It is a dark and twisted, yet funny love story, in the brutal underworld of Bucharest.

As for her personal life, Wood, born to theatrical parents Ira David Wood and Sarah Lynn Moore, has been acting since she was 5 years old. On July 29, Wood and her husband, actor Jamie Bell, had their first child. The Arty Semite caught up with her on Wednesday in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

Dorri Olds: Congratulations on being a mom. What do you like most about motherhood?

Evan Rachel Wood: Everything. It was my dream to be a mom so I’m loving it.

Is it hard getting back into the swing of work after having the baby?

Yeah, these last couple of days I’ve been having separation anxiety. I’m so used to having the baby right here [motions to her chest]. It’s strange. They become a part of you. I was lucky because I’d just done three films before I got pregnant so I was like, “I’m taking a break.”

What’s it like working with Shia LaBeouf?

I had a great time with him. He’s insanely dedicated and willing to go as far as he needs to go for a great performance. I admire him for that.

Did you join Shia when he took LSD to make the movie’s drug scene more believable?

No, luckily my role didn’t call for it. I wasn’t even there that day. I heard about it afterwards. He is a perfectionist so he wasn’t just doing it to have a good time. He wanted the scene to be as real as possible and that’s Shia.

How did you nail that Romanian accent?

I worked for three months with a dialect coach but before that, when I was cast in the film I had to show that I could do it so I’d worked on it for a while. Usually when you have to do a dialect, the coach stays with you throughout the whole movie but we didn’t have the money for that. Thankfully we were in Romania so the accent was constantly in my ear.

Was this your first time in Eastern Europe?

Yes, and I went to Amsterdam after filming to celebrate. I was surprised what a mellow place Amsterdam is.

How did you learn to play cello for the role?

I had a great girl teach me in Romania. It was much harder than I thought it was going to be. I was given a song to learn. When I showed up for the big scene where Gabi is crying because her father just died and she’s playing with the orchestra, I began playing on set but the rest of the band was playing a different song. I had learned the completely wrong music for the scene. It was the last day and we had no time so Fredrik, the director, looked at me apologetically and said, “Can you just look out of the corner of your eye and watch the person next to you and just mimic what they’re doing?” I was like, “Are you serious?” It was the most important scene. But I said, “Okay,” and somehow it worked. I don’t know how.

How did you research the strip club scene?

[Laughs] Lots of stripping. No, kidding. We spent a lot of time in Bucharest and immersed ourselves in the culture. Our Romanian crew and their work ethic was amazing.

What attracted you to the script?

When I read the description of the character it said, “She’s got the aim of Annie Oakley and Ziggy Stardust hair.” That’s all I had to hear to say, “I’m in.”

Your husband is in a movie with Shia also, right?

Yeah, right after we finished “Charlie Countryman” they began working together on Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomanic.”

What are your upcoming projects?

Next year I’m doing “Into the Forest” with Ellen Page. It’s based on a wonderful book which Ellen found and she’s producing the project. We’ve just started collaborating on that and gearing up. I’m really excited.

Watch the trailer for Charlie Countryman’:


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