Evan Rachel Wood played a rebellious teen in Thirteen, a Beatles-singing hippie in Across the Universe and Mickey Rourke's daughter in The Wrestler. This week, she tackles a Woody Allen comedy. In Whatever Works, Wood is Melodie St. Ann Celestine, an innocent Southern belle who falls for an old Woody-like crank, played by Larry David. NEWSWEEK asked the 21-year-old actress to tell us seven things we don't know about her. Excerpts:
1. Woody Allen personally offered her the part. "He wrote me a letter, saying he thought I would be good for the role and that he was going to send me the script. He was very funny. He said if I didn't like it, we would find something else to do together, and of course I thought, 'Are you crazy?! Of course I'm going to like it.' It was an honor. It was intimidating at first. Because I didn't audition and I'd never met him, so I didn't want to let him down. He's very sweet, very warm—not as neurotic as some people might think." (Story continued below...)
2. Next, she'll vamp it up—as a vampire in HBO series True Blood. "I actually put in a phone call to [series creator] Alan Ball and said, 'I love the show, I'm obsessed with it, seen every episode; if there's ever a part, keep me in mind.' It looks like I'm going to be in the last two episodes as the Vampire Queen of Louisiana. I've been watching The Lost Boys and my favorite vampire movies. It's a lot harder than I imagined. I'm working pretty hard on the script. But I don't think I'll really be able to find the character until I'm in wardrobe and I'm in fangs."
3. And of course she'll be in a steamy sex scene. "But it's with a girl," she says. "That's all I'm going to say." Wait!? Evan Rachel Wood playing a lesbian vampire? "I don't think vampires are really gay or straight. I think she just prefers women."
4. In real life, she's been bitten by a former costar. Wood is dating Shane West, who played her brother on the TV drama Once and Again. "We've been friends for a really long time," she says. "We fell out of touch for a few years, and it just kind of happened. It clicked." Is it weird to date someone who used to be related to her on TV? "No," she says. "Acting is acting. It was never an issue, really."
5. Wood writes her own songs, but she probably won't release a CD. "I just started composing my own songs and singing," she says. "I might just make a MySpace or a Web site or just make my music available if people want to hear it. Because I kind of like it being more low-key, and if somebody finds it, that's great. It's a very 'old lounge singer' Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Patti Page kind of vibe. They're my favorites."
6. Those pipes will come in handy next year when she stars in the Julie Taymor Broadway production of Spider-Man. "It's been my dream for as long as I can remember to do Broadway. I sang on Once and Again,and I sang in Across the Universe. I grew up in musical theater. You've never seen a Spider-Man like this. It's going to be like a rock-and-roll circus show, and U2 is going to be doing the music."
7. She won't be getting stage fright this time around; she worked out all her jitters recently in a charity production of Romeo and Juliet at her father's theater in Raleigh, N.C. "I hadn't been on stage for about 13 years," Wood says. "I was extremely nervous that first night. I was shaking. I couldn't even get an earring in my ear."