Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pretty Persuasive: Fresh from Edgy Roles in Once and Again and Thirteen, Evan Rachel Wood Tackles Her Darkest Character Yet-Not to Mention Jane Krakowski-In Pretty Persuasion

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Pretty Persuasive: Fresh from Edgy Roles in Once and Again and Thirteen, Evan Rachel Wood Tackles Her Darkest Character Yet-Not to Mention Jane Krakowski-In Pretty Persuasion

Article excerpt

Even for a young actress as well-versed in hard-edged, hot button-pushing cinema as Evan Rachel Wood--her fearless performances as an innocent girl gone terribly to seed in 2003's Thirteen horrified parents everywhere--her work in Pretty Persuasion as Beverly Hills prep school sophomore Kimberly Joyce was, she says, "definitely the hardest thing I've ever done."

Her first challenge arrived on the first day of filming when Wood, who will be 18 in September, had to fake an orgasm on camera. Contrast that with her last day of filming, when she had to give a fake orgasm on camera to Jane Krakowski, who plays an ambitious (and closeted) TV journalist making her career covering a sex scandal involving Kimberly, her two closest friends, and a nebbishy English teacher played by Ron Livingston. Director Mareos Siega had a standing rule that if anyone felt at all uncomfortable doing anything in front of the camera, everyone behind the camera had to do it too. Since Krakowski had to be in her underwear, "we shot that scene staring at a crew in their boxer shorts, pretty much laughing the entire time," Wood recalls with a giggle. "It was a big party."

When Wood first received the script (which she says was then titled The Movie That Will Never Get Made), she was being offered the role of Kimberly's best friend, Brittany, who's much like Wood's previous roles: good-hearted girls who find themselves at the edge of some acutely adult decisions. Wood first caught audiences' attention, in fact, on ABC's woefully short-lived Once and Again as the sweetly sad Jessie Sammler, who was just in the first furtive throes of a lesbian relationship when the series was canceled in 2002.

Kimberly, by contrast, has "bad intentions all over the place," Wood says. "There's no good bone in her body, really. They've all been shattered." With an I.Q. off the charts and a bracing command of racial epithets inherited from her blinkered and bigoted father (James Woods), Kimberly is "too smart for her own good," says Wood. More important, furious with the world for reasons both clear (her older brother was killed in Iraq) and clouded in the murk of adolescent rage, Kimberly decides to use her sexuality as an indiscriminate weapon to achieve the fame and fortune to which she feels righteously entitled. …

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