Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Teen Star Sees Positive Message in Her New Film

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Teen Star Sees Positive Message in Her New Film

Article excerpt

Mandy Moore recalls standing on her tiptoes to reach the microphone when she first sang the National Anthem at a sports event in Orlando, Fla. As she heard her voice reverberate throughout the outdoor arena, followed by a burst of applause, she knew that's what she wanted to do with her life.

Today, at 17, Mandy has her first starring role in a feature film, "A Walk to Remember," which opens this weekend. She also has recorded two albums, "So Real" and "Mandy Moore," and released the hit singles "Candy" (which went platinum), "In My Pocket," and "Cry" (from her movie).

"My dream as a 6-year-old," she says with a smile, "is becoming a reality."

Mandy made her film debut as the haughty schoolgirl in Disney's "The Princess Diaries." She had one singing number, and she was blond and beautiful.

But she changed her style for her part in "A Walk to Remember," an inspirational coming-of-age story based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks.

"I think of this role, a minister's daughter, as being beautiful, but not in the conventional way," she says. In the film, "my hair is its natural brown, I wear no makeup, and my clothes are oversized. I loved it! I look like I do when I wake up. I was the only one to walk around the set and be myself."

Mandy's mother gave her the novel before she started filming.

"I love how [the minister's daughter] stands up against peer pressure and does what she feels is right for herself," Mandy says. "[The story] conveys such a positive message to people my age, so when I heard it was going to be a movie, I fought tooth and nail to get an audition."

That dream took some time to fulfill. She first met with the director, Adam Shankman, and then she was asked to read with Shane West, already picked to star as the young man needing redemption.

"My test was a scene where we were sitting on a couch together and first realized we might be in love," she says. "I remember how strange it felt to be doing the scene with this 20-something actor I had just met. I had to talk sharply to myself. Snuggling up with a cute boy, how hard can that be? He'd made several movies, so he was understanding. …

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