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Mandy Moore Has Faith in "Saved!"

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Mandy Moore Saved

Mandy Moore stars as 'Hilary Faye' in "Saved!"

Photo © United Artists
Mandy Moore takes a detour from her previous squeaky clean teen movie roles with “Saved!,” a dark comedy from writer/director Brian Dannelly. Tackling tough subjects such as teen pregnancy, homosexuality, peer pressure, and religion, film producer Michael Stipe describes "Saved!" as “absolutely audacious.”

Mandy Moore stars as Hilary Faye, a character Moore calls a cheerleader for the Lord. Pretty and popular, Hilary leads the Christian youth movement at American Eagle Christian High School. Though the part of Hilary had originally gone to another actress (no one will name who it was that first signed on to the role, but Heather Matarazzo claims she was “not a good actor”), when conflicts arose, the producers turned to Mandy Moore to step in. Busy with her film and singing careers, the filmmakers were surprised when Moore accepted the part. “Mandy is a golden girl at the moment; she’s being offered many, many projects. But we sent her the script, and seven days later she committed to the movie. I have never had an actor come onto a project so easily and joyously as Mandy. It was incredible.”

INTERVIEW WITH MANDY MOORE (‘Hilary Faye’):

Is it true you signed on to this project late in the process?
I was like one of the last people – maybe the last – to sign on to this. They had somebody else set in the role and then she kind of dropped out for something. I was more than happy to step in.

I’d heard about the script from Heather [Matarazzo], actually, for two years. For some reason I always thought “Saved!” was a drama. She never told me what it was about. I don’t know why, but I always just thought “Saved!” sounded like some thriller or something. But then I read the script and I was like, “Oh my God. Where has a movie like this been hiding? This is so something I want to be a part of.”

Was it to subvert the image you’ve cultivated in other movies? Was that part of the reason to do a role like this?
It’s so crazy – ‘an image that you’ve been cultivating.’ I’ve been lucky enough to do stuff that I feel very comfortable with, and it just seems the right thing to do. But with a movie like this, how can you pass up the opportunity? Well, the script is so great but to work with like Macaulay [Culkin] and Jena [Malone] and Patrick [Fugit] and Eva [Amurri], just all these really young, talented people who I have so much respect for. Jena, I’ve wanted to work with forever. I think she’s one of the best young actresses out there. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and I’m glad I didn’t. Not just for the film itself but for the experience. This was my first independent film experience. It was great. It was like being in high school or college, that whole sort of thing.

Your character reaches a point where she just wants to rebel. Have you ever reached that point where you just want to do something crazy?
No, I haven’t. I almost wish like I had a little bit more of that in me. Not to be cheesy or anything, my life is good and I’m very happy with it, but I lead kind of a boring life outside of doing all of this, honestly. I was just quiet, shy Mandy.

Why do you feel like you need to take chances? Some of your contemporaries are sticking with safe projects and this movie could easily be perceived as controversial.
Oh yeah. I don’t think the film is controversial and I feel like I’ve done some safe projects in the past. It’s really just about scratching that itch for me. I’m just itching to do something a little bit different, just to challenge myself. I know everybody says that but you do kind of reach that point where you’re like, “Alright.” Like for me, I’ve done enough movies where I’m the girl who gets the guy at the end. I’m chasing the guy the whole time and then we finally end up together. That’s fine and dandy, but I kind of feel like I’m done with that. I’m getting older and not that I want to do anything crazy or risqué or anything, I just want to challenge myself a little bit more in different ways. And I don’t even know what that is right now but when those certain projects come to you and you read that script, you’re like, “That’s it.” And I just finished this crazy, weird, musical, comedy, drama-thing that John Turturro wrote and directed in New York, and it’s just the weirdest movie. All of us involved were like, “We don’t really know what this is and how it’s going to turn out.” But that was the most amazing part of it. It can either be spectacular or people will see it and go, “What the hell is that?”

What do you play in Turturro’s movie?
I play the daughter of James Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon. But it was just like this crazy movie. It’s an amazing cast.

PAGE 2: Mandy Moore on Religious Themes and Love Interests

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Interviews with Jena Malone, Patrick Fugit/Heather Matarazzo, and Macaulay Culkin
"Saved!" Photos, Trailer and Credits

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