Sunday, March 27, 2011

My story from the Sucker Punch junket...

Be prepared for a sucker punch
By Raymond Lo L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated March 28, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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A scene from Sucker Punch, a slang which means ‘a sudden surprise punch’
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LOS ANGELES, Calif. — When you see a movie that employs this tagline: “Close your eyes. Open your mind. You will be unprepared,” you better be prepared for one of the most visually appealing and visionary epic fantasy tale to ever grace the movie screens this year.

The Philippines was among the first to catch a glimpse of Warner Bros.’ Sucker Punch, the stunning new film from Zack Snyder, the celebrated box-office director of such testosterone-heavy films as 300 and Watchmen.

To say that Sucker Punch is one of the most anticipated movies of the year is an understatement. The film has been generating a huge buzz even before a clip showing those explosive battle sequences and quick cuts of dragons and Samurais was screened at the Comic Con last year.

But what really fuelled fan interest in the movie is the mystery behind the five girls, namely: Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, Blondie and Baby Doll, who are shown in the teasers and movie posters wearing scanty outfits in the middle of what looked like war zones.

This writer has seen the movie but be assured, I will not spoil the fun for you.

“I have written this idea a long time ago about this girl being forced to dance and she won’t dance so in her mind she goes into another place, so she has this fantasy that she’s having an adventure and it just made sense that it was a girl doing it,” director Zack explained to this writer during the junket for the movie last Sunday — and that is all he can reveal although he casually hinted that “in the art film version of the movie they are 14 but in the actual version of the movie, they are 20.”

Sucker Punch tells the story of five girls locked inside a mental institution where they are forced to perform sexual favors to corrupt and evil men. To exact revenge and gain freedom, they engage in fantastical warfare against their enemies using all the weapons they can imagine.

These girls display a combined extraordinary strength and beauty and selecting the actors that will be perfect for the parts was one of the biggest challenges of the production. Luckily, Abbie Cornish, the highly-acclaimed Australian actress, immediately agreed to take the part of Sweet Pea, the oldest and de facto leader of the girls.

“We felt that if we could get Abbie, who’s a very serious actor, interested then it will set the tone for the rest of the cast,” said Debbie Snyder, one of the producers of the movie.

Hollywood A-Lister Amanda Seyfried was supposed to play Baby Doll but was replaced by another Australian, Emily Browning, after the actress was forced to back out to fulfill contractual obligations to HBO. Emily was supposed to play Rocket, Sweet Pea’s younger sister, which eventually went to former child actress Jena Malone.

“I read for both Rocket and Amber but it was interesting because I was always drawn to Baby Doll,” revealed Emily who also let us in on her thoughts on Baby Doll’s dancing prowess. “I can’t personally imagine a dance that is physically, humanly possible that could put people into a trance to allow these things to be happening behind their backs,” she said. “I suppose the dance is, kind of, the fight.”

Asian-Americans Jamie Chung and Vanessa Hudgens, who portray Amber and Blondie, respectively, complete the cast.

At the same junket, all of the actresses expressed their joy at having had the opportunity to work together for more than six months, forging friendships while enduring bruises and those unavoidable cuts and minor sprains brought about by the tremendous physical demands of their roles.

But, for Abbie, those strenuous fight scenes and aerial stunts are nothing she can’t readily handle. “Physical activity has always been a big part of my life. Growing up in the country with my brothers, riding horses, going to the river.” She also shared that her mom was the Australian national Karate full-contact champion and she used to watch her and train with her when she was nine. “My brother taught me how to shoot bow and arrow, use a gun, so all of these things were already there… so when this film came along, I could barely keep my excitement contained” she added.

Vanessa has no complaints either. “It amazed me. Each day, I would wake up and feel a new muscle that I didn’t even know existed,” she remarked. “To be able to mentally take on this movie, we found a new strength in ourselves that we didn’t know that we had.”

“There were no limits,” added Jamie who trained with Navy Seals and helicopter fighter pilots.

Jena mostly remembered training for Capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial arts, to the delight of the Brazilian journalist in our group.

The five actresses also insisted that the sexy outfits they wear in the movie are essential to the story and maintained that they are never meant to arouse any prurient interest in men.

Sucker Punch is a slang meaning a sudden surprise punch, especially from behind or some place the poor recipient of the punch doesn’t expect. In the movie, the unexpected punch or blow immediately comes within the first 20 minutes of the story.

But beyond the scanty outfits and kicking, boxing, gun fighting and dragon slaying, the movie is essentially a quest for freedom and justice for the five girls — and that message wasn’t lost to the actresses.

“It’s really empowering to see strong, tough women,” mused Emily. “It’s sort of asking people to not base their ideas about women on the looks and what sort of physical stereotypes they fit into. It’s showing also that females can be unbelievably tough and sexy at the same time, if that’s what they choose to be.”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meet Lindsay, just Lindsay...

Lindsay Lohan Is Dropping the 'Lohan'
posted by Erin Carlson - Fri Mar 25 2011, 12:38 PM PDT

When you hear the name "Lindsay," do you immediately think of the tabloid target and sometime-actress, or your co-worker/sister/friend who happens to have the same name?

"Lindsay" is a common moniker among young American women, and we know at least 20 Lindsays dating back from kindergarten; even so, Lindsay Lohan -- inarguably the most famous of them all -- is banking on being the one and only.

"Lindsay is dropping the Lohan and just going by Lindsay. Plus, me and (younger daughter) Ali will be officially changing our last names back to my maiden name, Sullivan," a dead serious Dina Lohan tells Popeater.

Apparently, the court-going star had been on the fence about dropping "Lohan" until the E-trade Super Bowl commercial in which a baby was referred to as "that milkaholic Lindsay."

Talk about name recognition. That being said, "Lindsay" does not have the same unique power as "Oprah," "Madonna," "Cher" or "Beyonce." Then again, only a handful of people around the world can say, "Hi, my name is Beyonce."

"Now you can add Lindsay to that list," says a Lohan pal. "And it's a way for them all to start over. No one in the family wants anything to do with Lindsay's father (Michael Lohan) anymore and that includes sharing a last name."

We can't argue with that. As you might recall, Papa Lohan -- no stranger to brushes with the law -- was arrested for striking ex-girlfriend Kate Major.

Meanwhile, Lohan herself might want some distance from her own infamous problems: the former "Mean Girls" phenom, now virtually unhirable in Hollywood, will soon stand trial for felony grand theft after rejecting a plea deal that involved jail time.

If Lohan -- excuse us, Lindsay -- removes her notorious last name, she'll erase some family heritage dating back to County Cork in Ireland.

Still, it will haunt her forever: The Internet has a long memory, and "Lohan" headlines stretch back some seven years. We feel worse for the all the world's Lindsays whose identities will practically be stolen by an alleged celebrity jewelry thief.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's revelations on James Dean, Monty Clift, and more...

Elizabeth Taylor Interview About Her AIDS Advocacy
by Kevin Sessums
March 23, 2011 | 10:40pm

Fourteen years after Kevin Sessums spoke to Elizabeth Taylor about her AIDS activism, he offers never-before-seen outtakes from the fun, feisty interview—from her secret about James Dean to why she never wrote a memoir. Plus, Valentino, Diane von Furstenberg, and writers and AIDS activists remember the late Hollywood queen's advocacy. Plus, full coverage of Elizabeth Taylor.

"I love trusting. I get hurt very easily. I am tough when I have to be. I can will myself to back away from an oncoming train. I can spin on a dime. I have led a very strange life." Not just one entangled in celluloid? "Honey, you can see through celluloid and it is brittle. Neither of those things would for a moment describe me."

Thus spoke Elizabeth Taylor when I was visiting her at her home in Bel Air in 1997 for a cover story about her for POZ magazine. She had recently been in the hospital for the removal of a brain tumor, and her hair that afternoon was whiter than Harlow's in a black-and-white still and was clipped just as close to her head as Jackie Cooper's when he too was a kid star like her. I have been listening to the tapes of our Bel Air conversation all day today and the sound of Elizabeth's raucous laughter has filled my apartment. We had planned to talk only about her AIDS activism, but she happily veered off into Hollywood lore and English politics and how she'd like to break the legs of cosmetic executives who test their products on caged and abused beagles. Taylor was feisty. And she was fun. There was, indeed, an animal theme throughout our talk. She ribbed herself for having a pet chicken she named Strawberry back on her family's farm in Kent, England, where she spent her early years. She lovingly recalled riding her horses there. And she called her counselor at the Betty Ford Clinic "a real cow."

When I told her about then Conservative Party leader William Hague back in her homeland stating his support for gay marriage, she was elated. "My God! That's a step forward," she told me. "But it doesn't surprise me, really. When the English make a move, it's usually a good one—though it does take them a while. Everybody thinks everybody is gay who comes from England anyway," she said, that laugh of hers having become a kind of punctuation in our conversation, my cue to carry on.

"Even including you?" I ventured, taking her premise to an absurd conclusion and making her laugh even more. "Especially with that haircut you've got now, Elizabeth. It could be described as dykey."

"It's my butch-do," she labeled it. "My new lesbian look."

Was part of her AIDS activism, I wondered, her attempting to get away from being "Elizabeth Taylor," yet another of her characters, but one she had to play all her life?

"God!" she screeched, then lowered her voice to a level both sensual and sonorous. "I would find being 'Elizabeth Taylor' really boring."

"Is that your Tallulah Bankhead imitation?" I asked

"Believe me, Kevin, Tallulah Bankhead would have found being 'Elizabeth Taylor' really, really boring as well."

Part of being "Elizabeth Taylor" that was not boring was all the legendary people with whom the real Elizabeth Taylor worked. What did she think of Tennessee Williams? "I adored Tennessee," she told me. "He was one of my best friends. He was hopelessly naive, however. He had no business sense. I stepped in and tried to act as his agent when I found out what he was not getting. He thought he had himself a good deal. He was getting 5 percent of the profits of the films of his plays. So I said, 'Tennessee, there is no such thing in the movie business as a profit, much less 5 percent of it. It's about the gross. Have you ever made any money off your films?' He said, no, he had not. 'Tennessee!' I screamed at him. 'That's why!' So I took him in hand. I loved him dearly."

And James Dean? "I loved Jimmy. I'm going to tell you something, but it's off the record until I die. OK? When Jimmy was 11 and his mother passed away, he began to be molested by his minister. I think that haunted him the rest of his life. In fact, I know it did. We talked about it a lot. During Giant we'd stay up nights and talk and talk, and that was one of the things he confessed to me."

Another tortured soul with whom she worked was Montgomery Clift. There was a quality to her AIDS activism that was not only warrior-like but also maternal, and I confessed to her myself that afternoon that it was as if she were turning to all of us who were HIV positive and saying, as she did to Clift, in A Place in the Sun, in the cinema's most famous closeup, "Tell Mama..."

She touched my hand and stopped me. She leaned forward. "Tell Mama all..." she finished the line for me with the most fervent of whispers.

And yet she never told all herself in a memoir. "I would have to give up today," she told me back then. "And dive into yesterday. You can't predict tomorrow. And my life has had so many startling tomorrows that I don't think they've stopped."

Today they did.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth.

Here are some others who told me what her work in the AIDS movement has meant to them:

Valentino, Legendary fashion designer, philanthropist, and Taylor's close friend:

"The media will remember her for her marriages, her jewels, her movies. How unjust.

"I like to remember her not only for being amazingly beautiful and such a great actress but for the work she has done for people who suffer.

"I remember when she sold all her jewels in early '80s to build 15 hospitals in Africa... and how much money she raised for AmFAR that helped fund the research that is one of the main reasons today people infected with HIV can live normally.

"In 1991 we created together a charity for children with AIDS in Italy, and I personally saw her sitting on the floor next to terminally sick people, holding their hands and comforting them.

"She used to call me Rudy because she thought I looked like that other Valentino.

"I first met her when she was filming Cleopatra in Italy. She had been invited to the Italian premiere of Spartacus and had heard that there was a new designer that perhaps she should meet. So I was summoned to meet her. You can imagine how nervous I was to meet Mrs. Burton. Well, she was still Mrs. Fisher then. She was about to be Mrs. Burton. I could not believe she became one of my closest friends. I remember when I got the phone call from her one day and my assistant said it was Elizabeth calling. That was the first time I called her by her first name. Goodbye, Elizabeth. Your Rudy."

Peter Staley, Co-founder of ACT UP:

"There's a lot of Hollywood cause-puffery these days, but what I loved about Taylor is that she meant it, deep in her bones. That was obvious from her timing—she became an AIDS activist when everyone else was running for the hills.

"And she was an activist. The first time I met her she raved about the condom we put over Jesse Helms' house and said, 'The next time you do something like that again, invite me along.' I couldn't help but laugh, imagining her on top of a roof unfurling a gigantic condom."

Andrew Sullivan, Writer,

"I met her once and we talked about AIDS and HIV. She knew so little about both I was somewhat dumbstruck. She seemed to believe that some people could be carriers of the virus without being infected themselves. It was useless arguing with her—and who would want to? But her ignorance was matched by her benevolence."

Diane von Furstenberg, Designer and philanthropist:

"She is a true legend... for her beauty, talent, compassion and courage."

Sean Strub, AIDS activist and founder of POZ magazine:

"At a time when the disgust, neglect, and derision of the broader society and culture was making people with AIDS feel dirty and ashamed, Elizabeth Taylor blessed us with her glamour. She made us feel like there was love and understanding just over the horizon, beyond the thick of ignorance and fear through which we had to fight our daily lives. Her activism was as authentic as it gets and was absent any of the self-congratulatory egotism or self-declared risks or concerns about how such activism might impact one's career that so often accompany celebrity support. She celebrated the movement's triumphs and mourned our losses every bit as much as the frontline ACT UP warrior. The power of her example is immeasurable. Like Lady Diana, Elizabeth Taylor was a true guardian angel for people with HIV."

Kevin Frost, Executive director of AmFAR:

"Though I've thought about it often, I'm unable to fully articulate Elizabeth Taylor's importance in the fight against AIDS. There simply was nobody like her. She was courageous when most people were afraid, and compassionate when too many didn't care. She spoke out when people with AIDS were voiceless and leaves a legacy that has improved and extended the lives of millions and will enrich countless more for generations to come."

Larry Kramer, AIDS activist, founder of GMHC and ACT UP, and author of the upcoming Broadway revival of The Normal Heart:

"This morning I saw her photo on and I started to cry. There are not so many people who can make me cry anymore. She was the first, the best, and any other celebrity who fought for us came after her. And she never stopped. Great activists know that you must never ever stop fighting, and she never did. She always showed up when others failed to. No matter how she felt or thought she looked, she got herself there. I shook her hands maybe half a dozen times at AmFAR events. It was like touching royalty. Well, she was that."

Kevin Sessums is the author of the New York Times bestseller Mississippi Sissy, a memoir of his childhood. He was executive editor of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and Allure. He is a contributing editor of Parade. His new memoir, I Left It on Mountain will be published by St. Martins Press.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

My interview with Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman: It's lonely being in fantasy
By Raymond De Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated March 18, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (3) View comments

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Oldman is one of the stars of Red Riding Hood: He has been doing fantasy films for 11 years after playing memorable characters like Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK or the menacing title role in Dracula.| Zoom
LOS ANGELES -   “Ugh! Ask me something else,” award-winning actor Gary Oldman reacted in mock displeasure when the Italian journalist asked him to tell us something about Father Solomon, his character in the Warner Bros.’ romantic thriller Red Riding Hood, during our roundtable interview recently.

“You saw it, so you already know,” he said, still avoiding the question. It was true; we already saw the movie the night before as is customary during every junket where all journalists are herded to a chosen cinema for a private screening of the movie before the interviews take place the day after. If you fail to watch it, your interviews will be canceled. That’s how simple it is.

In Red Riding Hood, which is still showing in the Philippines nationwide, Gary portrays a medieval priest on the hunt for werewolves after he had a close brush with one earlier in his life. He is summoned to the small village of Daggerhorn to capture and kill the wolf that has been terrorizing the town for several decades.

“I think he’s a good guy. He’s not nice but he’s definitely a good guy. I think what is interesting is he becomes sort of obsessed with the capture of this thing that he loses the plot a little and…” he continued and paused before asking the Italian journalist, “what else do you want to know?”

“Nothing,” replied the journalist and everyone in the room, including Gary’s two publicists, broke into laughter. “I just wanted to use your words,” the journalist added.

Oldman finally relented and gave the journalist her quote. He described his role as Dracula-lite “I thought it had that kind of vibe to it  ‘Kill the monster, kill the monster!’  and I thought that would be quite sort of fun.”

Our interview with the British actor was the last for the day. We had the director Catherine Hardwicke and leads Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons before him and the sudden levity in the room was a welcome treat.

Oldman has been around for a while. He began his career on the London stage and made his feature film debut in the cult classic Sid & Nancy in 1985. He has garnered numerous awards from various critic groups from both sides of the Atlantic and was once considered to be one of the best actors of his generation. But despite all the acclaim, he has never won nor ever been nominated for an Oscar.

“I don’t think about it much,” he quietly remarked.

After his very productive decade in the ‘90s, when he portrayed a series of memorable characters like Lee Harvey Oswald in the controversial Oliver Stone movie JFK or the menacing title character in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, Oldman has spent most of the past decade essaying roles in two successful film series, Batman and Harry Potter, a genre that is a far cry from what he was accustomed to at the beginning of his career.

“I spent 11 years in fantasy and it’s very lonely,” he revealed. “I’ve been in my fair share that can be considered in that genre… with Harry Potter and Batman but with a pedigree.”

He wanted to qualify his association with two of the most successful film franchises in Hollywood “because if you look at the Harry Potter movies, they are all well-made and if you look at Christopher Nolan, who is on a different league of his own  I think he’s the only person probably who has taken a comic to a film and made it a totally different, different thing unto itself.”

It wasn’t entirely by choice that he spent the past decade dabbling in more commercial films.

“You got to put kids through college, you got to work,” he said. “You got to work and you got to make money.” He added that as an actor, choice of parts isn’t always that available to him.

And Hollywood has also changed. In his nearly three decades in the business, he couldn’t help but notice how the industry has evolved.

“Culturally, it has changed,” he noted. “I look at what they are making or what they want to make and what’s coming out  it’s the sequel to the sequel to the prequel of this and the comic book of that.”

“And it’s all in 3D!” he remarked.

Does he think 3D has a place in movies?

“No,” he replied. “I think it’s ridiculous. It was ridiculous to begin with. It was a gimmick. It was a cheap, quick gimmick to get people away from the television in the ‘50s  no place at all. It gives me a headache. I don’t even wanna sit there. I saw my own movie in 3D, I walked out of it.

“It’s vaudeville. It’s a ‘PG-13-and-young-girls-wanna-see-this-movie’ and that’s okay… but you know the answer to this: You just look at the movie and you just despair; you turn on the television and you despair. Then you get to see a movie like Biutiful (the Spanish-Mexican film starring Oscar-winner Javier Bardem which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year) and that reminds why you want to be in movies.”

And then he reads the trade magazines and sees Kim Kardashian and her family. (Kim Kardashian, along with her mother and two sisters, is famous for the hit reality show produced by Ryan Seacrest but is more known for the sex video she made with singer Ray J. in 2007.)

If ever he found himself on an island, he knew what book to bring. “Kim Kardashian’s book of achievements,” he joked.

“I know nothing about this woman, I don’t watch the show and I read somewhere that these people made $65M and I said to a friend of mine, ‘Who are these people that made a lot of money?’ She’s a pretty girl but I said, ‘What did they do?’”

Perhaps, that question will never merit a good, reasonable answer but about the state of Hollywood moviemaking, Oldman has one quick easy answer: “Make good stories  good, original stories.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Director Steven Soderbergh to retire...

news lifted from the web - no credited author...

Steven Soderbergh Planning to Retire From Filmmaking
The Hollywood Reporter

The Oscar-winning filmmaker -- whose credits include Traffic, Erin Brockovich and Ocean's Eleven and its two sequels -- said in an interview with Studio 360's Kurt Anderson that after he shoots his next two films he's planning to retire from filmmaking.

"When you reach the point where you're like if I have to get into a van to do anther scout I'm just going to shoot myself, it's time to let somebody else who's still excited about getting in the van, get in the van," he said. "And so it's just time. For the last three years, I've been turning down everything that comes my way, so you're not going to have Steven Soderbergh to kick around anymore," he quipped.

Anderson played a clip from a previous interview he conducted with Damon, star of Soderbergh's upcoming Haywire, who said the director had told him he was planning to retire to possibly become a painter or photographer.

"It's just a sense of having been there before," Soderbergh said. "The making of any art is problem solving, and as you work at it, you're able to eliminate the versions that aren't any good faster, but at a certain point the salves sort of become the same. And when I started feeling like I've done this shot before, I've dpne a scene that’s about this before, that's when I started thinking seriously about a shift. But also I don't want to leave you know, when you see those athletes hang on one or two seasons too long, it's kind of sad."

Soderbergh said he's got two more movies to shoot -- Liberace, starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, and Man From U.N.C.L.E., starring George Clooney -- and then he's going to call it quits.
"That's a great way to sort of step off," he said.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

My Amanda Seyfried interview...

Amanda grew up on fairytale
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated March 10, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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Amanda Seyfried, star of Red Riding Hood, opening tomorrow nationwide.| Zoom
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Amanda Seyfried may be starring in one of the coolest, hippest adaptation of a classic fairy tale produced by Hollywood superstar Leonardo Di Caprio, Warner Bros. Red Riding Hood, but the wide-eyed 25-year-old star admits to not being a fan of fairy tales at all.

“No. They were scary; they were too dark. I was a fearful child,” she told this writer in her soft voice that has a whispery quality to it during a roundtable interview last week at the Hyatt Hotel in Century City. She had a cassette tape of Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk when she was a child and she used to listen to them before going to sleep but she always ends up having nightmares so she stopped listening to the tapes and she never had her mom read her any fairy tales again.

“I didn’t like it,” she added. “I had a book Stinky Cheese Man and I read that a lot because it was about jokes and it made everything a joke.”

She may not be a fan but she expressed pride to have been cast as Valerie, the heroine in the movie who is caught between two handsome suitors trying to win her heart and a werewolf that is also secretly trying to covet her.

Her leading men in the movie are portrayed by two newcomers who could become the next object of desires by teenage girls all over the world just like how RobertPattinson and Taylor Lautner became overnight heartthrobs after the release of Twilight, which interestingly was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the same filmmaker behind the first Twilight movie.

Shiloh Fernandez (who told this writer he auditioned for the part of Edward in Twilight) plays the orphan-with-a-bad-boy-streak Peter, Valerie’s one true love while Max Irons — who should interest cinephiles because he is the son of Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons — plays the soft-spoken, industrious Henry, Valerie’s betrothed.

Similar to how the world was divided between Team Jacob and Team Edward, the movie will most likely also divide many girls between Team Henry and Team Peter. And if Amanda were to choose between the two guys, she made no secret to whom would she go with.

“I can’t. I don’t know,” she said, hesitant to pick at first. “Henry is so attractive and so undeniably good guy - no, he’s not boring, he’s a sweetheart - but she just doesn’t know him. And her heart nearly skips a beat for Peter and you can’t deny that, you can’t throw that away if you had a chance to have that at any age. I’d say go for it until it stops working.”

Pay attention, girls: When it was the boys’ turn at the roundtable, both Shiloh and Max revealed that they, too, would go with a girl with a little bit of bad in them.

Amanda considers her role in Red Riding Hood her favorite so far, but then she modestly adds, “My favorite role is always the one I just finished.”

That’s good news in a way because she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make this movie had she successfully argued with HBO to skip a season of the hit series Big Love to be the lead star in Zack Snyder’s much-awaited chick fantasy flick Sucker Punch. She had to beg off at the last minute to shoot the series and that created a window for her to do Red Riding Hood.

The beautiful actress would have wanted out of Big Love because she felt “I wasn’t being used in a way that I felt was worth me losing out on Sucker Punch and Zack Snyder and that big movie. The seven-month shoot would have been a big experience for me.”

She later realized that it was all worth it in the end: She was able to preserve her relationship with HBO and she was able to work with Catherine, who told us that Amanda was her only choice to play the lead. “Those big eyes, they’re amazing!” Catherine remarked.

Amanda started her career on daytime television soaps and only made her leap to the big screen in the Lindsay 
Lohan hit Mean Girls in 2004. In the short span of time from her film debut, she has since headlined her own hit movies: Dear John, Letters to Juliet and shared top billing alongside Oscar-winners Meryl Streep and Colin Firth in Mamma Mia! and Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller Chloe.

Her quick ascension to the top of the young Hollywood A-list has given her just enough clout to have lunches and dinners with Hollywood executives and filmmakers all willing to work with her. But that still doesn’t guarantee she gets all the parts she wants. Hollywood remains a fiercely competitive business and committed actors have to really fight over prized roles.

“I sabotaged myself a lot when I was in my teens,” she recalled. “I wouldn’t get roles because I wouldn’t prepare because I was scared - it was so hard. But I prepare now.”

She revealed that she recently auditioned for a choice part in the new Superman movie and didn’t get the part. “Nope, I did not get it!” she exclaimed. “He (the director) doesn’t feel like I am right for it, which is just fine.”

She said it just like that. Her voice never changed, her tone steady. This writer never noticed any tinge of bitterness in the actress when she was telling us how Superman would have been “amazing” for her. “That’s another thing,” she said. “You have to realize that everything happens for a reason. If you don’t get something that you want or you think that you want, there’s a clear-cut reason for it and it goes hand in hand with everything.”

“You don’t get the guy you want; there’s probably a reason for that,” she added with a wink. Amanda’s love life is a public knowledge. She previously dated her Mamma Mia! co-star Dominic Cooper and she’s now rumored to be dating Reese Witherspoon’s ex, Ryan Phillippe.

Asked how she maintains her enviable career, she offered the following advice:

“You should always follow your instincts. If you have a gut feeling about something, you should go for it and, at least, let it be known,” she said. “Admit to that and then think about it. But at the same time have a moment [because] you are so wrapped up in the moment that it is so hard to let your reasoning stand in the way of your heart.”

She was quick to contradict herself later on, saying, “I wish I could say I always follow my instinct, but I don’t because sometimes it is more fun to have what you want now and be damaged later.”

Like every successful movie star, she credits her manager for guiding her career and in providing her the best pieces of advice when it comes to her film choices.

“It’s like two sets of instincts: My instinct and my manager’s instinct. We have the same taste, sometimes I want to do things because I want to have fun like a comedy but then she says, ‘I have a feeling about this.’ It’s usually more about her instinct than mine,” she happily shared.

Red Riding Hood opens tomorrow, March 11.

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