For ”How to Deal” (opens July 18), Mandy Moore has ditched the silky blond tresses and girl-next-door allure that made her MTV’s most wholesome icon. As Halley, an embittered teen who cuts off her hair (and takes off her shirt), Moore, 19, shows she’s not our ”Candy” girl anymore. EW.com talked to the star about her new approach to music (goodbye bubblegum), why love scenes aren’t so sexy, and that world famous boyfriend of hers, tennis star Andy Roddick.
You lose your shirt in a hot and heavy make-out scene. Fun or humiliating?
It’s always awkward doing a love scene, because by that point you’ve become friends with everyone on the crew. They don’t want to watch, and the director doesn’t want to have to give directions like, ”Um, don’t kiss that long, and are you adding tongue?” People don’t realize how choreographed it is.
Your character lops off all of her hair to spite her father. How did you feel about that pixie cut?
I was kind of adamantly against it at the beginning. Stupid as it is, we girls are concerned with the hair and all of that stuff. Clare [Kilner, the director] convinced me. And I loved it. It was freeing for me personally, but as soon as I cut it, I knew it made so much sense for the character. She’s got a little bit of an edge.
Are you sticking with the brunette thing? Britney and Christina seem to be following your lead.
I don’t know about that! But I’ve been a brunette for two years now, and people keep asking about it. This is just what we girls do, though. We always want to change our hair color.
You didn’t contribute any songs to the soundtrack. What gives?
I didn’t have any input into the soundtrack, but I’m very happy with it. It was rockin’! And I love the Flaming Lips.
Why has your new album ”Coverage” (due in September) been under wraps?
We kind of did it unbeknownst to the record company. I found a producer I wanted to work with and we worked out of his garage studio and just did it. I didn’t even think about whether it was going to be a risk or whether the label would like it. It was just, this is what I’m doing, let’s go.
The album is strictly covers of Joan Armatrading, Todd Rundgren, Elton John, and others. Why the karaoke?
At 19, my musical tastes have changed. I’ve been lucky to work with people on most of my films who have introduced me to artists I’ve never listened to before. Elijah Wood gave me Nirvana and Bjork’s Icelandic jazz standards, really cool things. And about three years ago I heard Joan Armatrading and swore, If I ever had a chance, I was going to cover ”Drop the Pilot.” And then came ”Can We Still Be Friends,” and the Waterboys, and Carole King, and suddenly I thought, I have an idea here. I know it’s a left turn for me, but I want people my age to hear this music. Maybe they’ll listen to it and go back to the original artists.
You’re shooting a romantic comedy about the president’s daughter, but so is Katie Holmes….
I guess you have to ignore it, but I’m not going to lie to you – it’s weird. We were here first, what’s going on? But that’s okay. I’m passionate about it and completely behind it.
How’s that boyfriend of yours, tennis player Andy Roddick?
We’re very happy. It’s kind of cool, because we’ve had parallel lives in a lot of ways, but we still have a lot to learn from one another because what we do is so different. I’m lucky, because I’m allowed to have a personal life without people caring too much. No one really pries, and I like it that way.
How did you enjoy getting pranked by Ashton Kutcher for his MTV show ”Punk’d”?
I wasn’t angry, but more like, Wow, somebody really pulled one over on me! I was shocked when the guy lost his trailer. I didn’t know whether to cry or what. But I will say I did think it was fishy that there was no furniture, no electricity, and no plumbing.