Evan Rachel Wood plays a Romanian cellist with a gangster husband who falls for Shia LaBeouf’s American slacker/stalker in Charlie Countryman. He’s just lost his mother after a long illness, and she’s just lost her dad after he died on the plane back from America, where he just happened to be sitting next to LaBeouf’s Charlie. The actress thought of their ensuing romance in the same vein as Bonnie and Clyde and True Romance, which means a lot of people get beat up and shot at on the road to them being together. Wood chatted with Vulture about romantic stalking, risqué Disney messages, and giving birth to her son this summer.
You just had A Case of You come out, and now this film, and what both seem to have in common is the idea of romantic stalking.
Yeah! I don’t know why that happened. Romantic stalking! [Laughs.] I think there’s the innocent stalking that happens on Facebook and social media, but if someone has a restraining order against you, it’s probably not a good idea. In Charlie Countryman, I think he’s just on a mission.
He breaks into her house, sleeps outside her place of work.
But she’s not there. It’s a little different.
Well, can you help determine whether these instances from some films are romantic, or not? Creepy or cute?
[Laughs.] Okay! Yeah. I hope I know them.
We’ll start with the one starring your co-star, Shia LaBeouf, Disturbia. Spying on the girl across the way.
[Laughs.] Doesn’t he try to save her? Doesn’t he save someone because of the … I mean, agh! Was he watching her undress? Well … as long as you’re not being inappropriate, it’s kind of cute. As long as you’re not taking it a step further. I guess that’s okay. Stop when she starts to undress. That’s a whole other level you shouldn’t be doing.
American Beauty. Videotaping the girl across the way.
She seems kind of into it, right? She sees him watching her and doesn’t stop. It’s kind of like a game between the two of them. It seems like consensual stalking. I think that’s okay.
Say Anything. Leaving tons of messages. Sleeping on her lawn. Holding the boombox.
Oh, come on! That’s romantic. You can’t hate on that!
I never saw that.
Christian Slater sneaks into Marisa Tomei’s room and decorates a Christmas tree while she sleeps.
Ooooh! I don’t know. He kind of sounds a little unbalanced. [Laughs.] That’s ballsy, to go into someone’s house and start decorating it? Just send her flowers or something! You don’t have to go that far. It’s like going into somebody’s house and cleaning. It’s kinda nice, but kinda creepy.
Twilight. Watching her sleep.
[Whispers.] I never saw Twilight. Is that bad? Wait, he sneaks into her room and watches her sleep? That’s a little weird! That’s a little weird, even if you’re a vampire.
I guess the conceit is, he doesn’t need to sleep, so he’s not going to be sleeping at night …
Yeah, but she is. And there’s like a boundary there.
If you never saw Twilight, did you see Harry Potter?
I did. I actually managed to see the majority of them in the theater. And honestly, I thought it was brilliant casting to have Rupert Grint in this. He’s the only person who should be playing that role, in my opinion. And I think he did a great job. He was so easy to work with and embraced the whole thing and was laughing. I thought this was a great direction for him and people will see a whole new side to him.
Ron Weasley with an erection.
Wasn’t there, like, a hidden thing in one of the movies? Wasn’t there something with him whispering about an erection, I thought? Ask around. I’m telling you, there’s something. It’s like the Disney movies when they have something subliminal. [Laughs.] There’s a hidden Harry Potter thing, I’m telling you! [Laughs.]
So are you happy about Mulan being revealed as bisexual on Once Upon a Time? Did you see that?
No! I love Mulan! She’s one of my favorites!
She had this unrequited love with a prince, and now she has an unrequited love for his princess.
Yeah! We all saw that coming. [Laughs.] No surprise, come on! I think it’s great. It’s just how it was? Just who she is? I think that’s great. That’s so great. And it sounds like they handled it in the right way, where it’s not made into too much of a big deal. It’s just kind of the facts? I love that. I understand when people are afraid, “How are the kids going to take it?” But they’re so accepting. If you’re just honest with them, they’re much more cool with it than some adults are about the whole thing. I always loved that movie because she was this tough, independent girl and she dressed like a man, and that’s great, but in the end, it’s up in the air whether she’s going to end up with the prince or not. I loved that. They didn’t ride off together into the sunset.
Charlie Countryman has something else in common with one of your other upcoming projects: bonding with people over death. In Charlie Countryman, both characters lose a parent. In 10 Things I Hate About Life, the characters bond over their attempted suicides.
I think that’s kind of life in general, right? You always fall in love with someone when you’re least expecting it, when you’re not looking, when your guard is down, that you let people in. I think they’re both in very vulnerable places in their lives. They both have suffered these losses, and that’s why they’ve allowed these people to infiltrate their lives, because there’s something so similar about them. It’s a fate thing.
You’ve shot a gun before, right?
I’ve only shot one gun, in a Western once. So this was all new. I’m kind of scared of guns. Rightfully so, I think! Sometimes they kill people. So they taught me how to shoot for Charlie Countryman, because I would walk into the shot, lift the gun up, and look badass, and then the gun was so heavy, because it was a real gun, and I couldn’t even pull the trigger. See? A gun would do me no good, because I can’t even shoot it. So there’s no reason for me to have one, ever. I’m more of a baseball bat girl. I usually have a baseball bat around. Now that I have a kid, I really don’t want a gun in the house.
You credited Ricki Lake’s documentary The Business of Being Born with how you handled the birth, choosing to go natural.
I must have watched that twenty times before I gave birth, and it was so moving to me. I watched it before I got pregnant. I watched it before I was even thinking about having babies. Well, I was thinking about it, but I didn’t know it was going to happen quite so soon. [Laughs.] I loved it. I didn’t know I had a choice when it came to birth. I think what struck me the most was just letting nature do what it needs to do, because it’s set up to work pretty perfectly.
I told a friend about it, and then she became a doula once she saw it.
It’s kind of addicting, isn’t it? You really want to be there for these women, once you’ve gone through it, once you realize how intense it is, how lonely you can feel, how misinformed you can be. You want to rush to protect these women. I totally understand. I would really love to [be a doula]. I talked to some midwives and some doulas, and they all said the same thing, “I’ve been doing this for years, and no matter how many births I attend, it’s always this magical, amazing thing to be a part of, to witness. It’s never anything short of amazing.”