A cozy chat with Amanda Seyfried.

Dis­cussing the mean­ing of life (no, re­ally) with Amanda Seyfried.

ELLE (Canada) - - In­sider - By Vir­ginie Do­lata

Like A whirl­wind, Amanda Seyfried tum­bles into a pala­tial suite in the Man­darin Ori­en­tal ho­tel in Paris. A doll-like crea­ture in a pair of dark jeans and a T-shirt, she’s yawn­ing—a lot. “Jet lag and late bed­times,” she ex­plains. “But I can’t com­plain—it’s my job.”

She grabs some fruit from the kitchen is­land and then drinks a mac­chi­ato be­fore tak­ing a seat in the bath­room, where her glam team start to prep her for our shoot. She is very at ease, twirling and laugh­ing while chat­ting with her makeup guru, Mary Green­well, and af­fec­tion­ately kiss­ing her pub­li­cist.

Time for the first pic­ture. Our pho­tog­ra­pher, Ric­cardo Tinelli, wor­ries that Seyfried might be too tired; on cue, she yawns again. But as soon as she’s in front of the cam­era, she comes to life—for a few sec­onds at least. It’s enough to give us a win­ning shot be­fore she fades again. As the day moves along, Seyfried seems to grad­u­ally wake up, and by the time we wrap, she’s jump­ing on the bed.

As the day ends, Seyfried has plans to get her hair cut in the bath­room, but, be­fore that, she’s in the mood to talk. “Let’s do the in­ter­view on the bed!” ­she says en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, in the way she has that makes ev­ery­thing seem ex­cit­ing, even if it’s just choos­ing where to sit.

Seyfried has come a long way since her (ad­mit­tedly iconic, highly quoted) role as Karen Smith in 2004’s Mean Girls. She has played her share of in­genues ( Mamma Mia!, Dear John, Les Misérables) and is al­ways a box-of­fice draw in come­dies ( Ted 2, A Mil­lion Ways to Die in the West, Love the Coop­ers). But the chameleon-like ac­tress has also tack­led more com­pli­cated roles, like that of a real-life porn star in Lovelace and a bereft woman in Fa­thers and Daugh­ters.

In fact, as we talk, with Seyfried ly­ing on the bed, the con­ver­sa­tion al­most im­me­di­ately takes a dark turn of its own. (As you’ll see, it starts with con­fronting one’s mor­tal­ity.) “Sorry!” Seyfried apol­o­gizes. “It’s funny be­cause some­times I don’t re­ally know what I’m talk­ing about.”

You started act­ing at 15 years old, and you’ve done 27 movies so far. You’ve only just turned 30! “I’m scared of get­ting old. How quickly time flies! How quickly the years go! It’s scary.” There is a scene in your ad for Givenchy Very Ir­ré­sistible where you tap your foot and the lights of the Eif­fel Tower turn on. Has life been like that for you—you just get what you want? “It’s not that easy! But usu­ally, yes. I get what I want, for the most part.” Are you in love? “Yes. With my­self. I found last year re­ally in­tense, in terms of my ca­reer and big mo­ments—won­der­ful mo­ments, hor­ri­ble mo­ments and per­sonal mo­ments, in­clud­ing a breakup. Af­ter film­ing Twin Peaks last Septem­ber, I just col­lapsed into my­self and felt the low­est I’d felt for a long time. That’s when I started prac­tis­ing med­i­ta­tion, self-knowl­edge and self-aware­ness. I over­came some­thing, and hope­fully I’ll keep mov­ing for­ward.” What do you find most un­set­tling or stress­ful? “So many things! Trav­el­ling and air­ports.... Fly­ing is okay, but it’s the air­port for some rea­son. Every­body is com­ing and go­ing. It’s a very hec­tic place, and I’m sen­si­tive to that. I find pres­sure stress­ful too—the pres­sure to be great, to com­muni­cate well and to be a great per­son.” Do any of those pres­sures come from your child­hood, do you think? “My child­hood was pretty nor­mal. I lived with my par­ents, who are still to­gether, and my sis­ter. We were a very bal­anced sub­ur­ban fam­ily. I played sports, I sang and I played pi­ano. I got to do what I wanted to do. I got good grades at h

school and had lots of friends, but it was still pretty stress­ful. I was a very ob­ses­sive and some­what com­pul­sive child—even at five years old! I had to have my socks at the same length. I kept all my toys or­ga­nized.” Have you ever had any coun­selling? “I have a ther­a­pist, and I read a lot. I’m very in­ter­ested in Bud­dhism as a teach­ing tool; I think the Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy is re­ally won­der­ful. I try to live in the mo­ment. I hate the idea of liv­ing in the fu­ture be­cause it’s just fan­tasy, and, for me, fears come from fan­tasy. You can project your fears into a fan­tasy that would never hap­pen. That’s not a pos­i­tive way to think. It’s im­por­tant to seize the day be­cause we don’t know what could hap­pen in 10 min­utes even. I mean, we will prob­a­bly still be here, but, you know, maybe there could be a nu­clear war!” That’s a rather dark vi­sion of the world. “We are born alone, and we die alone. You have to some­times come to terms with the facts. You can’t look to a man or any­one else to make you happy. That’s just not the an­swer, and I un­der­stand that now. Maybe in a year I’ll be on the floor cry­ing hys­ter­ically about all this, but at least I’m able to talk about it. It is some­thing I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a lit­tle bit in my 20s. When I’m 40, I’ll see how I feel, but who re­ally knows? I hope we’re still alive in 10 years. I hope to have three lovely chil­dren by then too.” Do you use act­ing to work through any of your fears? “When I’m act­ing, it’s a dif­fer­ent part of me do­ing it. I’m fear­less when I’m act­ing, but I’m not in real life. No­body is com­pletely fear­less, or else you’d be a so­ciopath! When I’m act­ing, I’m stronger and there are no re­straints—I’m free to do what­ever, to play who­ever, to be who­ever. It’s ac­tu­ally an es­cape for me be­cause I can jump into that world and then come back to re­al­ity.” Which of your films is your favourite? “Jen­nifer’s Body! I’m so proud of it. My char­ac­ter is su­per­anx­ious, hon­est and stuck. It felt like I was play­ing my­self!” Is fame a chal­lenge for you? “No...I mean, yes. There have been times in my life when I’ve been more con­cerned about it than I am now. Get­ting used to fame is so un­nat­u­ral. It has its down­side, but when you are not be­ing has­sled, the idea of be­ing fa­mous is good. I have fans I’ve grown up with; that’s a won­der­ful thing, and it trans­lates to other things, to op­por­tu­ni­ties. But some­times you get hunted, and that’s the down­side. Fame can be ter­ri­fy­ing and un­com­fort­able.”

What is your recipe for hap­pi­ness? “My dog, Finn, and my farm. I’ve got six chick­ens, three horses, a cow and a baby don­key. I also feel happy be­ing with my sis­ter, her hus­band and my friends. And I’m happy when I’m not in a loud bar! I like to have din­ner, a glass of wine or cock­tails and a whisky at home.” How was col­lab­o­rat­ing with Givenchy for its new fra­grance, Live Ir­ré­sistible? “It was great and so much fun. Matthew, the film di­rec­tor, had re­ally good ideas. He’s ec­cen­tric and an­i­mated, and he seemed very ex­cited about it. I ab­sorbed all that, and it was re­ally fun to be, like, an Amer­i­can girl in Paris and cap­ture this mo­ment. We also had kit­tens on-set, so it felt like it was tai­lored just for me.” What’s next for you? “I’m look­ing for­ward to start­ing a movie [ The Last Word] in L.A. with Shirley MacLaine. It’s a film about a friend­ship, and it’s go­ing to be in­tense and awe­some. I also have to go to Mex­ico City to shoot an­other movie, Amer­i­can Ex­press, which is so at the op­po­site end of the scale. It’s about drugs, and it’s a com­edy—sort of! It’s a big movie with Char­l­ize Theron, David Oyelowo, Joel Edger­ton and Viggo Mortensen.” You’re in­volved in the I AM THAT GIRL cause. Can you tell us about it? “They don’t ne­ces­sar­ily talk about it like this, but to me it’s like New Age Girl Guides. There’s a leader in each re­gion and a group of girls, and ev­ery week they get to­gether and talk about ev­ery­thing. It’s a safe space for girls to em­power each other and be hon­est, open and vul­ner­a­ble. It’s so pos­i­tive and em­pow­er­ing. It helps a lot of girls feel like they be­long some­where. High school is hard, and col­lege is hard; be­ing a woman, at any age, can be hard be­cause there is a lot of in­se­cu­rity and com­pe­ti­tion.” n

Silk-satin out­er­wear and grain-de-poudre jacket (Givenchy by Ric­cardo Tisci), Calais-lace and silk shorts (Fifi Chachnil), rose-gold, enamel, black­di­a­mond and white-di­a­mond neck­lace (White Bird Fine Jew­ellery) and sil­verand gold-plated-metal neck­laces (Co­op­er­a­tive de Cre­ation). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide. Makeup, Mary Green­well; hair, Jenny Cho; styling as­sis­tant, Ae­sane Pec­nard. With spe­cial thanks to Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Paris.

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