Who's That Girl?
This year will be one of the biggest of Amanda Seyfried's career, with four films - Gone, Lovelace, The Big Wedding and Les Misérables - due for release. Photo: Getty
Amanda Seyfried isn't one to mince words.
The 26-year-old star with the long blonde hair and huge eyes may look like an angel, but she also swears like a sailor. "I have to stop cursing," she says, sweeping her wavy hair away from her shoulders.
"I probably shouldn't do it as much, but I do."
Today, in Beverly Hills, the actor looks stunning in a J Brand grey blazer and Bird by Juicy Couture dark-denim flared jeans with a rhinestone triple-strand necklace by Nola Singer. In her towering Brian Atwood heels, Seyfried seems much taller than usual, even willowy.
"No matter what I eat, I think my legs will always be good, and thank God.
My mum has great legs, even after two kids and being really busy. Genetically,
I'm just going to have thinner legs," she says, before pausing and quickly becoming self-deprecating.
"Some people think they also look like chicken legs, so to some, even if you have thin legs, they're still not good. Oh well." She shrugs her shoulders and laughs. "You can't please everybody. That's the one thing I know for sure."
However, Seyfried is pleasing everybody - at least in Hollywood terms. This year will be one of the biggest of her career, with four films - Gone, Lovelace, The Big Wedding and Les Misérables - due for release.
"It still surprises me that people are trusting me with these roles," she says. "I'm really at a good point."
So it seems.
Lovelace is already being touted as one of the must-see films of the year, with an impressive cast that includes James Franco, Sarah Jessica Parker and Peter Sarsgaard, whom Seyfried describes as "f...ing amazing".
In the biopic, Seyfried plays the troubled '70s porn star Linda Lovelace.
"She has an amazing story," Seyfried says of Lovelace.
"When people hear [the name] Lovelace, they have one idea about her, but she goes on a journey which is so negative. You have to read her books to fully grasp what she went through. It's a very powerful story."
Seyfried is also quick to dismiss a common perception about Linda Lovelace: "She wasn't promiscuous. She had a child and was forced to give that child up by her parents, who were so Catholic. They were very strict and almost insensitive to a point. Not the worst parents, by any means, but she needed to get out of there. I mean, imagine being forced to give your baby up. What would that do to you?" Seyfried asks, her voice getting louder. It's obvious she is passionate about the project.
The question of how much skin she will or won't show on screen has been a hotly debated topic, but Seyfried is clear on the issue. "Personally, I don't want to show my vagina," she says matter-of-factly.
"Not that I judge anyone who has. If you're with a good filmmaker, anything goes, but we won't exactly be re-creating scenes from Linda's films. That would be rated X," she says with a laugh.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Seyfried modelled from age 11 and started her acting career at just 15.
She had recurring roles on TV soaps All My Children and As the World Turns. However, it was the 2004 cult hit Mean Girls, which also starred Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams, that catapulted her onto the big screen.
Roles in films such as Alpha Dog, Dear John, Mamma Mia! and Letters to Juliet followed.
In terms of style, Seyfried's upcoming films run the gamut from suspense thriller to musical to gritty biopic, showcasing her versatility.
"I'm always trying to do something different, something I've never done," she explains.
"Gone, for instance, is a grounded psychological thriller. I thought, 'Why the f... wouldn't I do it?' It seemed perfect for me," she says.
In the film, Seyfried plays Jill Parrish, a waitress who was abducted by a serial killer two years before. She believes he has returned for her, but has taken her sister by mistake. However, nobody believes Jill because after the earlier abduction, she was placed in a mental hospital. Is Jill telling the truth now or has she made up the whole story?
"I couldn't put the script down when I read it," Seyfried says with a smile.
"I knew instantly this was something I wanted to do because this is the type of movie I'd go and see, buy my popcorn and enjoy."
However, it was the role of Cosette in Les Misérables that Seyfried pulled out all the stops to win.
"I wanted that role like I have never wanted anything in my life," she says of the adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic 19th-century novel.
The starring role was one of the most coveted in Hollywood, but it was Seyfried who got the nod from director Tom Hooper. She is working alongside Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, who play Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert respectively. Anne Hathaway
In order to be a contender to play Cosette, Seyfried started having voice lessons last August. She needed no help with the lyrics, however. "I was f...ing obsessed with Les Mis when I was younger. I know every single word of all the songs. It is, without doubt, my favourite musical ever," she says.
Despite her commitment, Seyfried says she had to wait a month before getting the go-ahead from Hooper.
"I spent so much money on that audition," she says with a laugh. "I took voice lessons, flew to London twice [to audition], sent two tapes over. By the end, I was exhausted by it."
But Seyfried held on to the hope that her goal would become a reality. "You know what?" she says, taking a sip of her tea. "I knew I did my best and I felt great about that. My hands were clean." She wipes her hands together and the gold bangles on her wrist clink together.
"There was a time when I was getting bitter because I felt like I was in a holding pattern for a month. I'm the type of person who likes to know I'm working towards something. Then a month after I auditioned, Tom Hooper called me and I was so happy."
It's not the first time that Seyfried's vocal talents have won her a coveted role
in Hollywood. In 2008, the actor had many audience members asking, "Who's that girl?" as she lit up the screen in Mamma Mia!.
Starring opposite Meryl Streep, she belted out Abba classics such as 'Honey, Honey' and 'Thank You for the Music' and romped on a beach with English co-star Dominic Cooper as they performed the duet 'Lay All Your Love on Me'.
The pair fell in love during filming and dated for just over two years, before ending their relationship in May 2010, amid rumours of Cooper's infidelity.
In an interview with US Elle magazine, Seyfried explained that "I got my heart broken pretty hard".
Since then, Seyfried has been romantically linked with actors such as Ryan Phillippe, Alexander Skarsgard, Josh Hartnett and, most recently, her Lovelace co-star James Franco. But she says she is most definitely "single" as of now.
When it comes to love, she admits she doesn't fall easily. "It's rare for me to love somebody," she says.
To win her heart, grand gestures such as scattering hundreds of rose petals on the floor or sweeping her off to an exotic destination won't cut it. For Seyfried, think simple and heartfelt. No over-the-top displays of affection.
"I like things which are handmade. When I really love someone, I like to make something for them," she says. "To me, that means so much more. I'd prefer a quiet night in any day."
Dating in the spotlight can be tricky, though, and Seyfried is well aware of that as she tries to negotiate her singledom. "If you're dating somebody, you don't want someone to know that, unless you commit to somebody, and that sucks. You have to hide and that's really awful," she says.
Other than that, the actor describes her life as "pretty normal".
"I have an easy life. I go to [pharmacy chain] CVS and [local supermarket] Trader Joe's, take my dog to day care. Sometimes I'm captured doing it, sometimes not," she says of the paparazzi who follow her intermittently from her Hollywood Hills home.
On a day off, Seyfried likes to have lunch with friends at one of her favourite places, organic Urth Caffé in West Hollywood, or she simply stays at home and invites friends over.
"That's the best," she says. "I love my home. I have a ballet studio in my backyard and I had my first official ballet class with my teacher the other day. Three of my closest friends take it with me and it's really fun. We loved it," she says.
To stay in shape, Seyfried also uses an elliptical training machine and does strength training.
"It's really very basic - cardio and weights. I'm not a Pilates or yoga type of girl. I'm going to get into running again soon, too. I want to do that," she says.
Taking care of herself is part of her job, according to Seyfried.
"My body is an instrument as well, so I try to keep within a certain amount of pounds.
I'm naturally thin, but fat comes very quickly if I completely lose it," she says, citing a weakness for Cadbury Creme Egg chocolates.
"Losing too much or gaining too much is not healthy. I keep it simple and I feel like I'm fine," she says, crossing her slender legs. "I don't obsess over it, though. That's not healthy, either."
As the face of high-end beauty brand Clé de Peau, Seyfried also knows that it's her job to keep her skin glowing at all times, particularly on the red carpet. In order to maintain it, Seyfried has facials regularly. Her favourite products include a gentle cleansing foam and the über-expensive La Crème, which she uses twice a day.
"If I was stranded on a desert island, it would be what I'd want to take with me," she says of the $750-a-jar indulgence.
Red-carpet regular Seyfried is a fixture on best-dressed lists, although she is quick to praise her stylist, Elizabeth Stewart.
"I have a slight eye for fashion. But not like her. I love what my stylist picks out for me. Personally, I love cosy, fashionable things," Seyfried says, listing Alexander Wang as one of her favourite designers for casual, day-to- day dressing. When it comes to making a statement on the red carpet, Seyfried opts for more glamorous labels such as Valentino, Dior, Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana.
"I like to show my legs," she says of her style rules. "And I like to have things around my neck. Other than that, if my stylist shows me an outfit, I'll say, 'That's great' or 'No, let's move on.' Simple."
Simple is how Seyfried seems to like things generally. Straightforward and direct, the
actor says she doesn't know how to be any other way. "I'm pretty good at seeing through all the BS," she says in her trademark down-to-earth manner.
Perhaps it comes from the fact that, as she says, she was "never the girl who said, 'I'm going to be a star' ". Although thrilled with her success to date, it wasn't as if Seyfried had her career all mapped out from an early age.
"I don't know if the career I'm having now is a surprise, but I never had any expectations," she says, smiling.
Seyfried's philosophy on life matches her easy way, and her attitude is certainly working for her.
"I live moment to moment," she says. "That's just who I am. As for what's next? I have no idea, but I'm sure it will be something pretty great."
• Gone is in cinemas now.