LOS ANGELES—Don’t call her “little” anymore. That was once upon a time.
The lead character of the latest retelling of the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” has undergone a modern makeover. She’s more proactive, older, bolder, and sexier than her traditional incarnations.
That’s what piqued the interest of Amanda Seyfried, star of director Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood, now playing in theatres. “I separated from the usual damsel in distress, which is in most fairy tales, to somebody who’s completely not in distress at all,” Seyfried says at a Beverly Hills news conference. “She’s like this young, strong female that’s going through her life and realizing her sexuality and kinda trying to navigate herself through her young-adult life in this medieval village”¦.And, of course, she’s the heroine in the movie”¦so she needs to have balls. And that was really attractive, because I like playing women that have no fear; especially in the circumstances, she’s pretty brave.”
Watch the trailer for Red Riding Hood.
In this B.C.–shot version, Seyfried plays Valerie, torn between the poor Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), whom she loves, and her arranged marriage to the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). When a werewolf is revealed to live among the villagers, no one remains above suspicion. Just as Valerie is on the cusp of adulthood, Seyfried’s career is also moving into more mature territory. The Mean Girls and Mamma Mia! star is shifting from a series of romance films (Letters to Juliet, Dear John) to thrillers, with the upcoming sci-fi flick Now and Heitor Dhalia’s Gone. In between, Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller Chloe and the romance-horror-mystery fusion of Red Riding Hood have provided a fitting segue as blends of both genres.
In the latter film, two things helped Seyfried get into character. One was the trademark cape, which Hardwicke explains was embroidered by a sewing circle of 14 Vancouver women. “It was kinda a big deal when the cape came on to the set,” Seyfried says, “because it’s its own character.”
She adds that she loved the set, built on Burnaby soundstages at Canada Motion Picture Park. “I felt like I was transferred back to some other time,” Seyfried says when asked about it by the Georgia Straight. “And it really helped in the moment, especially dealing with all these supernatural elements, you know, staring at a piece of wood, pretending that that was a wolf that was going to eat me.”
“But,” her costar Gary Oldman coyly quips, “that’s not the first time you’ve stared at a piece of wood.”
Such suggestive innuendos pepper the conversation at the conference. Seyfried jokes, for example, that “little” was dropped from the title because of her breasts.
“Little Red Riding Hood was a child,” Seyfried explains, more seriously. “It can’t be that coming-of-age story if it’s a child”¦.It’s this girl that just has all this tension and turmoil and questioning about herself and developing into this young adult”¦.Also, it makes for a more exciting story because you have that whole sexuality and romance to it.”
She says she feels that this adaptation is about “not ignoring your sexual impulses”. She adds that unlike the original cautionary tale, she doesn’t think this version, with its heartthrob love triangle, is “gonna keep girls from rolling in the hay. I think it’s going to make it really attractive. Even more attractive than it already is.”