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Emmys: Evan Rachel Wood is rewarded for bad behavior

July 14, 2011 |  1:13 pm

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Evan Rachel Wood's role in the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce" may have been her flashiest to date. After all, as Veda Pierce, she got to sing opera, act imperious and, oh yes, sleep with her mother's husband. It was enough to earn her an Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a miniseries, and it's a project she's very proud of.

The show did very well.

I know! It was a little like the day before Christmas. You hope for the best -– they certainly all deserve it. But you don't know. You never know. I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone yet. I'm so happy -– I'm really looking forward to that.

What were the challenges of working on this kind of long-term period piece? 

The schedule is grueling, but also so is the story. Especially with Kate and I -– it's all very heavy. Veda was especially hard to play -– she's a very dark person. She's warped. She doesn’t have a lot of light in her life. Trying to find a way to make her human and sympathetic was hard.

Also, all the musical stuff was really hard. I had never played the piano -– I mimicked it, but it has to look right. I had to basically learn the songs. It was a lot to take on. And it's a real actor's piece, there was a lot of dialect. You had to completely shed every bit of yourself.

You also played a vampire queen on "True Blood." Those projects are very different.

Some people want to make a comparison between the two characters, but the only thing even remotely similar is their hair! "True Blood" is fun, but it's like being on the playground. I'm a wide-eyed fan of the show when I'm on the set. "Mildred" is a whole other ballgame -– more intense.

 What was it like working with Kate Winslet?

She's incredible. She's my favorite actress -- even before I started this show! She's also an amazing human being -– just inspiring to be around. She has this incredible strength and amazing sense of humor which is really rare. And she's brilliant and beautiful.

Your "Mildred" costars Melissa Leo and Mare Winningham also received nominations today.

They're both incredible, wonderful actresses. We're just sharing it. It was such long hours and so intense -– for Kate it was like doing five movies back to back -- so it was hard not to bond.

Who do you feel was overlooked?

I have to give a shout out to Morgan Turner, our young Veda. I see great things for her in the future. She's such a funny sweet girl and really smart and cool. But I haven't seen the full list of nominees yet, so I don't know.

What other projects are coming up?

I have a film George Clooney directed coming out in October -– it's called "The Ides of March." I play Molly. She's an intern on George's political campaign. He directs and stars. The cast is incredible: Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei. It's based on a play. It's about the politics of politics.

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-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Evan Rachel Wood. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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