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Amanda Seyfried: Young, Bold, and Beautiful by Craig McDean for W Magazine

Amanda Seyfried: Go West, Go Wild
The actress has a lot of irons in the fire—all of them hot.

by Lynn Hirschberg
Photography by Craig McDean
Styled by Edward Enninful

“I am most scared of being bored,” Amanda Seyfried said. She was calling from her home in Los Angeles in mid-February, having just returned from her first vacation in years. “I was at a resort!” she continued. “And I thought, I should be loving this—but I wasn’t getting anything done, and that terrified me. When I feel like I’m not accomplishing something, I feel like I failed the day. I guess I missed work.” The only reason Seyfried was on vacation at all was because a scheduled movie project had been canceled abruptly.

From the age of 15, when she first appeared on the soap opera As the World Turns, to this May, when she’ll play the ex-girlfriend of a sheep farmer in Seth MacFarlane’s period comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seyfried, 28, has worked pretty much nonstop. Although the actress, with her blonde hair and wide blue eyes, looks like a beautiful doll, she has always resisted being cast as arm candy or the typical ingenue. She may have pin-up looks, but Seyfried is direct and quirky, and her career choices have been eclectic—from the broadly romantic (Dear John, 2010) to the musical (Mamma Mia!, 2008) to the bold and independent (last year’s Lovelace, in which she was stunningly vulnerable as the emotionally battered Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace).

Seyfried is not afraid of a challenge, whether it is singing live (in 2012’s Oscar winner Les Misérables) or doing a steamy sex scene, as in 2009’s Jennifer’s Body, where she and Megan Fox had a memorable make-out session. “We kissed really well together,” Seyfried once told me about the latter. “We have similar kissing styles! If I watch the scene, it’s actually really sexy…We got it done for the masses, and, sadly, the masses didn’t show up.” (The film did not fare terribly well at the box office.)

Because she mixes things up creatively—going from a comedy like her first film, 2004’s Mean Girls, to HBO’s Mormon drama, Big Love, to Noah Baumbach’s new movie, While We’re Young, which does not yet have a release date—Seyfried is a little mysterious. By design, she is a chameleon, able to fit into different worlds, rather than a “movie star,” playing one character over and over. “In Noah’s film, I play a hipster girl who lives in Brooklyn,” Seyfried told me during our phone call. “And, of course, I am not part of that world. It was fun to try to be that girl. In real life, I’m not sure anyone sees me as hip.”

Growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Seyfried lived a kind of double life: During high school, she was cast in All My Children, a role for which she had to commute to Manhattan. Simultaneously, she managed to attend classes and go to four proms (“I was addicted to the whole ballroom thing”). “I met my first boyfriend on a soap opera,” she told me. “We kissed for the first time on the show. It was like a fairy tale. When you’re young, it’s hard not to get together with your costar. It’s not always the greatest idea, but the experience of making a television show or a movie is so intimate and romantic. And I love acting like I’m in love! Sex scenes are great. A lot of my costars have been sexy guys my age who are really respectful and cool. So, why not? I’m not going to pretend it’s not fun.”

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