A lot of actresses might have danced around the subject, but when it comes to her latest movie's lukewarm reception at the box office, Mandy Moore doesn't mince words.
"[It] bombed," she said flatly, sounding more bummed than defensive while discussing "How to Deal"'s $5.8 million opening, roughly half of what "A Walk to Remember" earned when it debuted last year. "It's my first experience going through something like that. ... You can't let it bother you. If you live and die by everything, you're never going to make it. You can't live film to film. That's my take on it.
"In the scheme of things, it's not all about one film or one record," the 19-year-old added thoughtfully. "And hopefully people will still be accepting of me in both of the roles and allow me the opportunity to go off and potentially make better films."
And there are plenty more Mandy movies on the way. The Starz network picked up "All I Want," the movie she made with Elijah Wood that went under the working title "Try 17" (see "Elijah Wood Plays DJ For 'Try 17' Co-Star Mandy Moore"), and the ensemble comedy "Saved" is due in February. Plus she just spent time in the Czech Republic playing a president's daughter in a still-untitled romantic comedy (see "For New Comedy, Mandy Moore Gets To Travel, Choose Her Own Butt Double").
"The film is finished now," she said. "I was outside of the country for almost three months. I've never been away from home for that long. [Prague] was beautiful. I really, really enjoyed that city. It was just a completely different experience."
An enjoyable city and a different experience, yes, but an exhausting shoot filled with 17-hour days, as well. The time abroad ultimately proved so taxing that Moore decided to pass on a possible project with Kevin Costner (see "Mandy Moore In Talks To Join Kevin Costner Onscreen").
"I'm tired," she said with a laugh, noting that her role went to an actress she admires, Evan Rachel Wood ("Thirteen"). "I'm bummed because it would have been a fun experience, but it's starting to film [soon and] and I just want to spend some time with my family, my friends and [my boyfriend] and just relax."
Moore said she plans to put acting on hold for the rest of the year to unwind and to focus on promoting her upcoming covers album, Coverage, which hits stores in October and revisits the work of artists ranging from Cat Stevens to Joan Armatrading.
While in Prague, she found time to shoot a video for the record's first single, John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me," with director Chris Mills (Vendetta Red).
"It's ... a bit like [Vendetta Red's 'Shatterday' clip], something kind of weird and unexpected," she continued. "I wanted to do something different. The treatment was just so intelligent and creative. I think it's hopefully a bit of a different side."
The video uses postcards and pictures of Prague — the train station, the town square — to create a two-dimensional world where Moore is the only three-dimensional thing. "It's kind of a picture diary of my summer," Moore said, "and just this insanely weird video."
Choosing which song would be the first single wasn't as easy as choosing a video treatment, though. "Honestly, any song could have been released off the record first and I would have been happy, but I think the record company just felt the strongest [about that song]," she explained.
"It's a beautiful song and I love it. I actually went in recording the record thinking, 'Oh, [the single's] definitely going to be the XTC song, or it's definitely going to be something a bit more up-tempo.' And I would be excited about getting out there with the band and kicking ass and actually rocking out a bit.
"But this will do too," she said, laughing.