Mandy Moore Scores Elton John's Approval, Finally Gets Her Title

Coverage gets thumbs up, 'Chasing Liberty' is next in theaters.

Mandy Moore is sleeping a little easier. After waiting six months for her covers album to be released, and even longer for her most recent movie to get a title, both finally happened over the last couple of days.

The movie, in which she plays the president's daughter (see "For New Comedy, Mandy Moore Gets To Travel, Choose Her Own Butt Double"), will be called "Chasing Liberty."

"It only took a 1,000 adults and seven months to come up with a title," Moore said, flashing her famous warm smile before bowling a few rounds at Hollywood's trendy new Lucky Strike Lanes. "I haven't seen the film as a whole yet, but I think it's going to be pretty fantastic. It's got all the elements of those lovely romantic comedies."

What excites Moore most about her follow-up to "How to Deal" (see "Mandy Moore Knows 'How To Deal' When A Movie Bombs"), which hits theaters January 7, is introducing British actor Matthew Goode to America.

"He's an extremely good-looking guy and he is hilarious and has almost this Hugh Grant kind of quality to him when he is onscreen," Moore said. "He has that kind of English sarcasm and sense of humor. I keep telling him, 'You're gonna be this big huge star and all over the teen magazine covers.' "

As for Coverage, the album she began recording a year ago (see "Mandy Moore Digs Up Pop Obscurities For Coverage"), Moore is certainly excited about the labor of love being in stores, even though she's a bit nervous to see the reaction.

"Branching out and doing something kind of left of field, like this record is, I know there are people waiting in the wings ... to jump on top of me and criticize me," she said. "I knew it's risky to go out there and cover the likes of Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens and Elton John, but I'm not going out there and recording this music saying, 'This is my version. This is the better version.' I love these songs. I'm honored that I have this opportunity to go into the studio and be a part of them and put my own personal little stamp maybe on them, but the originals stand for themselves. They are just timeless."

One of the most important people possible liked Coverage. "I saw Elton John at a benefit like two weekends ago and I got to meet up with him backstage before he went on. He gave me a big hug and he's like, 'I heard "Mona Lisas," ' " Moore recalled. "I got back and I was with my boyfriend and I sat at the table the rest of the night and I'm like, 'Oh my God, he's heard my version of "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and he liked it!' He's probably the artist on the record that I'm the biggest fan of."

Coverage is similar to Moore's older material in that her voice is still sparkling and innocent. The difference is in the music, which was recorded with a full band literally in a garage.

"Recording this record was a much more raw kind of experience," she said. "I'm used to going into the big fancy, shmancy studio, with runners that were running, grabbing your McDonald's or Gatorade or whatever that you desire while you're in the studio. And I always felt so much pressure going into those places, 'cause you're walking around and there's the plaques on the wall of the artists that have stepped foot in there and whatever. So this go-round, I worked with John Fields (Andrew W.K., Switchfoot) in his studio, which was his garage behind his house that he's converted into a studio. It was intimate. It was quiet. I felt no pressure. I could walk in wearing my pajamas if I wanted to."

The other main difference with Coverage is how Moore's promoting the album. Her performances, such as her rendition of Carly Simon's "Anticipation" on "Oprah," have been backed by a live band.

"It's such a treat 'cause there's no track, there's no dancers, ugh," she said. "That never was me. I'm like the most uncoordinated, gawky person you've ever seen on the dance floor. So I'm glad that I've moved farther and farther away from that."

Moore will next perform Thursday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."