BEVERLY HILLS, California — Will Matthew Goode be the next Shane West? Mandy Moore seems to think so.
Despite the fact that her movie audience has dwindled since "A Walk to Remember" made West a heartthrob, Mandy's confident that "Chasing Liberty" will put the British newcomer on the minds (and bedroom walls) of young girls everywhere.
"It's about to happen again!" she proclaimed recently, sitting in a Beverly Hills hotel room, doing press for the romantic comedy, which opens Friday. "Get ready for the [heartthrob-making] process. Matthew is amazing, he's so charming, and he has that accent.
"It kind of didn't require a lot of acting for me to actually fall in love with him," she admitted. "And of course, shooting in Prague and Venice didn't hurt, either."
Goode just laughs a boyish, heartthrob sort of laugh when he gets wind of all of this talk. "It sounds like a foghorn to me," he said of his accent. "There's not enough syllables in the words to understand them.
"She's saying I'm the 'next heartthrob' and that's terribly sweet of her. I suppose if people take to me it could be nothing but a good thing. But it would sound absolutely arrogant for me to say, 'Oh yes, I'm the next heartthrob.' "
An accomplished stage actor overseas, Goode is eager to do more plays, but he's exploring his movie options after "Chasing Liberty," the first of two new movies already in the can about a president's daughter (the other, "First Daughter," stars Katie Holmes).
"I have a lot of aspirations that would cover a lot of genres, and not necessary always mainstream, because independents are a lot of fun too," he said.
Of course, there's no guarantee that "Chasing Liberty" won't find itself chasing an audience. Pop singer Moore's film career launched with promise when "A Walk to Remember," based on the teary book by Nicholas Sparks, earned $42.1 million in 2002. Those aren't blockbuster numbers, but the film wasn't made for a blockbuster price and was considered a success.
But "All I Want," a movie co-starring Elijah Wood and Franka Potente ("The Bourne Identity"), went straight to television and DVD as last year's "How to Deal" flopped with just $14 million.
Mandy's singing career is still plugging along (she played a secret show in Hollywood on Wednesday following the "Chasing Liberty" premiere), and she isn't too worried about the big picture (see "Mandy Moore Knows 'How To Deal' When A Movie Flops").
"You can't think about that stuff. Yeah, I was disappointed with 'How to Deal,' but I'm very proud of 'Chasing Liberty.' It's the movie I set out to make, and I think the movie speaks for itself. I hope people enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. But I think with every project, you just have to keep that sort of stuff in mind and realize that some work, and some don't."