Evan Rachel Wood

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Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood
Born September 7, 1987
Raleigh, North Carolina
Notable roles Thirteen

Evan Rachel Wood (born September 7, 1987) is an American film, television and theatre actress, and singer. She began acting in the late 1990s, appearing in several television roles, including American Gothic and Once and Again. Wood made her debut as a lead film actress in 2002's Little Secrets, and became well known after her Golden Globe-nominated role in Thirteen, which gained her critical praise. She has since starred in several independent films, including Pretty Persuasion and Down in the Valley, and has several more starring roles in films yet to be released.

Wood has been described by The Guardian newspaper as being "wise beyond her years" and as "one of the best actresses of her generation".


Early life

Wood was born in Raleigh, North Carolina to Ira David Wood III, an award-winning actor, singer, theatre director and playwright, and Sara Lynn Moore, an actress. Her brother, Ira David IV, is also an actor and her aunt, Carol Winstead Wood, is a Hollywood production designer; she also has a half brother, Dana, from her mother's first marriage. Wood is Jewish.

Wood and her brother were actively involved in their father's theatre, Theatre In The Park, while growing up; she appeared in a production of A Christmas Carol at the theatre when she was a few months old, and later starred as Helen Keller in a production of The Miracle Worker, under her father's direction.


Wood auditioned for the child role in Interview with the Vampire, which was eventually given to actress Kirsten Dunst. She appeared in several made-for-television films from 1994 and onwards, also playing an occasional role in the television series American Gothic. In early 1997, Wood's parents separated and later divorced, and Wood moved with her mother to her mother's native Los Angeles, where Wood was cast in the supporting role of Jessie Sammler on the television show Once and Again. Wood's first major screen role was in the low-budget 1998 film, Digging to China, which also starred Kevin Bacon and Mary Stuart Masterson. Wood remembers the role as initially being "hard", but notes that it eventually led to her decision that acting is something she "might never want to stop doing".

Wood left regular school at the age of eleven, and was home schooled, because of bullying and difficulty with teachers, who Wood says treated her like she was "spoiled" because she was an actress. She later drew upon her experiences with bullying to portray a malicious high school student in Pretty Persuasion.

Wood subsequently appeared in a number of films catering to a teenage audience, including Little Secrets. She was set to have the leading role in the films Raise Your Voice and Mean Girls, but was unable to because of production scheduling changes. Wood's breakthrough movie role followed, with the 2003 film Thirteen, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Actress - Drama. During the time of Thirteen's release, Vogue named Wood as one of the It Girls of Hollywood, and she appeared, along with the other actresses, on the magazine's July 2003 cover.

Her next two starring roles were in the dark independent films, Pretty Persuasion (2005), in which she played a villainous, sexually active high-schooler, and Down in the Valley (2006), in which her character engages in a sexual relationship with an older man posing as a cowboy. Wood has commented on her choice of sexually themed roles, saying that she is not aiming for the "shock factor" in her film choices, and adding that she hopes her roles "spread awareness" about the consequences of deviant behaviour among teenagers, citing that she has known people who behave similarly to her film characters.

In 2005, Wood starred in the music videos for Bright Eyes' "At the Bottom of Everything" and Green Day's " Wake Me Up When September Ends". In September of 2006, she received Premiere magazine's "Spotlight Award for Emerging Talent".

Wood has roles in several as-yet unreleased films, including King of California, and Across the Universe, a musical directed by Julie Taymor and set in the United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam; she will perform musical numbers in the film. During August and September 2006, Wood filmed In Bloom, in which she plays a younger version of a character played by Uma Thurman.

Personal life

Wood received her high school diploma at age fifteen. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys singing, having recorded the songs "Christmas Isn't Christmas Without You" and "Silver and Gold" for the School's Out Christmas Album, which featured various artists. Wood is now considering taking part-time college courses, but is not yet pursuing a full-time college education.

Wood has said that her character in Across the Universe, whom she describes as an "old soul, street smart and ahead of her time", is close to her real-life personality. Wood also describes herself as being "laid back" and "not a party girl", citing her choice to stay away from what is considered a typical Hollywood lifestyle.

During 2006, Wood, who was described by the Guardian as an " Anglophile", dated her " Wake Me Up When September Ends" music video co-star, English actor Jamie Bell. She is also a friend of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Terra voice role; in production
In Bloom filming
The King of California Miranda post-production
Across the Universe Lucy post-production
2006 Running with Scissors Natalie
Down in the Valley Tobe limited release
2005 Pretty Persuasion Kimberly Joyce limited release
The Upside of Anger Lavender 'Popeye' Wolfmeyer
2003 The Missing Lily Gilekson
Thirteen Tracy Louise Freeland Golden Globe nomination
2002 Little Secrets Emily Lindstrom
S1m0ne Lainey Christian
1999 Down Will Come Baby Robin Garr made-for-television
1998 Practical Magic Kylie Owens
Digging to China Harriet Frankovitz limited release
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