Mandy Moore was on ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ on Friday night to promote her new film ‘Saved!’. Mandy talked about all the attention the New York Post gave her when she was staying in New York, performing in concert for a winking President Bush — she tried to insist it wasn’t a flirtatious wink, how she is a horrible dancer, and her first play in the 6th grade – where she played a stripper in ‘Guys And Dolls’! Read on for a transcript.
Conan: All right, everybody, my first guest is a singer and an actress, who’s been in such films as “the princess diaries” and “a walk to remember.” Starting today, she can be seen in the new movie, “saved!.” Please welcome mandy moore.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Conan: You look beautiful.
Mandy: Thank you very much. That’s a gorgeous dress you’re wearing.
Mandy: Thank you very much.
Conan: I look pretty, too.
Mandy: Oh, walker, my goodness.
Conan: “Oh, walker.”
[ Laughter ] You see me as kind of a “Walker, Texas Ranger” character, don’t you?
Mandy: A little bit.
Conan: Yeah, thank you. Thank you very much. I like that. I want to ask you something. I know that you are staying in new york, you’re living in New York for a little while.
Conan: A couple months ago.
Conan: And there are tabloid, obviously tabloid papers here in New York City, and they can descend on celebrities. And they really just seem to follow you everywhere for a while. Like, everyday I’d pick up the newspaper, they were talking about you, where you were going, what you were doing. What was going — ?
Mandy: I was crossing the street. I read that a couple of times. Yeah, I was living here in New York for the first time, and I was living by myself, and I was sort of reading things in paper, like, “Mandy Moore spotted at the movies alone.” And I had friends calling me going, “Do you want me to come and visit?” It was just — seemed, I guess, to some people like it was the most pathetic thing that I was going to the movies by myself.
Conan: That’s so sad, ’cause everyone goes — I mean, I’ve gone to the movies alone a lot. Trust me.
[ Laughter ] The 1980s and the 1990s.
[ Laughter ] Early 2000s.
[ Laughter ] About two days ago. My trick is, I go into a theater, when I’m alone, and I see people that are already sitting in the theater, and I pretend they’re my friends. And I go over, and I’m like, “he-hah. Oh, yeah. What’s going on?”
Mandy: I’ll have to do that next time.
Conan: Yeah, don’t do it. It causes a lot of fights.
[ Laughter ] It’s not a good thing. Now, of course, many people know you as a singer. And you’ve done so well as a singer, in addition to acting. But you had a great honor, which is you got to perform for the president.
Mandy: Twice, actually.
Conan: President Bush.
Mandy: For President Bush.
Mandy: And I actually had to go on after Stevie Wonder, which who does that to another person? Stevie Wonder needs to close a show. So I had —
Conan: That’s rough, when Stevie Wonder’s out there, and then —
Mandy: But because of this, I got to see President Bush, who was kind of like rockin’ out to Stevie Wonder, tapping his foot. He was — he was really into it.
Conan: You said “rocking out,” and then you said “tapping his foot.”
[ Laughter ]
Mandy: Well, maybe that —
Conan: You’ve created two distinct images. Which one is it? Is he tapping his foot, or was he really rockin’ out? Doing the monkey, you know.
Mandy: He was, you know, tapping his foot, and he was sitting there with the first lady, and he really seemed to be enjoying himself.
Conan: Right. But maybe that is rocking out for him.
Conan: What’s it like when you’re singing, and you know the president’s right there? Do you — are you sneaking looks to see — ?
Mandy: I could have sworn — you’re looking front row, center, there’s the President of the United States and the First Lady, and I could have sworn that he winked at me. And not in like a weird way. But it kind of, like, really threw my focus, and so I had to just avoid eye contact.
Conan: What do you mean “not in a weird way”?
[ Laughter ] Are you 20? What are you, 19, 20 years old?
Conan: He’s sitting there with his wife, and he sees you — ah-ha!
[ Laughter ] Uh-huh!
Mandy: It wasn’t an uncomfortable wink. It’s just —
Conan: I know. I’m sure.
Mandy: It was a sweet, sort of encouraging wink. Like, “good for you.”
[ Laughter ]
Conan: I’m sure he gets those a lot, too. A lot of encouragement. You — I’ve heard you’re very self-critical about your dancing ability.
Conan: And that you — now, how could this be? I mean, you —
Mandy: Oh, I’m terrible. I just — I’m awkward. It’s just I have no coordination. I’m not athletic, so I can’t dance, either.
Conan: I just wish we had met in another lifetime.
[ Laughter ] These are all my qualities. You think it’s because — first of all, is it because you’re so — you’re very tall. Is it because — ? Because I know with me, I grew tall very quickly and never really got control with my limbs.
[ Laughter ] You think that was it?
Mandy: That’s the case with me, as well, yeah. I’m just — I’m terrible. I’m very self-conscious about it, too. And, of course, I had to dance, actually, in my very first music video. And I look back at it, and I’m just terribly embarrassed.
Conan: Like, what are you doing?
Mandy: Flailing all around like that.
Conan: You’re going like that?
Mandy: Kind of, yes.
Conan: That’s not good.
Mandy: I know.
Conan: Okay, right, the whole point. But did you — I mean, ’cause — can they help you with that? Did they ever use body doubles for dancing?
Conan: Or digitally put your head on someone else?
Mandy: No, I wish they had looked into that for me. No, but you work with, like, a choreographer. But nothing sort of could help me. I was just terrible.
Conan: Right, right.
Mandy: It was a lost cause.
Conan: Well, I think you’ve triumphed despite that problem.
Mandy: Thank you.
Conan: You started acting very young. What was your first — do you remember your first acting role?
Mandy: My first acting role, I was in a school play, in “Guys and Dolls,” and I played Miss Adelaide. And I’m a big musical theater fan, but I sort of came to realize, as I got a little bit older, that I was playing a stripper in sixth grade.
Conan: Yeah, that’s the stripper role.
Mandy: Which is a little unsettling, and of course, like, they had to change everything around since we were in sixth grade. It wasn’t called the crap game, it was called the dice game. And when we stripped —
Conan: Still gambling.
Mandy: Yeah, but we couldn’t say “crap,” I guess.
Conan: Right. They changed it to hungry, hungry hippos.
[ Laughter ]
Mandy: So I had to strip in one of the numbers, like, all of us little girls in sixth grade, and —
Conan: Who’s directing this play?
[ Laughter ] Where is this guy? I want to make a few phone calls.
Mandy: We didn’t —
Conan: “We’re going to hell and –“
Mandy: We didn’t have to strip, though, we kind of unbuttoned our little dresses. That’s so bad.
Conan: Oh, my god. I’m gonna get puppets and show me what happened.
[ Laughter ]
Mandy: We were dressed underneath, though.
Conan: I know. Oh, lord. Oh, god. Yeah, what other roles did this guy have you guys playing? That’s what I’m — “– will be next.” That’s a very strange guy.
Conan: Yeah. All right. We’ll talk about that later.
[ Light laughter ] Let’s talk about “saved!,” Because I — this movie got terrific reviews.
Mandy: Yeah. It’s very exciting, actually.
Conan: You got to be very happy about that.
Conan: This is — we have a clip from the movie. And this is, basically it’s a movie about — these are very Christian kids.
Mandy: Yes. We play kids in a christian high school, and my character’s a bit overzealous. She means well, but she just sort of uses her faith to manipulate and take advantage of those around her. But it is a comedy. It’s a dark comedy.
Conan: Sure, yeah.
Mandy: Macaulay Culkin’s in it, Jena Malone, a lot of really, really wonderful people. And it’s, you know, a bit controversial, obviously, ’cause whenever you include religion in something, people sort of tend to make a bigger deal out of it. But this particular scene we call the exorcism scene, because we’re taking a friend who’s sort of gone a little wayward with her faith, and trying to bring her back.
Conan: Okay. Trying to set her straight. Let’s take a look at this clip from “Saved!.”
Mandy: Get off of me!
Mandy: Mary, we have got to get rid of the evil in you.
Mandy: It’s god’s will.
Mandy: “God’s will.” What?
Mandy: He died for your sins.
Mandy: Okay, wait a second. So, are you not going to accept our intervention here?
Mandy: You mean kidnapping? No.
Mandy: You are backsliding into the flames of hell.
Mandy: You’ve become a maggot for sin. We’ve all witnessed it.
Mandy: It’s her. Veronica acting all pure. What about last spring break at the Promisemakers rally, huh?
Mandy: Oh, my god. You are making accusations as we’re trying to save your soul? Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you.
Mandy: You don’t know the first thing about love.
Mandy: I am filled with Christ’s love.
[ Laughter ]
[ Cheers and applause ]
Conan: You can’t throw a bible.
Mandy: I know, I know.
[ Applause ]
Conan: Well, “saved!” Is now — you’re like a ninja with that bible. “Saved!” Is now playing in select cities. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Mandy: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Conan: Mandy Moore, everybody.