"I love being in romantic movies. I love being in love, and playing in love," says Amanda Seyfried. "That's one of the things I'm drawn to." Seyfried, who has starred in the blockbuster romantic films "Dear John" and "Letters to Juliet," finds herself playing yet another loved-up role in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's The Way We Get By, beginning April 28 at Second Stage Theatre.
Seyfried can say little more about her character Beth, as the play promises more than a few surprises and plot twists. What she is able to reveal is that it is LaBute's "most romantic and his most inspiring play. It's different from his other stuff. It's such a beautiful, heartfelt, and uplifting story." The story follows an encounter between Beth and Doug — played by Tony nominee Thomas Sadoski — after the two spend the night together following a drunken wedding reception.
Seyfried says that Beth is "at the end of her rope" when it comes to relationships, and that she is able to relate to that. "She's done the whole casual dating thing. I did that; and you come to a point where you think, 'I need something more, a deeper connection.' Of course I relate to that. I relate to her frustration." A New York City resident, Seyfried admits that she's grateful to have never had to brave the city's infamous dating scene. "I wouldn't date here," she says. "The whole Tinder thing? I'm so glad I missed that boat."
Seyfried is making her stage debut in The Way We Get By, which is perhaps surprising considering she shot to international fame following her starring role in the 2008 musical film "Mamma Mia!" She then appeared, in another singing role, in the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Les Misérables alongside Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. "I've come close [to doing stage]" she says, "I've danced with the idea of doing Broadway or Off-Broadway for about five years… but it never felt right. This is the perfect first play." Seyfried moved to New York when she was just 16 to work on a soap opera and has been working in both film and television consistently since. She says that acting for the stage is "way harder" than she thought it would be. "There's a huge difference," she admits, "I find myself wanting to run into the arms of my actor friends and wanting to say, 'Help me!'" Seyfried says that Tony Award and Oscar winner Alan Arkin, with whom she is working with on a new film, has offered her some great advice.
Seyfried is certain that her transition to the stage, however difficult, will prove to be a valuable learning experience. "I believe this will change my life in terms of my career," she says. "I spend my life acting and I've been doing it a certain way up to this point and now this has just turned everything on its back." She is also hopeful about taking on more theatre projects in the future.
When asked what her dream role would be, Seyfried shyly confesses that she'd love to play Sylvia from A.R. Gurney's comedy of the same name. "It's such a good play. Maybe one day if they bring it to Broadway… maybe I could be good enough. I love my dog more than anything, and I would love to embody a dog. It would be so fun; it's so physical and would be such a good challenge."
"I don't ever see myself doing a musical," Seyfried says, perhaps to the disappointment of her fans. "I don't have the discipline it takes… I had a hard time doing 'Les Miz.' It's too technical for me." Though she says that she would consider the musical adaptation of "Mean Girls," currently being penned by husband and wife duo Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond. Seyfried starred in the 2004 film version alongside Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. "I would consider that. I'm sure it will be really funny," she says. "If I get through this and I'm still alive… I will reach out and see what the deal is."
Seyfried is a self-confessed theatre junkie who tries to see everything on Broadway when she has the chance. "I haven't seen Hamilton yet, but now I'm going to wait until it's on Broadway," she says excitedly. Doing this play has given her the opportunity to see more theatre than usual. Being in New York for an extended period is a welcome luxury for the busy star, whose schedule often sees her flying all over the world for various projects. "With my schedule, my life, I'm always on a plane and this is another beautiful reason to do a play... Springtime is coming. I can walk to work," she says.
It's almost enough to make her forget about the pressures and challenges of making her stage debut — but not quite. "It's really intense," Seyfried admits before smiling and adding, "I am jumping into a hole, but you know what, it's worth it."