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"I’ve actually been to Sundance before, for ‘Digging to China,’" she says, "but I was only nine. This time, it really hit me that everyone in the industry is here, and everyone’s going to see me."
Wood, a native of Raleigh, N.C., moved here when she was nine with her mother and older brother Ira, also an actor.
"Thirteen," she says, is her most emotionally intense role yet.
"I play Holly Hunter’s daughter and it’s like playing five girls. At the beginning she’s still wearing elementary school clothes and by the end she gets completely corrupted, until finally she hits rock bottom and everything goes wrong and blows up in her face."
Wood’s own teenage turmoil came in handy for the role. "I’ve witnessed and gone through a lot of the same things," she says. "Instead of dredging up old wounds, it was like coming to the set with an open wound."
Of course, Wood’s on-film persona was much more extreme. "Nobody has ever seen that side of me. It was bad enough having to watch the movie with my mom," she says, "but my brother just had his head in his hands the whole time. I have to tell my friends to brace themselves."
Attention casting directors: Wood thinks the perfect antidote to all that angst would be a comedy project. "I don’t want to be known as the misery chick," she says. But no matter what part she takes next, with Jodie Foster as her role model, Wood plans to take a break.