Mandy Moore

3 03 2007

Mandy MooreAmanda Leigh “Mandy” Moore (born April 10, 1984) is an American pop singer and actress. Moore grew up in Florida and came to fame as a teenager in 2000, after the release of her teen-oriented pop debut album So Real. Moore has branched out into a film career, starring in 2002’s successful teen film A Walk to Remember and later appearing in the lead roles of less well-received movies also aimed at teenage audiences. Two of her latest films, American Dreamz and Saved!, were parodies in which Moore portrayed darker characters than in her previous roles.

Moore’s private life, including her relationships with tennis player Andy Roddick and actors Wilmer Valderrama and Zach Braff, has been much-discussed in the media. She is scheduled to appear in several films during 2007 and is completing work on another album, Wild Hope, due for release the same year.

Early life

Moore was born in Nashua, New Hampshire to Stacy (a former newspaper reporter) and Don Moore (a pilot for American Airlines). She has Irish and Cherokee heritage on her father’s side; her maternal grandfather was Jewish and her English maternal grandmother was a professional dancer at the theater district in the West End of London, as well as a Wren during World War II; the two met and eloped to the United States after Moore’s maternal grandfather, an American soldier, was stationed in London during WWII. Moore has two brothers, Scott and Kyle; she grew up in Altamonte Springs, Florida, outside of Orlando, moving there shortly after her birth because of her father’s job. She was raised in the Catholic religion (although she is no longer a practicing Catholic) and attended Bishop Moore High School a Catholic school in Orlando, Florida and Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs.

Moore’s interest in singing grew after seeing the musical Oklahoma!; she was also encouraged to perform by her maternal grandmother, who was her inspiration. After she sang the national anthem at several athletic events, a FedEx employee spotted her and sent her demo to Epic Records, where she was subsequently signed to a record deal.

Music career

1999-2002: Early pop albums

Moore toured with the Backstreet Boys throughout 1999. Her first album, So Real, was released in December of that year and reached number thirty-one on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. At the time of the album’s release, reviewers considered Moore the latest in a series of heavily-marketed female singers described as “pop princesses”, akin to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson. Entertainment Weekly’s review noted that Moore’s songs, revolving around “not-yet-experienced love”, were performed with “suffocating professionalism”, and that the album’s ballads were “nauseating”. Moore was the last and youngest of Simpson, Aguilera and Spears to reach mainstream radio and was initially not as successful as they were, although So Real was certified platinum in the U.S. in early 2000 and sold nearly one million copies. Moore’s debut teen pop hit single “Candy”, which Yahoo! Movies described as “strangely provocative”, peaked just outside the top forty on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. All Music Guide noted the single was “mediocre” and “typical”, containing lyrics that described love “in terms of sugar treats”.

Moore released I Wanna Be with You, a re-worked version of her debut album, in May 2000. The album, which was mostly completed with synthesizers, bass, guitar, and drums, comprised new songs alongside tracks and remixes from So Real. Several reviewers criticized it on the basis that it was a remix album and not a true followup, with All Music Guide writing that its style was “trashier, flashier, gaudier, and altogether more disposable” than its predecessor. It peaked at number twenty-one on the Billboard 200, was certified gold in the U.S. and sold nearly 792,000 copies. The title track “I Wanna Be with You” was the album’s only single and reached number twenty-four on the Hot 100, Moore’s highest peak to date. It was also featured on the soundtrack of the film Center Stage (2000).

Moore released the self-titled album Mandy Moore — which included the songs “Saturate Me” (a hip-hop ballad), “You Remind Me” and “In My Pocket” — in June 2001. She promoted the album with her first headlining concert, “Mandy Moore Live@ShoutBack”. The album contained uptempo tracks and influences from Eastern music and was described as a “lush, layered production” by All Music Guide. It received mixed reviews from critics, although Entertainment Weekly noted that Moore tried out “new sounds” and “a breathy Natalie Imbruglia vibe [on the album] … as teen pop goes, it could be a lot worse”, while Rolling Stone magazine positively described Moore as “more protorocker than R&B wanna-be” and said she was taking the “high road” compared to her first two albums. The album debuted at number thirty-five on the Billboard 200, was later certified gold in the U.S. and sold 443,000 copies. Lead single “In My Pocket”, which Entertainment Weekly said contained “pumping, Indian influenced Euro disco”, did not appear on the Hot 100; Moore performed the song live several times, including on the 2001 Fox network television special Teenapalooza. The album’s follow-up single, “Crush”, also failed to appear on the U.S. chart, although MTV aired the music video frequently (it was Moore’s first number-one video on TRL). The early 2002 release of the final single, “Cry”, tied in with the film A Walk to Remember, Moore’s debut as a lead actress.

In 2006, Moore commented on her early albums with ill feelings, noting that although she believed her first was appropriate for her age, she felt it “sucked” and that her first albums were “just awful”. Moore also said that she “would give a refund to everyone who bought my first two albums” if she could; during a radio interview in April 2006, the show’s co-host (who had seen her comments) asked her for a refund on the first album, a request that Moore fulfilled.

2003-present: Coverage, compilations, and new contract

In October of 2003, Moore released her fourth album Coverage, which All Music Guide characterised as a “leap to musical maturity” and which Entertainment Weekly called an “effort to shed her bubblegum-blond image”. It consisted of covers of 1970s and 1980s songs that influenced Moore as a child; Moore noted that she did not want to “top the original artist[s]”, but rather offer her “own interpretation” of their music. Entertainment Weekly described the album’s style as “overblown with strings, turntable scratching, and arena-rock pomp”, while E! Online said that Moore’s voice has grown “stronger” and that she “sounds at home” performing the re-mixes. Coverage peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard 200 (her highest ranking to date), but “Have a Little Faith in Me”, its only single, did not perform well on the charts, although it did debut within the top forty. Moore’s cover of “I Feel the Earth Move” appeared on Love Rocks, a compilation CD of songs from gay rights supporters.

Because of low sales for Coverage, Sony’s Epic Records dropped Moore. The company released the hits compilation album The Best of Mandy Moore, which reached number 148 on the Billboard 200, in November 2004 as a final obligation to Moore’s contract. Another compilation, Candy, followed in 2005. During this time period, the only music Moore had recorded was a song demo, “Hey!”, written by James Renald, and a cover version of Lori McKenna’s “Beautiful Man”, which was posted to her MySpace.

In early 2006, Moore stated that she misses her music career and that singing is what she is the “most passionate about”. Moore had signed to Sire Records after her contract with Epic Records ended, but left the company in May 2006. She signed with a new EMI Music-owned record company, The Firm, in July of that year, describing her new contract as “especially exciting”, and adding that she left Sire Records because she did not want to “follow the mainstream”, but rather have “complete control and freedom” over her work. Moore’s new album, Wild Hope, is scheduled for release on June 19, 2007, and will feature collaborations with artists Chantal Kreviazuk, Michelle Branch, Rachael Yamagata and Lori McKenna. Moore stayed alone in a house in Woodstock, Upstate New York while recording the album in late 2006. Moore performed new material from the album at the Sundance Film Festival; another new song, “Extraordinary”, premiered on her MySpace profile on January 29, 2007.

Television and film career

2000

During the summer of 2000, Moore hosted a half-hour MTV talk show, The Mandy Moore Show, which resumed in the summer of 2001 under the title Mandy. Moore was also a Neutrogena spokesperson, appearing in commercials and print ads for the product. She has modelled for Penshoppe in the Philippines, Coach handbags in Japan, and was a spokesperson for the School and Youth Programs of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

2001-02

In 2001, Moore appeared in a small part as the mean and popular cheerleader Lana Thomas opposite actresses Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews in the film The Princess Diaries. During the film, Moore’s character performs “Stupid Cupid”, a song from the film’s soundtrack. In 2002 Moore had her first starring role in a major feature film in A Walk to Remember, which co-starred Shane West. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the film revolves around the developing romance between a Protestant minister’s daughter (played by Moore) and an unruly teenager (played by West). The film was moderately successful, bringing in $41 million in the United States, and establishing Moore’s status as a lead actress. Although critics received it negatively, Moore received several positive notices for her performance, with critic Roger Ebert calling her “quietly convincing”. At that summer’s MTV Movie Awards, Moore won an award for “Breakthrough Female Performance” for her role. The same year, she voiced the Final Fantasy VII character Aerith Gainsborough in the Square Enix-Disney crossover video game Kingdom Hearts, was featured in the music video for Elton John’s “Original Sin”, and was ranked number sixty-seven in Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women in the World”.

2003-04

In 2003, Moore starred in the romantic comedy film How to Deal, which failed to draw in the teenage crowds in the U.S. and grossed a total of $14 million domestically. Her next film was 2004’s Chasing Liberty, a romantic comedy that grossed approximately $12 million. Both films received negative reviews; critic Ebert once again singled Moore’s performances out, noting in his review of How to Deal that Moore has “an unaffected natural charm” and “almost makes the movie worth seeing”, and adding that she has “undeniable screen presence and inspires instant affection” in his Chasing Liberty review. Other critics described her as an “actress of limited range”, though one review of Chasing Liberty noted that she is the “most painless of former pop princesses”. Later that summer, Moore appeared in a lead role in the religion satire Saved!, in which she played Hilary Faye, a proper and popular girl at a Christian school. The film was positively reviewed, though it did not receive a wide release. Moore received praise for her performance, with one critic calling her a “demented delight” and another naming it her best performance to date.

2005

In 2005, Moore lent her voice to the film Racing Stripes; she was also originally scheduled to star in the films Cursed, Havoc and The Upside of Anger, all of which were eventually released in 2005 without Moore’s involvement. Moore has appeared on the television series Entourage and guest-starred in two episodes of Scrubs in 2006. The same year, she lent her voice to The Simpsons, playing Tabitha Vixx in an episode which aired in May.

2006

Moore next appeared in the parody American Dreamz, which was released in April of 2006. In the film, she played a deranged contestant on a television series modelled after American Idol. Director Paul Weitz said he had Moore in mind for the role even before she was cast, explaining that “there’s something inherently sweet about Mandy; it makes it all the more interesting to see her in a villainess role”. Moore has said that she enjoys playing mean-spirited characters but fears being typecast as a villain. American Dreamz opened at number nine at the U.S. box office and received mixed reviews; critic Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, however, wrote that Moore and co-star Hugh Grant have a “wicked barbed chemistry” in their roles, while Variety’s Robert Koehler said Moore’s role was a “pitch-perfect study of a woman for whom a reality show is reality”. In the same year, in what ComingSoon.net’s review described as a “surprisingly good performance”, Moore voiced Nita, the heroine of the animated sequel Brother Bear 2, which was released directly-to-DVD on August 29. She was also originally cast to appear in that year’s ensemble film Bobby, but was replaced by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

2007-present

Moore, citing her conservative upbringing, has expressed dissatisfaction with her appearance on a May 2006 cover of Cosmopolitan; the magazine’s headline is “orgasms unlimited”, which refers to an article unrelated to her. Her most recent film is the romantic comedy Because I Said So, co-starring Gabriel Macht and Diane Keaton. It was released on February 2, 2007. Moore’s upcoming films include Southland Tales, Dedication, as well as License to Wed, in which she portrays a young bride who has to complete a two-week prenup course before her wedding. Co-starring John Krasinski as her fiance and Robin Williams as a minister, the film was shot in Mexico and Los Angeles and is scheduled for release on July 4, 2007.

Personal life

Moore dated actor Wilmer Valderrama for eighteen months between 2000 and 2002; in 2006, Valderrama appeared on the Howard Stern Show and detailed that he and Moore were each other’s “first loves”, although he did not claim that their relationship was sexual, as was alleged by several media sources who had misquoted his exact comments. Moore later referred to Valderrama as a “good guy” and a “gentleman”, although she has stated that his comments about their relationship were “utterly tacky.” Moore began dating tennis star Andy Roddick in 2002; Roddick ended the relationship in March of 2004. Moore also dated Philippines-born singer/actor Billy Crawford for a “few months” when she was younger.

In 2004, Moore began dating Scrubs actor Zach Braff, whom she met around November 2004. Referring to Braff, Moore said that she likes “good Jewish boy(s)… with a sense of humor”. In 2006, the two were incorrectly reported to be engaged; they ended their relationship the same year. In early 2007, Moore was linked by press reports to Adam Goldstein, known professionally as “DJ AM”, although representatives of the two have declined to comment on their relationship.

Moore’s favorite musicians are Elton John and Bette Midler; Midler is also Moore’s favorite actress, and her film Beaches was Moore’s favorite film when she was a teenager. Moore also enjoys Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and has described herself as a “glass-half-full kind of person”. She currently lives in her Hollywood Hills house with her brother, Kyle. Moore considers herself spiritual, and has said that she does not think of herself as distinctly Catholic nor Christian. In early 2007, Moore stated that during the previous year, she had undergone a “really crazy time” in her life, asking herself “life-altering questions”.

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