Maui Film Festival honors Wood, Manganiello

Jun. 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
PHOTOS COURTESY THE MAUI FILM FESTIVAL / GETTY IMAGESMAUI FILM FESTIVAL FOUNDER BARRY RIVERS, LET, WITH FESTIVAL HONOREES LUPITA NYONG'O, EVAN RACHEL WOOD, JOE MANGANIELLO AND EMMA ROBERTS.

PHOTOS COURTESY THE MAUI FILM FESTIVAL / GETTY IMAGES

MAUI FILM FESTIVAL FOUNDER BARRY RIVERS, LET, WITH FESTIVAL HONOREES LUPITA NYONG’O, EVAN RACHEL WOOD, JOE MANGANIELLO AND EMMA ROBERTS ON THURSDAY.

BY MALIKA DUDLEY / Special to the Star-Advertiser

WAILEA, Maui — Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Manganiello were honored Friday as the 2014 Maui Film Festival hit its halfway point.

Also sharing the spotlight was the Taste of Chocolate at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, which featured decadent desserts and stars such as James Marsden (“X-Men,” “Anchorman 2”) and Chris Noth, perhaps best-known as Mr. Big from HBO’s “Sex and the City” franchise.

Wood seems perfectly aligned with the concept of the festival’s Nova Award, which she accepted at the Grand Wailea’s Seaside Cinema. As the program said, she “infuses each character … with insight, humanity and wisdom.” Those traits were evident in her personality off-screen as well.

“I’ve always chosen roles that I connect with on a deep level and that I thought brought something new to the table, that pushed a boundary,” she said. “Whether they made you laugh or cry they made you feel something.”

Wood, 26, had a recurring role in the HBO hit series “True Blood” and scored Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for her supporting role as the selfish Veda in HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” as well as Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe noms for Best Actress for her role in 2003 indie film “Thirteen.” She also starred in “The Wrestler” and “Across the Universe.”

Wood looked stunning in a cream and black “carbon” dress from Peggy Hartanto’s Quantum collection; you would never guess she gave birth just 10 months ago. Along with new film projects, she also hinted at the possibility of recording her own album sometime in the future.

She also said she was enjoying her first trip to Hawaii.

“It’s pretty breathtaking. This is a nice change of pace from the normal festival circuit, that’s for sure,” she said. “The people (are my favorite). Everyone is so laid back and kind and at peace; it’s great.”

While Wood appeared thoughtful and demure, her “True Blood” co-star was energetic and friendly. Manganiello has a huge personality and made everyone around him feel at ease. He even submitted to a fan’s request for a “True Blood” werewolf growl with a deep, guttural (and sexy) snarl.

The 37-year-old is swooned over by ladies around the world, and with good reason. There’s no denying he’s still in great, as he puts it, “‘Magic Mike’ shape.” Manganiello is currently filming the final season of “True Blood,” in which he plays werewolf Alcide Herveaux. Moviegoers may also remember him from 2012’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” He recently added published author to his resume with the release of his first book, “Evolution.”

Manganiello was presented the Triple Threat Award for his role as a director, actor and producer. He also screened his new documentary, “La Bare,” about a male strip club in Dallas at the Celestial Cinema. It wasn’t his first try at directing.

“I’ve been directing since I was in high school,” he said. “I was the kid who borrowed TV cameras and stayed after school, writing TV shows and sleeping with a pad and pen next to my bed. It was my first love.”

The film is set for release June 27 in select theatres, with video on demand and cable release to follow.

“I can’t wait to unleash it on Maui,” he said before Friday’s late-night screening.

Next up, Manganiello will shoot a movie in July, followed by “Magic Mike 2” filming in the fall. He’s also writing a new book and is working with his brother and their production company, 359, on several projects.

“I look for magic in life,” he said when asked about his passions outside Hollywood. “Whether it’s watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean on a night that our film is getting awarded with it’s first award or whether it’s relationships … meeting a friend you know you’re going to have for life, or the twinkle in someone’s eye. I’m really passionate about life.”

The Maui Film Festival runs through Sunday.
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Malika Dudley is a Maui-based meteorologist, entertainment reporter, jewelry designer and mother. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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