Evan Rachel Wood Was ‘Actually Tripping’ During ‘I Am the Walrus’ Scene in ‘Across the Universe’

There’s nothing quite like cinema under the stars. The Los Angeles based screening org Cinespia understands that and for the last 22 years, founder John Wyatt and his team have been bringing people together for outdoor showings of classic films every summer at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Sponsored by Amazon & Wondery, this month and next features screenings of “D.E.B.S” for L.A. Pride, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?,” “Rocky” on July 4th with fireworks, and many more, but this past Saturday’s presentation of the 2007 Beatles musical “Across the Universe” had an extra special treat for guests. Star Evan Rachel Wood was there to introduce the film via video message and offered some fascinating tidbits on making it and the struggle getting it released, as well as the impact it had on her life and career.

A knee injury prevented Wood from attending in person, but sitting on the grass in her backyard as a way of commiserating with the audience, she told them, “The film you are about to watch, ‘Across the Universe,’ almost didn’t happen in a way because once we were done making the film, the head of the studio at the time wanted to change quite a bit. They wanted to remove anything political, anything queer, and anything psychedelic. So pretty much every cool part of this film would have ended up on the cutting room floor if it wasn’t for our amazing, wonderful genius director Julie Taymor. You can take a second to clap. She deserves it.”

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The fact that everyone was already clapping was indicative of Wood’s perfect sense of timing. Continuing her praise for Taymor, she said, “She’s a true visionary and has a lot of integrity and she stood her ground and got the entire cast to back her up and saying that we would remove our names from this film if they were to gut it in that way. So that’s how you’re able to see it the way it was intended.”

Though Wood was not there for the 4000-in-attendance screening, the impact of the crowd’s presence certainly seemed to have an effect on her.

“The fact that you guys are still coming out almost 20 years later in support of it means that we were right,” said Wood. “This film meant so much to everybody that worked on it. Cast and crew. We all poured our hearts and souls into this. We filmed it over the course of almost a year with a lot of preparation beforehand. It was made by Beatles fans for Beatles fans. And it was the most special experience I ever had making a movie.”

The film, which is set in the ‘60s and addresses issues around the Vietnam War, was made during a time when Americans were once again at war, this time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spoke to the need to fight for peace. Seeing how we’re in a very similar place today, Wood said, “We filmed it during a turbulent time and we thought that it was relevant to be making it then, but I almost feel like in a way it’s even more relevant now and the themes of course, remain the same, especially all you need is love and love is all you need.”

Closing out her message, Wood provided some interesting color to the “I Am the Walrus” sequence featuring Bono. She told the audience, “Anything that takes place in Luna Park’s Loft, Doctor Roberts Publisher — the Psychedelic Loft. Yeah. Me, Jim Sturgess, and Joe Anderson, we’re all actually tripping and Julie Taymor didn’t know until after the fact. And when we told her, she said, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’”

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