What Evan Rachel Wood Said About Marilyn Manson's 2007 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' Music Video Before 'Phoenix Rising' in 2022


Evan's Obsession With Nabokov's Lolita

On July 7, 2009, after the second breakup of Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood, when she was dating Shane West, Vanity Fair published an interview with Evan Rachel Wood to promote her film Whatever Works. Whatever Works is a film directed by Woody Allen and is about a middle-aged, misanthropic divorcé (Larry David) from New York City who surprisingly enters a fulfilling, Pygmalion-type relationship with a much younger, unsophisticated Southern girl (Evan Rachel Wood).

During this interview, Evan was asked about Nabokov's Lolita, since the film is about the relationship of a young girl and a much older man, and she talked about her obsession as a young girl with Nabokov's Lolita. It is clear from the interview that Evan did not view her relationship with Manson as being in the "Lolita-like" territory, since she does not even mention him. Instead she viewed her relationship with Manson as being between two consenting adults, despite the age difference. This interview took place more than two years after the 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' video was filmed and released.

"Melody and Boris don't actually kiss in this movie. Is that what makes it non-creepy? As long as it's platonic, it's okay to have romantic feelings for an older man?"

"Yeah. As funny as that would've been, I'm glad we never crossed that line. Nobody can give us a hard time about their relationship being creepy or weird. It's not some old guy's wet dream. It's just a sweet comedy about a very unlikely pair."

"So would it be fair to say you're not a big Nabokov fan?"

"That would be unfair. Not a Nabokov fan? I'm a huge Nabokov fan!"

"Well now you've confused me. You think old dudes having sex with young girls is creepy and weird, and yet you love Nabokov. How is that not a contradiction?"

"It depends on how it's handled. Whatever Works is just not about a sexual relationship at all. These characters both feel alone, and their personalities couldn't be more opposite, and they're fascinated by each other. Boris needs somebody to take care of him, and Melody loves taking care of people. But it's not real love. It's just comfort. If we were going into Lolita territory, that's a whole different story."

"So you wouldn't be opposed to exploring your Lolita freaky side?"

"Well, I kinda have. In Down in the Valley, I was sixteen and my character had a relationship with Edward Norton. But that's as Lolita freaky as I've gotten. I do have an obsession with the Nabokov book. I collect heart-shaped glasses—I have about fifty pairs right now—and I used to dress up like Lolita all the time as a teenager, right down to the one sock. I was hardcore."

"Did that freak out your parents? Lolita's not exactly the most wholesome role model for a teenage girl."

"Yeah, my mother was a little worried when she realized I was reading it and loving it so much. I was home-schooled since the seventh grade, so I didn't have the required reading you usually get in public school. I got to choose which books I wanted to read. So when my mom noticed I'd picked up Lolita, it definitely made her nervous. She was like, 'I didn't know you were going to be reading that kinda stuff.' I was like, 'Oh c'mon, Mom! It's Nabokov! It's a classic!'"

"You briefly dated Marilyn Manson, who's a decade or two older than you. Why didn't that work out? Was he just getting a little rusty around the edges?"

"Oh no, no, not at all. It wasn't either of our faults. We both still really love each other. I think we're just in different places."

"Seriously, you can tell me the truth. It was about the age difference, right? Marilyn's all about the early-bird senior discount at Denny's, isn't he? His idea of an active social life involves naps and ibuprofen?"

(Laughs.) "Noooo. That had nothing to do with it. It's just that I'm about to move to New York and he's constantly on tour and it was just getting really hard for us to be apart for so long."

"And also, the last time you saw him he was wearing black socks and sandals?"

(Laughs.) "No, that's not in any way true. We really tried to make it work. We gave it another shot and did our best."

"Just answer me this: Are his ears hairier than the top of his head?"

(Laughs.) "Not at all."

 
All Polaroids taken by Marilyn Manson for the 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' video.

The 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' Video

Marilyn Manson released the album Eat Me, Drink Me on June 5, 2007. In many ways it is a biographical album about the depression he felt after his divorce in December 2006 and the renewed life he felt when he became friends with Evan and began dating in January 2007. The song 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' was inspired by Evan, which Manson wrote after Evan came to his house one day wearing one of her fifty heart-shaped glasses in her collection, as seen on the movie poster for Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film Lolita. Since it was inspired by Evan, Manson had her star in the music video (being payed for her role more than anyone other actress in a music video) and it became the first single off the album.

Manson explained during an interview with Energy in 2007 that Evan wore those glasses that day as a joke because people were comparing their relationship to the 1955 novel:

"People think that because she's younger than me that there's a 'Lolita' relationship there. We thought that was very amusing to us. When I saw her wearing those, the first thing I said to her was, 'If you break my heart, I'll break your glasses.' And I meant it in an almost violent way but also in a romantic way."

He added that much of Eat Me, Drink Me was a result of his romance with Evan, who he called his "twin."

The video begins with Manson and Evan having passionate sex (although the footage is not explicit in any way) with the song Evidence playing in the background. After the short sex scene is over, Manson and Evan are shown in a car driving recklessly while Manson is taking pictures of Evan posing with a butcher knife. After this, the song begins to play, and Manson is shown performing in front of a crowd in a dimly-lit room, while Evan is seen dancing in the midst of the crowd wearing heart-shaped glasses. The performance is interspliced with scenes of them driving and having sex while blood rains down upon them. At the end of the song, they are shown again driving the car as they utter the words "Together as one - against all others", right before driving off a cliff.


What Evan Said About 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' in August 2007

In her August 8, 2007 interview with GQ magazine, Evan talks about her involvement in the video. After making it clear to the interviewer that there was no real sex involved, she said:

"We made it for each other. I just wanted to show that it’s okay to have different, weird ideas about romance. At the end of the video, we’re kissing and it’s raining blood—and for me, that was one of the most romantic moments of my entire life."

She further explained:

"Because that’s how we were feeling at the time: Even though ugliness can be all around you — you can literally be in a thunderstorm of blood — if you look past that, it really is just two people holding on to each other. And you know, the same thing with the sex scene. If you’re going to have a sex scene, that’s what it is. When you’re with someone and you’re in love, that’s usually what happens. It’s not always soft. Sometimes it’s somebody screaming or whatever."

When Evan said this, the interviewer describes herself as looking at her with a blank stare, and Evan further explains:

"Look, if somebody can watch it and say, 'Wow! I feel less weird now!' then that’s great. Somebody’s got to stand up for the freaks!"


What Evan Said About 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' in September 2007
 
In September 2007, Nylon ran a cover story titled "Evan Rachel Wood: 'It Got Crazier Than I Thought'. Here she describes her relationship with Manson after around ten months of dating him. An excerpt from the article is below:

And if you're wondering what it looks like when Wood and Manson collaborate, just watch his 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' video: The couple has sex, with Manson's black-fingernailed hands splayed across her breasts as she screams like she's been stabbed; they drink and drive in a vintage convertible; play with knives; make out in a rain shower of blood; take Polaroids of each other; and he performs on stage while she watches, transfixed and clutching her hands between her legs. It's a portrait of consumptive love, of two people obsessed with each other. Wood was reportedly the highest paid of any actress ever to appear in a music video, a term Manson insisted upon, since, he said, the song was inspired by her and there was no one else who could do it. Wood, for her part, insists she would have done the video even if she and Manson weren't dating, just for a chance to work with him. When I ask her about how the idea for the video came about, she laughs.

"Well, first came the heart-shaped glasses..." she says. "I've had them since I was 15, because I used to dress like Lolita. Not like full on, but I always had something, like I wore ruffle socks every day, even if I was wearing jeans, and saddle shoes and would sometimes do my hair in braids. When we started hanging out, I knew that people would immediately make the Lolita reference, and so as a joke, I showed up at his house one day wearing the glasses. He said he was going to write a song about it, and he actually did."

When it came time to do a video for it, Manson and Wood were watching a lot of movies like True Romance and Bonnie and Clyde because "that's kind of how we were feeling at the time." They started to write their own script, and it eventually turned into the treatment for the video. When the video was released, Wood admits, things got even crazier than she ever thought they would. "All these rumors started floating around, and everybody thought we were just trying to exploit our relationship and were viewing the video as a sex tape," she says. "But it wasn't supposed to be playing ourselves. It was just a music video, it was a video!"

There was a good side to all of that, though. "It was right at the start of taking all the heat for the relationship, so it was really nice for us to be able to do something creative together and something we considered romantic. At the time, I was like, 'I know in my heart that this comes from a good place, and a romantic place for us, and I know that most people aren't going to understand it. But I just need to do something for me, and I cannot care what anybody else thinks about it.' It really gave me a kind of strength that I needed at the time," she says. "Because I knew then that it was a time in my life where I was probably going to have to be stronger and braver than I'd ever had to be, so if I could do this and put this out and get through it, then I'd be OK."

I tell her that from an outsider's perspective, she seems just fine. "I hope so. If you'd talked to me a couple of months ago, I might have seemed a little more frazzled. I'm kind of in a good place right now, where any negativity towards it, I've really heard it all, and it just doesn't bother me anymore."


 
What Evan Said About 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' in November 2008

In her interview for Interview Magazine published in November 2008, Evan was asked: "Tell me about making 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' with [Manson]." She replied:

"I don’t really want to talk about Manson all that much, and the only time I’ve wanted to is because of that video. I know people think it’s about our relationship, but to me it was a project, so I don’t have a problem talking about it or the experience. We had an unspoken agreement that we were doing it for ourselves, and if people responded to it, they responded to it. If they didn’t, they didn’t. I wasn’t doing it to shock anybody or to be rebellious or to get attention. I was more proud of that than anything because it took a lot of strength and bravery to put myself out there like that. It was a risk. I’m glad that I did it because usually the best things I’ve done have come from the biggest risks. Thirteen was a risk and that was amazing."
 
 
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