• "i don't really have a problem with just wanting sex"
2005 is shaping up to be Jessica Alba's year. She is un-believably gorgeous, totally in love, and has movies coming out this year. Everything about the 23-year-old Jessica - from her megawatt smile down to her hip wardrobe - just screams "actress on the rise."
Of Mexican, Danish and French descent, the Southern California native made her film debut at age 13 in Camp Nowhere. Then came a Nickelodeon series called The Secret World of Alex Mack and the TV show Flipper, for which she moved to Australia to film at age 14. The brainy babe took advanced-placement courses with a tutor during her two years on Flipper and earned her high school diploma at age 16. She allotted herself two years to make it big in Hollywood...or else go off to college like everyone else she knew.
Being cast in 1999's Never Been Kissed gave her the confidence she needed to continue to pursue her acting dreams. Later came her starring role in the popular Fox series Dark Angel and 2003's sexy dance flick Honey.
And now her hard work and patience are really paying off. This year she stars in Into The Blue and Fantastic Four.
Q: Your body is featured prominently in your movies - you were a dancer in Honey, and now you're in a bathing suit for almost every scene of Into The Blue. Do you ever have body anxiety?
A: I get self-conscious, but you just have to embrace it and go with it. I remember being in my underwear in my hotel room, trying to get comfortable.
Q: Have you always had a curvy figure?
A: When I went from girl body to woman body and all of a sudden I had tits and hips and a little tummy and natural fat in places, I freaked out. I went through puberty really early, when I was 11. It makes you weird - you know, like your uncle is hugging you a little bit longer than he used to. I used to be about 20 pounds lighter. Sometimes I don't like my thighs or stomach, but whenever I get caught up in that, I always focus on the fact that I'm healthy now.
Q: What were you like growing up?
A: I never fit in with my peer group, I never hung out with kids my age - I always wanted to hang out with my mom and her girlfriends. I was on a TV show when I was 13, and I had a tutor for high school, everyone was like, "Oh, you're missing out on the high school experience," so I'd go with my cousins to parties where I would be a keg and people doing body shots and playing quarter. I was like, "What a waste of time." I didn't like doing E and making out with a guy three years older than me who's a loser.
Q: Do you think it's important for girls to play the field a bit before settling down?
A: I just wanted to see what it was like to be with different people. I don't think a girl's a slut if she enjoys sex. I could have a one-night stand, and I'm the kind of girl who looks over in the morning and is like, "Do you really have to be here?" I don't really have a problem with just wanting sex. Never have. But now I'm done with dating around.
Q: So, you're dating someone seriously now?
A: Yes, his name is Cash...he's not famous. He might be The One. It was kind of love-at-first-sight thing. But I met him when I was dating someone else, so it started off as a friendship. I was actually attracted to his spirit and mind before it went to a physical place. We're both old people in young people's bodies. The first week that we kind of got together, he gave me a note and signed it with a dollar sign, because his name is Cash. It just said, "I really, really like you." And that was exactly how I felt at that time. Really, really liking him too much...I was already in love with him.
Q: You seem pretty comfortable with who you are, but is there a quality about yourself you really wish you could change?
A: I think my temper. back to the top
• "she wanted a place she can make her own"
Keira Knightley is moving away from her native London to live full-time in Hollywood.
The 20-year-old has bought an exclusive apartment near Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and plans to move in with boyfriend Jamie Dornan as soon as possible.
But Knightley, who is currently filming a sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean will have to wait until refurbishments on the property have been completed.
An inside says, "Keira and Jamie are both being offered a lot of exciting movie projects, so she just felt it was the right time to buy a property near Hollywood.
"Keira hates staying in hotel rooms. She wanted a place she can make her own." back to the top
• new horror film for "angel" actress
According to Fangoria, Charisma Carpenter is to star in a new feature called Voodoo Moon from IDT Entertainment, the company behind the Masters of Horror series.
The movie is set in a Midwestern town where a personification of the devil kills the entire population except a young boy named Cole and his sister. Twenty years later, the grown-up Cole (Resident Evil's Eric Mabius), who has been pursuing the devil, prepares for a final confrontation, while his sister (Charisma) has developed the ability to sense disasters and death, and expresses them in her artwork. Cole calls on those he has helped over the years to assist him in his showdown with Satan, including a cop (Jeffrey Combs) and a biker (John Amos). The cast also includes Geoffrey Lewis (Devil's Rejects), Jayne Heitmeyer, Kim Hawthorne, Rik Young and Rey Gallegos. back to the top
• she'll leave midway through season 2
In a not wholly unsurprising move, it's been announced that Billie Piper is quitting Doctor Who next season.
According to The Sun, a BBC insider said: "Billie's really proved herself as an actress in Doctor Who and she's been bombarded with offers of work both in England and in America."
"Billie will feature in some of the second series. But her character Rose won't be the Doctor Who companion at the end of it.
"It's a nine-month hard slog filming, Chris and Billie were knackered."
Piper will feature in between three and seven episodes of season 2, as well as the Christmas special, which will be incoming Doctor David Tennant's first full episode.
There's no news yet on how Rose will be written out, but hopefully this news means that we won't have to put up with Jackie and Mickey in too many more episodes. It's also to be hoped that the Daily Star's assertion that Noel Clarke's Mickey will be the new companion is the load of rubbish that it appears to be.
Expect a constant stream of actresses in their late teens and early 20s getting their agents to claim they're being "linked with the role" between now and the announcement of Piper's successor. back to the top
• "kickboxing is probably out"
Alias creator J.J. Abrams has said that Jennifer Garner's pregnancy "will affect" how the series' fifth season will be shot.
"It will affect [shooting]," said Abrams. "But I think we have overcome a lot of other issues and things. I think the show will be a little bit different because of it, but Jennifer is so excited about everything right now..."
When asked how he planned to write Garner's growing belly into the show, Abrams replied, "I think every alias [she plays] will just be a pregnant person. [laughs]"
With regard to Garner's physically demanding scenes, the producer says she will probably have to take it easy this season. "I'm sure kickboxing is probably out."
Meanwhile, according to USA Today, the cast believes that next season will be the series' fifth and final year. back to the top
• what's back and what's new: abc, cbs and the wb
With the current TV season coming to a close, the US networks have been unveiling their line-ups for the 2005-06 season.
ABC has renewed three series starring actresses who regularly feature on GKA - Alias and two series starring former Roswell actresses, Grey's Anatomy (Katherine Heigl) and Lost (Emilie De Ravin).
Jennifer Garner returns as superspy Sydney Bristow for the fifth season on Alias, which sees the series move to 8pm on Thursdays.
J.J. Abrams' other series, Lost, was one of the most successful new series of 2004-05 and it returns on Wednesday nights next year, albeit at the new time of 9pm.
ABC have announced that the order for Grey's Anatomy has been upped to 22 episodes, and with four still in the can from this season's order, there will be 26 new episodes available to air in 2005-06. The series returns in its post-Desperate Housewives slot at 10pm on Sundays.
Over on CBS, Alyson Hannigan stars in How I Met Your Mother (Monday, 8.30pm). Here's the network's blurb:
How I Met Your Mother is a comedy about Ted (Josh Radnor) and how he fell inlove. It all started when Ted's best friend, Marshall (Jason Segel, Freaks and Geeks), drops the bombshell that he's going to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Lily (Alyson Hannigan, American Pie), a kindergarten teacher. At that moment, Ted realises that he had better get a move on if he hopes to find true love, too. Helping him in his quest is Barney (Neil Patrick Harris, Doogie Howser, M.D.), a friend with endless, sometimes outrageous, opinions, a penchant for suits and a fool-proof way to meet women. When Ted meets Robin (Cobie Smulders, Veritas: The Quest), he's sure it's love at first sight, but destiny may have something else in store. With voice-over by Bob Saget (Full House), the show is told through flashbacks from the future. Carter Bays & Craig Thomas (Late Show with David Letterman) are executive producers for Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Angel's Amy Acker stars in The Unit, a midseason action drama starring 24's Dennis Haysbert, Scott Foley (Felicity) and Robert Patrick (The X Files), while Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a young newlywed with the ability to communicate with the earthbound spirits of people who have died, in Ghost Whisperer (Friday, 8pm).
Meanwhile, The WB has opted to anchor its schedule with returning shows at 8pm on all six nights it broadcasts, with Charmed back on Sundays and Smallville moving to Thursdays. back to the top
• "it's nice to expose them to new things"
Jessica Alba says that she couldn't wait for her family's reaction t her semi-naked character in Sin City - as one of her favourite pastimes is shocking them.
The actress admits her parents live an unexciting life, so seeing her play a lasso-brandishing stripper in the film, which hit the US box office number one last month, is a necessary way to "expose them to new things".
She tells British movie magazine Hotdog, "I love shocking my parents so no, I'm not worried about them seeing the film.
"They live a very suburban life, just going to the supermarket and the shopping centre.
"It's nice to shake it up a little and expose them to new things." back to the top
• she plays an adult film star developing her own reality tv show
Sarah Michelle Gellar is shunning her wholesome image to play a porn star in Richard Kelly's new movie Southland Tales.
The Buffy actress will star alongside wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the film, which is set in Los Angeles in 2008.
The storyline weaves together the lives of an action star stricken with amnesia, an adult film star developing her own reality television show and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy - all taking place during a three-day heatwave and culminating in a huge Fourth of July celebration.
Kelly - acclaimed director of cult film Donnie Darko - is also writing a prequel to the movie, which will be published as six separate 100-age graphic novels in the run-up to the film's 2006 release. back to the top
• "anyone can look sexy in the right push-up bra"
Jessica Alba refuses to consider herself a sex symbol - because any woman can look desirable after hours in the make-up chair.
The actress, who stars as a stripper in her latest movie Sin City, insists all credit for her sexy screen appearance must go to the skilled team of make-up artists on set.
She tells movie magazine Hotdog, "After five hours of hair and make-up I can look sexy in the right push-up bra.
"But then so should anyone after five hours in hair and make-up and the right push-up bra.
"But when I wake up in the morning, do I think, 'Oh wow, I'm sexy?' Of course not." back to the top
• she turns down 50th anniversary show
Keira Knightley was one of three Hollywood actresses to snub ITV's 50th birthday celebrations, turning down a chance to talk about her early acting career for the show What Did ITV Do For Me?
Keira made several appearances on ITV, starting with The Bill episode Swan Song in 1995 through to her starring role in the 2002 mini-series Doctor Zhivago. However, only the latter can really be classed as a major role, and the actress had already starred in The Hole and Bend It Like Beckham by the time it was shown, both of which were much higher profile than a three-part ITV mini-series.
The two other refuseniks were Darling Buds of May star Catherine Zeta Jones and Kate Winslett. According to the ubiquitous "insider", ITV were particularly hurt by the former's refusal: "Catherine's refusal beggars belief. She owes her success to ITV. It's a huge snub." back to the top
• "she was like an excited child "
Last month we reported that Jennifer Garner was to direct this Wednesday's episode of Alias, called In Dreams...
"It was quite a surprise," Garner told zap2it.com. "I never had aspirations. I always made fun of people who said, 'What I really want to do is direct,' or actors who said they were dying to direct their shows. I didn't feel that way even the littlest bit.
"Then we lost a couple of directors to pilots, and the crew had started needling me about trying it this year. Suddenly I realised, I directed the 85th episode, so I had 84 of these, almost every single day, under my belt. I thought, 'Why couldn't I do this? I know more about this show than a lot of people, so why not?'
"I knew the crew would take care of me. There are a few people who can make a director, and we have excellent people in all of those jobs - the first assistant director, the director of photography and the script supervisor. I thought, 'What the hell?' So I gave it a try, and it was so fun."
In Dreams... features Joel Grey in his recurring role as the mystery man impersonating Arvin Sloane. Just like Sloane, Grey's character is a heat-seeking missile for all things Rambaldi.
Also on hand is Amy Irving, reprising her role as Sloane's late wife, Emily, although there's no news as to whether this is a flashback, a dream or some mysterious resurrection.
Garner says that fortunately Rifkin did a lot of the emotional heavy lifting in the episode, whose Los Angeles-area locations included the Huntingdon Gardens in San Marino and the historic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.
"I did have incredible actors," Garner says. "What it gave me was such an appreciation for how good the actors on the show are. Because when I'm in a scene with them, you're in it, you don't think about it. But getting to sit back and watch them do their thing, they're just so money.
"The thing is, if you have an actress like Amy Irving, you could print the first take and never go again, and you would look great. You'd look like a total stud."
Rifkin had this to say about the star turned director: "First day of rehearsal, I was struck by two things: She was very nervous, and oddly she was very confident, so that her nervous energy was just delicious. She was just adorable. She was our Jennifer - you can tell, we're all very close - so it was the person we know with this nervous energy.
"On the other hand, she was totally prepared, but beyond prepared. She had spent a lot of time on it. She knew exactly what her setups were going to be, which manifested itself in a strange ease and confidence at the same time, which was interesting to me. I didn't think that she would have that confidence that quickly."
If Garner was prepared, it was done in time snatched in bits and pieces. "I prepped on a couple of weekends," she says, "then I prepped every night before we shot the next day. It's the way I learn lines on Alias. I can't look any farther than the day ahead, unless it's a foreign language or something. It's too intimidating. I always just focus on what's in front of me, and I had to treat directing the same way."
Garner says she read the script many times, made copious notes, consulted with first assistant director Richard Coad and drew diagrams on her shots. Often this was done during the workday or after work - and her workdays are at least 10 if not 14 hours long already.
"That's the way I conduct anything on Alias," Garner says. "I'll have a wig on and fake blood running down my face, and I'll run into the writers' room and say, 'OK, this needs to be more emotional. Can this line be different?' They'll say, 'OK, we gotcha.' And I'll run back out.
"People would come to my trailer and prep. We'd talk about props over lunch, during a 15-minute break, talk wardrobe during lunch, because I was really heavy in the episode where I was prepping."
Told that many actor-directors go light in the episode being shot while they're preparing to direct, Garner says, "Yeah, but that's not really a big possibility around here. Besides that, if I took an episode off, I'd want to go to Hawaii." But even all her preparation didn't prevent Garner from making some rookie mistakes.
"I do like a strong 'Action' and a firm and happy 'Cut,'" she says, "so I did try to do that. But of course, on the first day and a couple of times when I actually got to be behind the monitor instead of in the scene, I forgot to say it. I had to write 'Action' on a piece of tape on the monitor to remind myself."
Rifkin also gives Garner credit for teaching an old actor-dog new tricks. "You can be doing something one way, and she'll say, 'That's really great, can you just try it this way now?' She'll whisper something to you, in the kindest, most positive way, and it changed everything.
"She came back laughing and said, 'Oh, my God, oh, my God, look what happened.' She was like an excited child." back to the top
• "i'd say she's a few months gone"
Jennifer Garner has sparked reports that she's pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby after she was photographed with a bulging stomach.
The couple met ont he set of Daredevil in 2003 and allegedly got engaged last month, fuelling rumours they are expecting a child.
Celebrity experts insist it's unlikely Garner's swollen belly is a result of overeating or lack of exercise, because she famously devotes herself to a gruelling health and fitness regime.
An inside says, "Jennifer was showing quite a big bump and she was walking very carefully.
"The bulge is out of proportion with the rest of her body, which is really toned. I'd say she's a few months gone." back to the top
• "she is really the character "
Sarah Michelle Gellar is set to star in Warner Independent Pictures' A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing.
The script, written by Marc Klein, is based on stories from Melissa Bank's book of the same name. The story centres on a young New York book editor, to be played by Gellar, who always has defined herself by the type of man she can get. When she meets and ensnares the affections of an older, very powerful and extremely sophisticated man, she thinks her problems are solved when they're only just begun.
The project was last announced in March 2001 when Gellar's Cruel Intentions co-star Reese Witherspoon was set to star.
"She is really the character," producer Deborah Del Prete told The Hollywood Reporter. "She is smart, bright and an intellectual. She really is like a New York girl: well-read, sexy and on top of her game. I also think it's a role she hasn't done before, and I think when actors try something new, that's when you get the best performance."
According to zap2it.com, the $100 million-plus gross for The Grudge has helped reposition Gellar as a movie draw after the two Scooby-Doo films and box office flops like Simply Irresistible and Harvard Man. back to the top