• "there are also handcuffs...that might bring in its own crowd"
"Go big or go home!" is the motto that steers babe-tastic actress Eliza Dushku, whether she's dealing with demons (Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel), dead folks (Tru Calling) or De Niro (This Boy's Life and City By The Sea). The philosophy is now guiding her in her latest venture - Off-Broadway. Dushku, who turns 25 next month, makes her New York stage debut tomorrow at the Century Center for the Performing Arts (111 E. 15th St.) in Bert V. Royal's Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. The play is an "unauthorised parody" of the Peanuts gang - Charlie Brown, Lucy (who inspires Dushku's character), Linus, et al. It fast fowards the tots into their troubled teen personas - and manages to use the F-word 57 times. Salty Peanuts, indeed.
Considering its dead beagle, same-sex kisses and other quirks, did you have qualms about doing a play that blatantly blasphemes beloved cartoon kids?
It's definitely twisted, because these are characters we know and love, but it's also deep and tragic and hilarious. It's reminiscent of high school to me. I grew up in Boston and went to public school, so in that sense, the play is very real.
You've done lots of films and TV - why a play at this point?
People have said that I always play this black-leather-pants-wearing, big-busted tough chick, but I like to try different things. Still, when I was approached with this [play], my first instinct was "No fucking way." Being onstage, live, where you can't cut and go back and do another take, is just terrifying. What better reason to do it. I've learned so much about losing inhibitions.
You, inhibited? Readers of the lad magazine Maxim might be surprised to read that you're at all uptight.
What are you trying to say, that I'm sexually provocative [laughs]? Yes, I posed for Maxim. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality. I don't try to be gratuitous, but at the same time, I think my body is part of my whole deal, baby.
Beyond Off-Broadway, what's next for you?
I just finished an independent movie, Nobel Son, with Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. I play this poet and artist who helps kidnap the son of this physics Nobel Prize winner. She's dark and kind of a wacko.
Back to those black-leather pants. Do you wear a pair in Dog Sees God?
No. In one scene I'm in institutional wear. I don't know how sexy that is, but there are also handcuffs. That might bring in its own crowd. back to the top
• keira set to play silkworm smuggler's wife
According to KeiraWeb, Keira will be starring in Silk, adapted from the novella by Alessandro Baricco. Set in 19th century France, the film will tell of a married silkworm smuggler, Herve Joncour, who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo. While there he spots a beautiful European woman, the mistress of a local baron, and they fall in love. It seems likely that Keira will play Joncour's wife Helene.
Michael Pitt is tipped to play the husband character. The film, to be directed by Francois Girard (who has redrafted Baricco's original screenplay), will start shooting next Spring. back to the top
• izzie spills smoochy secrets
Grey's Anatomy's prime puckerer, Katherine Heigl, gives the inside dish on her onscreen squeeze.
Please, any scoop on my favourite couple, Izzie and Alex's of Grey's Anatomy?
I ran into Izzie herself, Katherine Heigl, at an Escada event benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last week, and the sweet girl - love her! - actually flushed a little talking about that tipped-back kiss at the bar. (So hot, was it not?) "It was written very well!" she said. "It's funny because I think that it's words that make that pressure kiss, you know the one everybody's waiting for to fulfill everybody's expectations, and I think the way they wrote it, the fact that he comes in, doesn't say anything to me and in a moment makes a decision, it was awesome."
Katherine H. is a lucky B. for getting to smooch that man!
I know! The truly unfair part? According to her, "We did a bajillion takes! I think everybody just wanted it to be pefect, so we ended up doing it from all these different angles, and it's so funny, because Justin is such a good friend. He's like an older brother to me. He has five kids! But it couldn't have been a better situation, just really comfortable. Actually though, I did feel sorry for him while we were shooting because his arm [was killing him]. He had to hold me every time, you know?" back to the top
• ...but only in a cameo
Sarah Michelle Gellar has signed on to reprise her role - albeit briefly - in the horror sequel The Grudge 2 for Columbia Pictures and Ghost House Pictures.
Gellar will return to pass the supernatural curse - introduced in the first installation - on to the franchise's next lead victim, an actor to be cast soon.
Director Takashi Shimizu, writer Stephen Susco and producers Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Taka Ichise also are on board for the sequel. "The union of Sarah's innocent girl-next-door persona and Shimizu's twisted Eastern perspective should spawn another original and terrifying tale for the audience," Raimi said. back to the top
• "there's no way we are keeping it clean"
Kate Beckinsale says she strips for her husband via a webcam when she is away filming.
She says the nightly sessions help keep the passion alive during long trips away from director Len Wiseman.
Kate, 32, told Playboy: "It was Len's idea and he set them up. He tells me what to wear each evening. It really helps our relationship.
"There's no way we are keeping it clean. That's the whole point. It's just like when you get a photocopier and you just have to do one of your bum. It's just one of those rules of life."
But Kate says she draws the line at dressing up as Wonder Woman for her sci-fi fan husband of 19 months.
She added: " I know there were rumours about that but I don't. My husband may be a geek but he's not that bad." back to the top
• "we owe the fans a send-off worthy of the show"
ABC has confirmed that Alias will wrap its five-year run at the end of the current season.
The Touchstone TV drama, which stars Jennifer Garner as CIA agent Sydney Bristow, has never been a top-rated show but has long been buoyed by a loyal cadre of fans who track every nuance of its highly complex and mysterious storylines. It was also among the first of a new breed of TV series that can be sustained for multiple seasons of modest primetime numbers on the strength of ancillary business, like DVD sales and video games.
The series, which made Jennifer Garner a major star, was the brainchild of creator/executive producer J.J. Abrams, now riding high on ABC with Lost.
"Right out of the box, Alias attracted a cult following of fans that were completely invested in the show," said ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, praising Abrams' talents and dedication to the show. "We owe both the storytellers and the fans a send-off worthy of a show that has been such a big part of the pop culture vernacular."
Touchstone president Mark Pedowitz made special mention of the contributions of Garner, who has earned four consecutive Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe in 2002 for her workon the show. Garner has consistently shown her "dedication to the role and [has] unarguably the best demeanour in the business," Pedowitz said.
Alias executive producer Jeff Pinkner promised that the writing team was prepared to "wrap up the story of Sydney Bristow in a surprising and, we think, thrilling way." Instead of prolonging the tough decision about the show's fate, the early notice from ABC and Touchstone will allow cast and crew "the freedom to end the series in the climactic way it deserves," Pinkner said.
ABC said it would begin a "countdown" approach to the series finale in May. The series aired in the Sunday 9pm slot in its first three seasons before moving to Wednesday last year and to the tough Thursday 8pm slot this autumn. So far this season, Alias has ranked no. 75 among all primetime series with an average of 7 million viewers and 2.9 rating/7 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research.
In addition to Abrams and Pinkner, Alias exec producers this season also include Ken Olin, Jesse Alexander and Jeffrey Bell. Garner's costars this season include Victor Garber, Ron Rifkin, Carl Lumbly, Kevin Weisman and Balthazar Getty. back to the top