• magazine names her "sex star of the year"
Hot on the heels of topping the AskMen.com poll yesterday comes the news that Jessica Alba has topped Playboy's 25 Sexiest Celebrities list. Others on the list include Jamie Pressly, Jenny McCarthy, Halle Berry, Pamela Anderson, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton, Mariah Carey, Ziyi Zhang, Beyonce, Carmen Electra, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston.
Although Alba, Playboy's "Sex Star of the Year" appears on the cover of the March issue, others on the list are featured in varying states of undress inside the issue. back to the top
• "she's a bit all over the place"
Even with the aid of wires, Kaley Cuoco says she's still struggling to get the hang of tumbling through the air as the newest witch to land on The WB's Charmed.
"I thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn't. I got tangled in the wires so many times doing my flips I almost strangled myself," says the 20-year-old actress. She might be terrible, she adds, "but I try, I try so hard."
Cuoco joined the cast of the supernatural drama series this season as Billie Jenkins, a college student with telekinetic powers.
Stunt co-ordinator Noon Orsatti says that although Cuoco sometimes needs a stunt double for the more dangerous sequences - as do the rest of the cast - the actress is "very determined and professional" about learning the technical skills necessary to be a witch.
Now in its eighth season, the show (7pm Sundays on WGN-Channel 9) stars Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan as the Halliwell sisters - Phoebe, Piper and Paige - who are duty-bound to use their powers to protect the world from evil demons.
"Kaley's character keeps the show young and fresh by challenging the existing stars with a new perspective and new powers," co-executive producer Brad Kern said. "Kaley has such a strong screen presence that, along with her uncanny sense of comedic timing, complements Alyssa, Holly and Rose perfectly."
"They've basically taken my character on as kind of their little sister. I think they are training me so I can go off to do the dirty work," says Cuoco, best known as Bridget Hennessy, one of the daughters on the sitcom 8 Simple Rules.
"We don't really know yet why she's a witch. She just has this power and luckily found the Halliwell sisters. She wants to learn more about herself, but she's very naive and always getting in trouble,"says Cuoco, chatting in a makeup trailer on the Paramount Studios lot while her blonde hair is being flipped into shape.
Cuoco says the trainee witch's fashion style, though "cute and fun," is "all over the place ... but that's what I like because that's the way I am. Yeah, she's a bit all over the place."
Cuoco grew up in Southern California and has been acting since she was a tot. She was ranked as a junior amateur tennis player, but no longer plays actively. She has two horses and several rescued dogs.
"I would have 55 dogs if I could," she says. "I'm hoping one day to open my own shelter. I would be the person with the three-legged dog. ... I just love animals more than people, I really do."
Cuoco occasionally watches syndicated reruns of 8 Simple Rules. "It was really weird to see. ... I thought I was so cool when I was on the show, but I don't think I was," she says, noting the big difference four years can make when you're in your late teens.
Just when when she started on the sitcom, Cuoco had to survive the sudden death of star John Ritter at the start of the ABC series' second season in 2003.
"It was traumatic," she recalls. "It's just so difficult to talk about. But now that Rules is playing on The WB, I'm actually excited because John was just so ... hysterical. I remember every moment I was with him. That year on the show was the best year of my life. I'm glad they are showing it and giving him some respect."
The show continued until early 2005, but "it was never the same without John," says Cuoco. "It was kind of bittersweet when it ended. To be honest, I was ready for it to end because the situation was so hard, and growing up in that situation was so strange, just a weird thing."
Cuoco is still getting used to the start-stop, one-camera world of dramatic television, as opposed to sitcoms, which are typically shot with multiple cameras in real time.
"Sitcoms are so much easier to understand," she exclaims in her freewheeling conversational style. It's only when she sees Charmed episodes cut together with the special effects included that she realises "what took us so long to shoot."
"It turns out kind of cool," she adds. "But when you are working, you are waiting and waiting, and then things are invisible, and things are being thrown, and nothing's in your hand, and I'm like so confused and always asking everyone, 'What's happening?'" back to the top
• "sin city" voted star most desirable woman
Jessica Alba had a successful time at the box office last year, with Sin City (right), Fantastic Four and Into The Blue grossing a total over $520 million worldwide. Kicking off 2006, she's topped AskMen.com's Most Desirable Woman poll, up from last year's number 78.
Other actresses who regularly feature on this site (and a few who might warrant inclusion in the future if they star in a few more suitable films) include:
Angelina Jolie (3rd), Naomi Watts (29th), Keira Knightley (35th, although well behind her Star Wars: The Phantom Menace co-star Natalie Portman who was ninth), Evangeline Lilly (45th), Jennifer Love Hewitt (53rd), Katherine Heigl (57th), Jennifer Garner (66th), Kate Beckinsale (74th), Alyson Hannigan (84th), Sin City's Rosario Dawson (87th), The Village's Bryce Dallas-Howard (94th) and The Cave's Piper Perabo (98th).
• a few links to recent stories
Ananova: Angelina and Brad love Emmerdale
NewKerala.com: Angelina for Sin City?
Moldova.org: Marriage with Brad is out of the question
• star of the "best show ever" to play "star wars" geek?
Kristen Bell (right), star of UPN's Veronica Mars ("Best. Show. Ever" - Joss Whedon) is in final negotiations to play a Star Wars geek in Fanboys, a comedic drama that Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street is producing for the Weinstein Co., according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kyle Newman is making his directorial debut on the film, and Jay Baruchel, Chris Marquette and Sam Huntingdon are also in negotiations to play alongside Bell.
The movie, written by Adam F. Goldberg and Ernest Cline, follows four Star Wars fanboys from the Midwest who drive across the country to honour the wish of their dying friend to see the yet-unreleased Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in its most optimal setting, George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. Dan Fogler has already been cast as one of the geeks, a hotheaded pizza boy. Shooting is scheduled to begin on 22 February in New Mexico. back to the top
• "it was such a great, long chapter of my life"
Alyson Hannigan told Sci Fi Wire that she doubts that Joss Whedon will ever get around to realising a TV movie based on her Buffy The Vampire Slayer character Willow Rosenberg. "I don't know," she said in an interview while promoting her new film, Date Movie. "Yeah, it pops up every now and then, and I just don't know. I just treasure the experience. it was such a great, long chapter of my life."
Hannigan, who also co-stars on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, added: "I think I would just be too scared to sort of go back and possibly tarnish it in any way. Joss is too busy [to do a Willow movie]. He's not going to write it. He's not going to direct it, you know? I'm sure he would get great people, but there's nothing like the Joss touch. I think by all means they should absolutely do the Spike movie. I think that's the logical next step, but ... I don't think Willow is the next step."
David Janollari, president of entertainment at The WB network said last month that it would welcome a movie based on James Marsters' Spike character, but echoed Hannigan's comments. At the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, Janollari told reporters that Whedon may be too busy.
Whedon is planning to write and direct a big-screen version of Wonder Woman and is also known to be developing a supernatural film called Goners, casting further doubt on the likelihood of a Spike movie. Janollari's desire for a Spike movie may be complicated by the subsequent announcement that The WB and UPN are to merge into a new network, The CW, next autumn.
For his part, Whedon has remained noncommital about doing any Buffy spinoff movie, though he has expressed interest in doing one. back to the top
• "i'm not a big fan of horror films"
Teen Hollywood has an interview with Camilla Belle (right), star of the remake of the 1978 horror film When a Stranger Calls, which topped the US box office last weekend.
The BBC's report on the film's box office success can be found here.