Allie Cahill

Forest Whitaker: Don't Panic!

Forest Whitaker knew Panic Room would be a great movie, but only as long as David Fincher (Fight Club) directed the suspenser. "In his hands, I thought it would be really amazing," he tells TV Guide Online. "In somebody else's hands, it would feel more like a play because it all happens in a house."

The 40-year-old actor/director says he jumped at the chance to play Burnham, a conflicted security pro who breaks into Jodie Foster's home for cash. The duo then engage in a psychological face-off when she seals herself inside the very room where the stash is hidden!

Whitaker explains that Fincher's involvement elevated read more

Bassett Plays Black History Icon

Angela Bassett never dreamed she would play Rosa Parks — the civil rights activist who inspired the legendary 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott — when she sat next to her at 1994's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. As the actress tells TV Guide Online: "I guess I was just so in awe of meeting her that I didn't have the vision to see down the road that far!"

To prepare for her role in The Rosa Parks Story — airing on Feb. 24 at 9 pm/ET on CBS — Bassett studied film footage and Parks's memoir, Quiet Strength. But she says the very private 89-year-old icon keeps parts of her life a mystery. "Some things you aren't able to find out about her," she explains, "and it wasn't really important. For example, she loved children so much, but never had [any] of her own. And she never shares in her autobiography why that is.

"I never asked," she adds. "[Pa read more

American Pie Star: Slightly Off

American Pie's John Cho doesn't mind the raunchiness of his WB buddy comedy, Off Centre — airing Sunday at 9 pm/ET — but admits that episodes about flatulence and STDs don't appeal to his parents. "Sometimes," he tells TV Guide Online, "I say, 'Mom, Dad, you might want to miss that one.'"

The L.A.-based actor and musician thanks exec producers — and Pie directors — Paul and Chris Weitz for casting him as lovable loser Chau opposite the gross-out comedy's Eddie Kaye Thomas and Sean Maguire. "I don't think I've ever met a person with that abundan read more

Jamie Kennedy's Risky Experiment

Talk about self control: In his new WB Candid Camera-esque sketch comedy, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment (premiering Sunday at 8 pm/ET), Scream star Jamie Kennedy has to adopt a variety of outlandish personas — including a Malibu-bred hip-hop wannabe and an overzealous infomercial host — without ever cracking up. However, Kennedy confesses to TV Guide Online that he did break down while shooting a skit in which his character can't stop drooling as a result of jaw surgery.

"I started laughing, but you can never tell I'm laughing because I have my mouth open," the 30-year-old stand-up comic-cum-practical joker recalls. "I just thought, 'If this is how it's going to be, I don't know how I'm going to do this!' But ever since that bit, I've never laughed. I've always really been in it."

Although Kennedy has appeared in a n read more

Reba Star Washes Off the Soap

Playing Reba McEntire's estranged husband, Brock Hart, on the country singer's self-titled WB sitcom has put Christopher Rich in the hot seat. But he would be the last person to complain: He's doing a lot less squirming now than he was in the 1980s, during his five-year run as hustler Sandy Cory on the daytime drama Another World.

"The soaps were just insanely popular," he tells TV Guide Online. "I went down to open a mall in Alexandria, Va., and [they] expected 500 people, but 5,000 people showed up.

"I couldn't get on or off the stage," he continues. "It was just like Elvis Presley — every time I moved my sunglasses, a sigh would ripple through the audience. It was a sight I was not prepared to deal with. It was kind of fun — read more

Freddy Krueger Returns!

Robert Englund has played more than 60 roles in film and on TV, but to horror fans, he'll always be Freddy Krueger. And while most actors gripe about being typecast in a part, the Nightmare on Elm Street villain confesses that he long ago made peace with his cult celebrity status.

"I [decided to] just relax and enjoy it because I know you can't fight it," the 52-year-old classically trained actor-director tells TV Guide Online. "When the fans fall in love with the character, you really can't control it.

"The worst thing you can do is pull a Shelley Long and walk away," adds the spooker, who portrayed the sharp-fingered fiend in seven Nightmare films, "because they're still going to remember you from Cheers and you m read more

Soap Star Sighting on Mulholland Drive

Up until now, Laura Elena Harring was best known for her short-lived role as policewoman Paula on NBC's defunct soap opera Sunset Beach. But this lady's luck is starting to change, thanks to director David Lynch.

The onetime Miss U.S.A. 1985 — who is of Mexican, German and Austrian descent — says her beauty queen cred and slight accent made it tough to land acting gigs until Lynch cast her in Mulholland Drive opposite Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux. "When I started in Hollywood," she admits, "I couldn't get any appointments... Nobody thought that I would be able to act because I wore this crown."

While waiting for her big break, Harring was forced to "open up and read more

Josh Peck's Big Move

You may recall Josh Peck as one of Chevy Chase's precocious co-stars from last year's kid flick, Snow Day. He's got an inspirational message for junior high schoolers everywhere: "I think it's sort of a rite of passage for kids to get bullied, and it builds character."

Though the 14-year-old admits other kids call him "Snow Boy" ever since the movie, he blows it off, cheerily noting that "everybody has something fun to offer and everyone's nice. If you get to know people, they can make you really happy."

When his next film — Disney's Max Keeble's Big Move — premieres Oct. 5, he may have to endure a new nickname: "Robe Boy." Explains Peck: "I play Max's (Alex D. Li read more

Joan Allen: The Evil Within

Joan Allen — best known for playing heroines in The Contender, The Crucible and Face/Off — jumped at the chance to go bad in the TNT miniseries The Mists of Avalon (which concludes tonight at 8 pm/ET).

"It really appealed to me when I found out they offered me the role [of Morgause]," the 44-year-old three-time Oscar nominee tells TV Guide Online. "My agent said, 'It's a villain,' and I said, 'Send me the script! Send me the script!'"

In the two-part epic, which is based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's retelling of the Arthurian legend, Morgause lies and schemes her way to power. Co-star Anjelica Huston — Morgause's rival and sister, Viviane — was t read more

Julianna Margulies: Action Hero

Julianna Margulies has a newfound respect for Mel Gibson after sword-fighting Saxons in TNT's two-part miniseries, The Mists of Avalon (airing July 15 and 16, 8 pm/ET). The ER alumna tells TV Guide Online that she was in awe of Braveheart "after doing the little bit that I did. It's incredible, but it's hard, and [director Uli Edel] gave me the confidence in myself to know that I could do it."

Thanks to Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn), the 35-year-old actress says that she discovered her inner warrior while playing a Pagan priestess in this feminist retelling of the King Arthur legend (based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel). "My first time into battle I unders read more

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