Today's News: Our Take


The Un-Posh Kristin Scott Thomas


When Kristin Scott Thomas got a script in the mail from director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, The Player), she agreed to do the role before even opening the envelope. Moments later, however, the Oscar-nominated star of The English Patient says she sighed with disappointment.

"I was thinking, 'Oh, why can't I be one of the scullery maids?'" admits the elegant British thesp — who instead plays a slain aristocrat's widow in Altman's 1930s whodunit, Gosford Park (opening Dec. 26). "I always get cast as this standoffish, distant rich person. Very glamorous, very aristocratic and the rest of it. I should take it w read more

Meet Sean Penn's New "Daughter"!


When Dakota Fanning learned she'd be playing Sean Penn's daughter in I Am Sam — opening Dec. 28 — she reacted like any seven-year-old would. "We had such a small apartment that there wasn't anywhere to run around," she recalls, "so I jumped up and down on the bed! And then I called my grandmother."

If Fanning keeps snapping up plum parts — she just wrapped Kevin Bacon's 24 Hours and is now shooting Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon — the tyke will need a good long-distance plan! Of course, her thespian ambitions are no surprise to Granny. "I've been a ballerina since I was two," she smiles, "but I've always wanted to read more

Julianne Moore's Cold Comfort


The good news? Lovely Julianne Moore plays Wavey, the single mom romanced by Kevin Spacey's Quoyle in the movie version of The Shipping News. The bad news? This entailed weeks of frosty filming up in Newfoundland. "It's a beautiful place, but very rough and wild," she says. "It got very, very cold and raw. The weather was constantly changing... In the middle of a scene, you could go from fog to sun or rain. It would be a tough place to live, [which] made me appreciate the resilience of the woman I played."

Moore recalls she could always count on Spacey for comic relief on the rough days. For while Spacey was emotionally withdrawn as the troubled Quoyle, he was anything but when the camera stopped rolling. "Kevin is very light-hearte read more

Benson and the Beast


Ten years after its original release, Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast is back on the big screen — and we mean big! Starting Jan. 1, the spruced-up epic love story begins playing on the enormous IMAX screens it has been reformatted to fit. And nobody could be more pleased about that than the gruff Beast himself, Robby Benson.

"From that first shot, [you think], 'This is the most vivid, beautiful thing I've ever seen,'" Benson tells TV Guide Online. "It's just phenomenal what the artists have done."

Though his actual face never appears onscreen, the actor admits to having had some opening night jitters at Beauty's premiere a decade ago. "You know, when you see something for the first time, no matter what kind of movie you're in, you're uptight, you can barely breathe and you don't see the movie," he says. "It just ends. T read more

Elijah Wood Grows Up


Elijah Wood may be basking in the critical and inevitable box-office success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, but he's not about to forget the sacrifices he had to make playing Frodo the Hobbit. For starters, the young actor spent a huge chunk of his life holed up in New Zealand shooting all three big-screen versions of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic novels. Marvels Wood: "I was an 18-year-old kid when I arrived and a 20-year-old grown-up when I left!"

Of course, Wood made good use of his 16-month tour of duty overseas. "I loved New Zealand," he says. "The people brought us into their culture. I spent a lot of time buying CDs for my collection when we weren't filming. I think I bought 300 or 400. One of the local papers did a story saying I had spent so much money at record stores that I was contributing to the New Zealand economy."

Tru read more

Meet Sean Penn's New "Daughter"!


When Dakota Fanning learned she'd be playing Sean Penn's daughter in I Am Sam — opening Dec. 28 — she reacted like any seven-year-old would. "We had such a small apartment that there wasn't anywhere to run around," she recalls, "so I jumped up and down on the bed! And then I called my grandmother."

If Fanning keeps snapping up plum parts — she just wrapped Kevin Bacon's 24 Hours and is now shooting Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon — the tyke will need a good long-distance plan! Of course, her thespian ambitions are no surprise to Granny. "I've been a ballerina since I was two," she smiles, "but I've always wanted to read more

The Un-Posh Kristin Scott Thomas


When Kristin Scott Thomas got a script in the mail from director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, The Player), she agreed to do the role before even opening the envelope. Moments later, however, the Oscar-nominated star of The English Patient says she sighed with disappointment.

"I was thinking, 'Oh, why can't I be one of the scullery maids?'" admits the elegant British thesp — who instead plays a slain aristocrat's widow in Altman's 1930s whodunit, Gosford Park (opening Dec. 26). "I always get cast as this standoffish, distant rich person. Very glamorous, very aristocratic and the rest of it. I should take it w read more

Kevin Spacey Makes News


Kevin Spacey plays an emotionally damaged man struggling to find his place in the world in The Shipping News (opening Christmas day). In real life, the two-time Oscar winner faced a long struggle of his own to land the juicy part of Quoyle in Lasse Hallstr&#246m's big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by E. Annie Proulx.

"I read it six years ago and immediately called my agent," he recalls to TV Guide Online. "I said, 'I've got to do this.' When he told me that John Travolta had already committed to the project, I hung up the phone and wept like a small child. But I didn't give up. I kept checking back a read more

Beware the Anti-Ed


C'mon, folks. Cut John Slattery some slack. It's not his fault that his new Ed character, testy high school principal Dennis Martino, has stolen away teacher Carol Vessey from the romantic comedy's title sweetheart. He is simply an actor performing the material that he is given. Of course, he doesn't have to enjoy it quite so much.

"People always say, 'Oh, we saw you on Ed — you're kind of a [expletive],'" he tells TV Guide Online, clearly tickled. "But I'd much rather play an a--hole than somebody that you're worrying about whether or not [viewers] are going to like you. That's the kiss of death."

That being the case, Slattery must always love his work — trouble seems to follow wherever he gets hired. On the short-lived post-WWII drama Homefront, he played Al Kahn, a smooth-talking labor leader who knocked up the series read more

NYPD Blue Recast Crisis!


Producers of NYPD Blue are hoping the third time's the charm when it comes to casting the show's new female detective. After two unsuccessful attempts at filling the role — first with newcomer Rosa Arredondo and next with Beverly Hills, 90210 grad Vanessa Marcil — they've now recruited big-screen siren Jacqueline Obradors to play Latina cop Rita Ortiz. The star of Six Days, Seven Nights and Tortilla Soup, who debuts in tonight's episode (at 9 ET on ABC), tells TV Guide Online that she's relieved to have made it this far.

"Let's put it this way, I didn't sleep a wink the night before my first day," she admits. "I had to get up at t read more

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