With her nasty role as Reese Witherspoon's Harvard Law rival in Legally Blonde, Selma Blair fears she's "lost any chance of ever being America's sweetheart." Recalls the actress: "I was in a test screening and people were booing at me like I was a killer in a horror movie — I was just cowering in my seat. So I've decided I don't want to play the devil to Reese's angel anymore!"

Though they're nemeses in reel life, the two actresses have been real-life pals since co-starring in 1999's campy Dangerous Liaisons remake, Cruel Intentions. "Reese has been the most caring friend to me," Blair says. "She's really taken me under her wing, always making sure I have somewhere to go for Christmas and Thanksgiving."

She's especially wowed by her pal's ability to juggle an acting career with a husband (their Cruel co-star Ryan Phillippe) and a two-year-old. "I'm in awe of her every day," Blair chuckles. "My cat has fleas right now and I'm ruined — I don't know how I'm going to make it through the week! But she can balance it all. I don't know how she does it."

Post-Blonde, moviegoers will see Blair ditch her preppie pearls and sweater sets — and every other stitch of clothing, for that matter — as a troubled vixen in Storytelling. Due out in October, the dark film is directed by controversial auteur Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse). "I was formerly a photographer," the starlet says, "and God knows I posed for an entire Photo 101 class — so the nudity wasn't scary for me at all. The only weird thing about being nude in front of people [on set] is that I kept apologizing to everyone else, because I didn't want to make them uncomfortable."