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Scene-stealer: Patricia Richardson

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There’s more to Home Improvement‘s Patricia Richardson than dry wit and keen comic timing. She’s spending this summer on the big screen in Ulee’s Gold, etching a delicate portrait of Connie Hope, the nurse next door who helps a weather-beaten beekeeper (Peter Fonda) bring order to his splintering family. ”The scenes were very, very tiny and specific, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overacting,” she says. ”I was cautious, like I was walking on glass.” Richardson, 46, is equally tentative about other big-screen aspirations. ”I’m the person who goes to an audition and thinks everybody else in the room is better for the part,” she says. ”My only advantage is they don’t have to pay me a lot.”

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