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Shannon Elizabeth desires to be more than a sex kitten

The ”Scary Movie” vixen tells EW.com why she won’t be showing skin on screen again

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Shannon Elizabeth
Corbis Sygma

In Miramax’s new horror parody ”Scary Movie,” ”American Pie” newcomer Shannon Elizabeth once again prances around in skimpy push-up bras and miniskirts. But according to the leggy actress, who posed for Playboy last summer, the Keenen Ivory Wayans comedy is her last body-conscious role for a while. ”I know I got people’s attention with the [sex] scene in ‘Pie,’ but I don’t want to be known as a T & A girl,” says 23-year-old Elizabeth. ”I’ve gotten plenty of offers for roles with nudity, and I’ve said no to all of them.”

After her titillating breakout role in ”Pie,” Elizabeth was billed as the next Sharon Stone, but she prefers less nudity-prone role models. ”I really admire Michelle Pfeiffer and Cameron Diaz, because they’re not afraid of unglamourous parts,” she says. ”They don’t always play sex kittens, and neither will I.” That may sound like every nubile Hollywood babe’s mantra, but thanks to a three-picture deal she landed with Miramax (”Movie” was the first), Elizabeth may be one of the few lucky starlets to score serious, clothed parts. After all, Miramax — the studio of choice for such young actors as Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, and Freddie Prinze Jr. — is known for giving its regulars a chance to try different characters and genres. Rachael Leigh Cook, for example, went from the teen comedy ”She’s All That” to the upcoming Jane Austen period piece ”Northanger Abbey.”

In ”Movie,” Elizabeth — who plays Buffy, the school beauty queen (think Sarah Michelle Gellar in ”I Know What You Did Last Summer”) — shows some skin, but she does it as a spoof on the horror genre. ”We were going for the Jennifer Love Hewitt look,” she says of her teeny, eye-popping outfits with plunging necklines. ”The cleavage got bigger and bigger in each scene, and the clothes got smaller and smaller.” Despite Elizabeth’s knockout bod, director Wayans requested extra oomph for her decolletage. ”Keenen kept saying ‘Pad her up more,’ and I was like, ‘Are you kidding? There isn’t anything more to pad.”’ Well, there WAS one thing: her role. Even though her locker-room death sequence was originally written for another character, Wayans thought Elizabeth’s audition was so funny that he gave her the killer scene.

But Elizabeth won’t need an ounce of padding in her next role, as a police officer in ”Tomcats,” a comedy from former Disney honcho Joe Roth’s new production company. Currently in production, ”Tomcats” features Elizabeth in her first adult role, playing the female lead opposite Jerry O’Connell, Jake Busey, and ”Saturday Night Live” comedian Horatio Sanz. The half-Syrian, half-Lebanese actress hopes the character will prove she’s ”more than just boobs”: ”I love the fact that I’m playing a cop my age in the movie,” she says. ”I got to do so much research, going on ride-alongs, practicing how to shoot, and rolling around on the floor.” Calm down, guys — that was fully clothed rolling around.