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Best Schizo Sweetie

Naomi Watts

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AGE ”Do I have to tell you? It’s near 28. But I’m young. I’m young!” MOMENT OF ARRIVAL As Betty, Mulholland Drive’s bright-eyed, bipolar non-genue, Watts more than stood her ground at stage center of David Lynch’s swirling psychological kaleidoscope. ”THIS IS THE GIRL” ”It’s probably the easiest job I’ve ever gotten,” says Watts, who first talked with Lynch in early 2000, when Drive was still an ABC pilot. ”I met with him one time. He didn’t ask me to read.” Two weeks later, Lynch told her she had the job. LIFE BEFORE LYNCH Watts has been a working actress for more than a decade, doing TV movies and playing supporting roles in small pictures like 1991’s Flirting, which costarred her best friend and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. ”Right up until about two months before the movie came out, I was still having to fight for things I had not an ounce of belief in.” LIFE AFTER LYNCH ”Now, I get to go have a drink with a great director or a five-hour meeting with an actor whose work I’ve always admired. And the material I’m reading now has been elevated by about 1,000 percent.” WHAT’S NEXT Ring, a DreamWorks horror thriller directed by Gore Verbinski; the part has been sought by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet. Also on tap: a possible cable adaptation of Ellie Parker, a 2001 Sundance short film she starred in and coproduced.