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Must List 2009: Movies

Amy Adams, Channing Tatum, and Megan Fox are a few of the movie stars on our list

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Amy Adams
Must Sizzling Star

AGE
34
WHY HER
Adorable in this summer’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Adams cooks up another funny and flawed heroine in Julie & Julia (out Aug. 7), playing a disillusioned 21st-century New Yorker who discovers her culinary calling thanks to Julia Child.
MENTOR MERYL
In J&J, Adams shares no scenes with her Doubt costar Meryl Streep (who plays Child in the 1950s), but the acting legend was often on her mind. ”When I’m in a hard scene, I always go, ‘What would Meryl do?”’ says Adams. ”Whether she’s there or not, she is my invisible mentor.”
THE RING AIN’T THE THING
Finally! — a female-driven comedy free of the tired old gotta-find-a-man trope. ”I loved that it examined these two women looking for a purpose that wasn’t love,” says Adams. ”It’s about self-discovery.” The food wasn’t bad either. ”It was the best-smelling set I’ve ever been on. Roast chicken, French onion soup, you name it. We ate a lot.”
NEXT
Adams recently wrapped Leap Year, a romantic comedy due in 2010 about an American who travels to Ireland ”to propose to her boyfriend on leap day,” the actress explains. ”It’s an Irish tradition.”
ON HER MUST LIST
A certain American Idol finalist: ”I loved Adam [Lambert] so much I couldn’t even breathe. I just loved his theatrics. I’m a Glambert.”

Maya Rudolph
Must Drama Convert

AGE
36
WHY HER
After seven years on Saturday Night Live, the comedian is showcasing her serious side as a mom-to-be (opposite John Krasinski) in the dramedy Away We Go. ”I said to John, ‘You know I’m not an actress, right?”’ she recalls of their first day on set. ”I knew I had it in me, but I just hadn’t tried it out yet.”
THE WATERWORKS With her résumé made up almost entirely of comedies, Away We Go marks a rare instance where Rudolph cries on screen. ”It was really hard,” she says. ”I felt like I was literally squeezing and waiting for it to squirt out.”
NEXT
She’s filming the Adam Sandler-Chris Rock comedy Grown Ups.
ON HER MUST LIST
M.I.A.’s album Kala. ”It makes me feel so powerful I could drive my car through a wall — but in a good way.”

Justin Bartha & Bradley Cooper
Must Best Buddies

AGES
30, 34
WHY THEM
The real-life pals are Hollywood’s new high rollers thanks to their roles in the comedy hit The Hangover. ”From the moment we wrapped, I knew it was a special movie,” says Bartha.
A FINE BROMANCE
Bartha and Cooper met on the set of 2006’s Failure to Launch. ”We’ve been friends ever since,” says Cooper. ”We have holidays together!”
WAKING UP IN VEGAS
Sixteen-hour shoots in the scorching Nevada sun made it easy for The Hangover‘s cast to look roughed-up on screen. ”I feel like we lived what we shot,” says Cooper. ”We get the s— beaten out of us in this movie. And we kind of did in real life.”
NEXT
The dynamic duo will reteam this fall in the anthology film New York, I Love You (Oct. 16). As for flying solo, Bartha stars opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in the upcoming film The Rebound, while Cooper is the object of Sandra Bullock’s affection in All About Steve (Sept. 4) and is in talks to play Face in an A-Team remake. ON THEIR MUST LISTS
Cooper calls Breaking Bad ”the best show on TV.” Bartha prefers another AMC drama, Mad Men.

EW.COM POLL
What’s the Must movie sequel of 2009?

43% The Twilight Saga: New Moon
41% Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
12% Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2% Angels & Demons
2% Terminator Salvation

Zoë Saldana
Must Space Siren

AGE
31
WHY HER
Denying the allure of the smoldering actress who captured the elegance of Star Trek‘s xenolinguist, Uhura, would simply be illogical.
NAVIGATING THE CULT
”A driver freaked me out once when he said, ‘I used to be a stand-in years ago. I was a Klingon.’ He proceeded to stop at a corner, walk me to the back of the car, and open the trunk. I got really afraid. Turns out he travels with all his memorabilia in the car.”
NEXT
She’ll appear in Avatar (out Dec. 18), playing what director James Cameron describes as ”the ultimate smokin’-hot alien Amazon warrior.” Nicely cast.
ON HER MUST LIST
Rockers Kings of Leon. ”It’s my driving music. Love the real rock & roll!”

Asher Book & Naturi Naughton
Must Fame-ous Faces

AGES
20, 25
WHY THEM
They’re likely to be the two breakouts in a Sept. 25 reboot of the 1980 movie Fame. Book portrays a singer who has a roller-coaster romance with another student, while Naughton plays a freshman with R&B dreams and disapproving parents.
READY FOR FAME
Book, who’s also in the boy band V Factory, had no trouble relating to his character. ”I actually went to the original Fame school [New York City’s LaGuardia Arts],” he says. Naughton, meanwhile, honed her chops in teen-pop trio 3LW.
NEXT
Book and V Factory are recording their debut album. Naughton will costar opposite Don Cheadle in the drama Yelling to the Sky.
ON THEIR MUST LISTS
”I’m all about my Ugly Betty!” says Naughton. Book is loving Lady Gaga.

Channing Tatum
Must Action Figure

AGE
29
WHY HIM
In April, the Alabama native packed a punch as an underground brawler in Fighting, and he’ll keep his dukes up as…well, Duke in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (in theaters Aug. 7). He also has a small role as Pretty Boy Floyd in Public Enemies (July 1).
TOY SOLDIER
One part of G.I. Joe is really freaking Tatum out: the tie-in toy line. ”My friends are going to do the most horrible things to my head,” he says. ”You can’t even imagine.”
NEXT
Tatum stars opposite Amanda Seyfried in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation Dear John, due February 2010.
ON HIS MUST LIST
British singer Adele. ”She’s got such a ridiculously soulful voice.”

Brüno
Must Provocateur

Three reasons Sacha Baron Cohen’s Brüno (opening July 10) will be even wilder than Borat.
1. It drops a bomb on the gay-marriage debate. In the guise of flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter and clueless wannabe celebrity Brüno, Baron Cohen plays fast and loose with public perceptions of homosexuality. Along the way, he tries to seduce 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul and makes out with another man in front of a rabidly homophobic crowd of Arkansas ultimate-fighting fans.
2. It dives fearlessly into global hot spots. At one point Brüno travels to the Middle East (or, as he calls it, ”Middle-earth”) in an effort to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. First, though, he needs to get over his confusion of Hamas and hummus.
3. It pushes the R rating into uncharted terrain. You think the naked wrestling in Borat was extreme? Get ready for the scene in which Brüno attends a swingers party. We won’t spoil it, but…steel yourself.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel
Must Summer Romance

AGES
28, 29
WHY THEM
As the lovesick Tom and the love-averse Summer in (500) Days of Summer (July 17), Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel present a zigzagging courtship that proves movie romance need not be riddled with clichés
JUST DANCE!
The film’s playful mood carried over behind the scenes as well. ”We’d have, like, dance parties in the hair-and-makeup trailer every day,” says Deschanel. ”Joe’s a good dancer. You can see that in the movie.”
NEXT
Gordon-Levitt also appears as Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Aug. 7); next year he’ll star with Natalie Portman in the indie drama Hesher and with Leonardo DiCaprio in the sci-fi thriller Inception. Deschanel is recording new songs with M. Ward for the as-yet-unscheduled second album from their She & Him project. (The duo’s cover of a Smiths song appears on the Summer soundtrack.)
ON THEIR MUST LISTS
Gordon-Levitt is dying to see Inglourious Basterds — ”I read the script, and it’s f—ing amazing” — while Deschanel loved HBO’s recent The Alzheimer’s Project.

EW.COM POLL
Who are the Must onscreen couple of the summer?

38% Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds, The Proposal
23% Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
17% Maya Rudolph & John Krasinski, Away We Go
15% Katherine Heigl & Gerard Butler, The Ugly Truth
7% Charlyne Yi & Michael Cera, Paper Heart

Megan Fox
Must Foxy Lady

AGE
23
WHY HER
Because despite the millions of dollars spent on cool-looking Autobots and Decepticons in the two Transformers movies, Fox is the franchise’s most alluring eye candy. With her bad-girl attitude and ridiculously skimpy outfits, she somehow makes the fate of the earth at the hands of rampaging robots seem almost beside the point.
A HOT BODY
In September, she’ll star in horror comedy Jennifer’s Body, written by EW columnist Diablo Cody. ”I play a huge slut — a nightmare high school girl who has to eat boys to stay alive,” she says. ”I was stressed that it wasn’t a movie about special effects, so people are actually going to be watching what I’m doing.”
NEXT
She’ll appear as Josh Brolin’s love interest in the 2010 comic-book adaptation Jonah Hex.
ON HER MUST LIST
Marley & Me. ”I just watched it on a plane and was sobbing in my seat.”

Cameron Diaz
Must Career Change-Up

AGE
36
WHY HER
The sunny-side-up actress, previously best known for her anything-goes comedy and drunken-frat-boy laugh, is now attempting to prove that she can make us cry, too. With her new film My Sister’s Keeper (out June 26), Diaz shows us a side of herself that we weren’t sure she ever had, playing the aching mother of a terminally ill daughter in the big-screen adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s best-selling weepie novel.
NOT TO BE A DEBBIE DOWNER BUT…
”People’s children get sick and they die,” Diaz says of the movie’s harsh subject matter. ”And it’s horrible. At the same time, you leave the film oddly uplifted. And there’s funny moments too. You’ll definitely laugh.”
NEXT
In October, Diaz will endear herself to a generation of twentysomething film geeks by starring in Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly’s thriller The Box.
ON HER MUST LIST
Michael Pollan’s 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which takes a close look at where our food really comes from.

Sandra Bullock
Must Physical Marvel

AGE
44
WHY HER
Bullock’s turn as a ruthless corporate go-getter in The Proposal reminds us how much we’ve missed her doing smart, physical comedy.
(UN)DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
Bullock inhabits her roles down to the smallest wardrobe detail. ”I read the script and I saw her,” says Bullock, whose Canadian character concocts a fake relationship with her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to stay in the U.S. ”I knew how I wanted her to look, how I wanted her clothes to be.” Or not to be, at least in a nude scene that proves Bullock still has the rockin’ bod to go with her funny-girl persona. ”If your naked ass is going to be applied to celluloid — and it’s going to be there forever — you’re a little more motivated than just wanting to lose five pounds,” she laughs.
NEXT
Bullock stars with Bradley Cooper and Thomas Haden Church in the September comedy All About Steve.
ON HER MUST LIST
HBO’s Rome, which lasted only two seasons. ”It’s the greatest piece of cinema ever made. Bring it back!”

Bonnie Wright
Must Bewitching Love Interest

AGE
18
WHY HER
Few Harry Potter fans imagined that Ginny Weasley would blossom into the love of the boy wizard’s life. Ditto Wright, the actress who has played Ginny since she was 9. Now Wright and her character move into the spotlight with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, opening July 15.
KISS AND TELL
Prince features the first smooch between Ginny and Harry. ”It was weird to have that moment with someone you’ve known for so long,” she says.
HALF-BLOOD‘S HALF-CELEB Because Ginny is only now emerging as a major Potter player, Wright has never had to deal with mega-fame. ”The part I’ve had has allowed me to feel part of the whole Harry Potter world, yet I can walk on the street without being recognized.”
NEXT
University, where she’ll study, yes, acting.
ON HER MUST LIST
”I’m reading Milton’s Paradise Lost,” she says. ”Creation, Adam and Eve, fall of man — great stuff.”

Meryl Streep
Must Child Actress

Three reasons to go see her as Julia Child in Julie & Julia.
1. Well, she may be the greatest actress (15 Oscar nominations and counting) who ever lived — so there’s that.
2. It’s a delicious premise. Writer-director Nora Ephron’s movie (out Aug. 7) serves up the legendary chef’s backstory while also following a modern-day office drone (Amy Adams) who attempts to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s first book in a single year.
3. It has all the ingredients of a great Streep role. Start with one larger-than-life personality (see The Devil Wears Prada), add a tricky accent (Sophie’s Choice), and a dash of physical comedy (Mamma Mia!). Bon appétit!

Sam Worthington
Must Aussie Star

AGE
32
WHY HIM
With apologies to Mr. Bale, the brooding Australian was the best thing in Terminator Salvation. And James Cameron picked him for the lead role in the most anticipated film of the year, Dec. 18’s Avatar.
WHY THIS LIST WON’T GO TO HIS HEAD
”I might be fresh on the Hollywood radar, but I’ve done 13 or 14 movies in my own country. I’ve done my apprenticeship; now I want to work with the big boys. At the moment, I’m enjoying the damn ride, man!”
NEXT
He’ll follow Avatar by donning a toga in a big-budget remake of Clash of the Titans (March 2010).
ON HIS MUST LIST
Metal band Manowar, Bob Marley’s Legend, and America’s Next Top Model. ”Tyra rules!”

MORE MOVIE MUSTS

Denzel Washington and John Travolta
Must Movie Foes
Lest you forget, in this age of reality TV and YouTube fads, that actual movie stars still walk among us, witness these two heavyweights in Tony Scott’s action remake The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As a transit worker-turned-hostage negotiator, Washington draws on all of his subtlety and effortless cool, while Travolta’s villainous turn reminds us that since Pulp Fiction, he’s never so good as when he’s being bad.

Johnny Depp
Must Original Gangster
In Michael Mann’s upcoming Public Enemies (July 1), Depp portrays 1930s bank robber John Dillinger with just the right mix of cockiness and sensitivity. Add some a cappella singing, believable gun-toting, and a moving romance with Marion Cotillard, and this could be the most fully evolved performance yet seen from Captain Jack.

Rachel McAdams
Must Lady in Waiting
Though her fate is to wait patiently for her oft-absent husband, McAdams’ character in The Time Traveler’s Wife (Aug. 14) transcends the devoted-spouse cliché. Yes, she is the loving anchor to Eric Bana’s weary chronology-hopper, but she’s also a modern woman unafraid to express her disappointment and loneliness. If we were her time-traveling husband, we’d rush home to her too.

Katherine Heigl
Must Romantic-Comedy Star
She won hearts in Knocked Up and 27 Dresses. Now Heigl’s looking to strike rom-com gold again in The Ugly Truth (July 24), in which she’s an uptight TV producer who spars with a misogynistic co-worker (Gerard Butler). And coming off her cancer story line on Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl is ready to do just about anything for a laugh. Don’t believe us? One of her key props in Truth: remote-controlled underwear.

Jeremy Renner
Must Explosive Performance
As an elite Army bomb diffuser in the acclaimed Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker (out June 26), Renner plays a soldier so battle-hardened by his white-knuckle job that he’s literally addicted to risk. The actor commands our full attention not with histrionics, but with diamond-sharp focus and calm, treating both the rush and dread of modern combat with clear-eyed authenticity.

Ed Asner
Must Rising Star
By the time Asner finally speaks as the voice of widowed Carl Fredericksen in Disney·Pixar’s Up, the wordless prologue about Carl’s life with his late wife has already moved us to tears. But with his gruff rasp and spry charm, Asner brings a genuine pathos to Carl’s dogged quest to fulfill his wife’s dream of living in a fabled South American land.

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