Sci-fi heroines we'd like to see

So, what woman could successfully fill the empty middle ground between male-fantasy girls and no-nonsense space mothers? Who might pull off, say, Bruce Willis’ crowd-pleasing combination of sex appeal and smarts? Here, submitted for the consideration of the powers that be, are four actresses we think really ought to figure in Hollywood’s futures.

Mike D’Angelo

JANEANE GAROFALO: Okay, so she went on record saying ”I in no way endorse fitness.” But then, from the looks of it, neither does Steven Seagal, so who cares? After Cop Land (left) it’s easy to imagine her wielding an atomic ray gun, but she might not even need it: Thirty seconds of her withering invective would have any malevolent superbeing curled into the fetal position and begging for mercy.

ELISABETH SHUE: You didn’t expect her to convince you in Leaving Las Vegas (right) — and she didn’t quite pass muster as a scientist in The Saint — yet athletic and robust (she was a gymnast in high school), Shue is the one Hollywood star who might be able to duplicate the kind of physical pyrotechnics displayed by Hong Kong actresses like upcoming Bond girl Michelle Yeoh of Supercop.

QUEEN LATIFAH: Imagine her lesbian bank robber from Set It Off (left) and Khadijah James from Living Single stepping into that designer phone booth from David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly and emerging with their DNA combined. She’s already demonstrated that she can play rough; add a few choice wisecracks to appease terrified white folks, and we could be talking crossover smash.

CATHERINE O’HARA: Those readers who know her only as Macaulay Culkin’s oblivious mom in Home Alone may be puzzled, but fans of the late, lamented SCTV are probably developing goose pimples at the mere sight of her name in this context. She’s capable of both giddy abandon and steely-eyed rage; take another look at her work in Beetlejuice (right) to get a sense of the possibilities.