JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT
Age 19 Why her? She personifies her middle name as the object of Scott Wolf’s affection on Party of Five and as Ethan Embry’s fantasy date in Can’t Hardly Wait. But her real future may be with the Writers Guild: Hewitt literally dreamed up the concept of the upcoming Cupid’s Love, about a wedding planner who falls for a client. “I woke up and said, ‘Hey, that would be a cute movie.'” She sold the idea to New Line and will get an executive producing and story credit. Work habits “I’m a workaholic. From the moment I get to the set until the moment I leave, I give 250,000 percent. Then I go home and sleep.” Recurring dream “I used to dream I could walk on the clouds. They were really squooshy and bouncy. Then I’d fall, and I’d land safely.” Dream project “To play Audrey Hepburn. When I was growing up, my mom showed me Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I’ve never been the same.” Weirdest career moment “Two girls came up to me and said they’d changed their names on their birth certificates to Sarah, so they could be just like my character on Party of Five.” Next? The sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (“It’s 10 times scarier than the first one. We go on a vacation to the Bahamas, and my character comes back a lot more paranoid”) and The Suburbans, a comedy in which she’ll play a “sexpot record exec” who gives an ’80s rock band a second shot.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Age 30 Why him? Burt Reynolds’ resurrected chops snagged the sentimental Oscar nod, and Mark Wahlberg’s colossal prosthetic “diggler” deserved a statuette for special F/X. But for our money, Boogie Nights‘ most touching performance was Hoffman’s Scotty. Standing out like a chubby neon sign amid the T&A starlets and buff polyester-clad studs, Hoffman turned his gay, aw-shucks porn-world hanger-on from a cartoon of pity into a sympathetic puppy starving for affection. When he musters the courage to profess his love to Wahlberg’s Dirk, it’s the closest Boogie comes to catharsis. Creative crutch Starting over. “When I get stuck with a character, I go back to basics and rethink who the guy is from scratch.” Weirdest career moment “I was doing King Lear and my pants ripped, and I wasn’t wearing underwear.” Next? Happiness, Todd Solondz’s whacked-out follow-up to Welcome to the Dollhouse, and the Sundance romantic comedy Next Stop, Wonderland. Currently shooting Patch Adams in North Carolina with Robin Williams.
Age 33 Why her? She shines on television (in Showtime’s eagerly awaited Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City), on film (most recently as Jim Carrey’s product-placing “on-screen” wife in The Truman Show), and on the stage (as an ambitious journalist in the Broadway hit Honour). First big break? “We did a feminist Christmas play in second grade, Mrs. Claus Takes Over. It was right around when Ms. magazine first came out.” She played the title character, natch. Creative crutch Swedish Fish. “The little red gummy things. I’m addicted.” Next? Looking for her next big project.