The star of ''Drop Dead Gorgeous'' is happy to get down and dirty, but she won't play dumb

By Liane Bonin
Updated July 21, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Denise Richards
Credit: Paul Smith/Retna

The hormone-addled fans who drooled over Denise Richards’ dangerous curves in last year’s ”Wild Things” may be in for a shock if they’re hoping for another seductive turn in ”Drop Dead Gorgeous” (opening Friday). In the comedy, Richards goes from vamp to camp, playing a pathological, gun-toting beauty pageant contestant. ”I don’t think my character is the so-called sexy girl in this,” the 27-year-old actress tells EW Online. ”She’s got pageant hair and a bad prom dress, and she can’t sing. It was a challenge.”

If a bad prom dress isn’t enough to ruin Richards’ pinup image, a scene in which she sings off-key to a life-size Jesus doll (pinned to the cross, no less) may do the trick. But for Richards, such uncool antics are a way of avoiding Hollywood stereotyping. ”I’ll still play a sexy part if the character has depth to it and it’s a great director,” says the actress, who hopes to someday develop her own projects and follow in the producer-actress footsteps of stars like Goldie Hawn and Sally Field. ”But after I finished ‘Wild Things,’ I wanted to wait and do something completely different.”

Fans who prefer Richards sultry rather than silly shouldn’t fear, however. She returns to form as a Bond girl in ”The World Is Not Enough” (opening Nov. 19). Still, Richards claims her sexy role as Dr. Christmas Jones will be a cut above 007’s usual female fluff: ”(Director) Michael Apted wanted to keep my character very smart. Instead of just being the girl on Bond’s arm, I have my own agenda.” Is getting horizontal with the superspy part of that agenda? ”Well, it IS a Bond film,” she admits. Oh, you wild thing!

Drop Dead Gorgeous

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Michael Patrick Jann