From Hayden Christensen to Jason Biggs, the next big names in movies

By EW Staff
Updated June 30, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Hayden Christensen: It Force
AGE 19
WHY HIM? Can you think of a better It Boy — EW’s first — than the winner of the Anakin Skywalker/Instant Superstardom Sweepstakes? This lucky buck beat out Ryan Phillippe, Chris Klein, and Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks, and Roswell costar) for the role every young actor hoped to score: the future Darth Vader in the next two episodes of George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN? Credit the Canadian’s aggressive reps, who got their client (whose only major gig to date has been the Fox Family Channel’s Higher Ground) an interview with Lucasfilm casting director Robin Gurland. Over the next few months, Christensen went from being one of 350 actors interviewed by Gurland, to one of approximately 10 interviewed by Lucas, to a tiny few allowed to test with Phantom Menace costar Natalie Portman. For the crucial final meeting, he was given a few pages of script and one night to prepare. ”Afterward, they gave me a couple of hats and a Star Wars mug,” he says. ”I was happy.” He was even happier a few days later when they gave him the part. ”I was stunned,” says Christensen, who like many of his generation came into Star Wars fandom via video.
BIGGEST INFLUENCESThe Simpsons and Curious George. They showed me it was okay to be mischievous.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION The drug addicts near his old Vancouver apartment that he’d interrogate over breakfast — research for his dope-smokin’ teen on Ground.
FAVORITE STAR WARS CHARACTER Yoda. ”He’s just the coolest.”
WHO’S NOT IT? ”People who rag on their parents.” Christensen clearly has a close relationship with his parents: Mom, Alie, called during this photo shoot; Dad, David, a communications exec, supports his son’s acting. ”Dad wanted me to go to university on a tennis scholarship. When I got the part, he sent me a card that said, ‘Some things are bigger than a tennis scholarship to Harvard.”’
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”So far, so good.”
NEXT Fencing classes (a.k.a. lightsaber training), then shooting Episode II (due 2002) in Australia, then maybe a road-trip flick that he and his older brother, Tove, are developing for their new production company.

It Upstart: Greg Berlanti
AGE 28
WHY HIM? An exec producer of Dawson’s Creek, he just wrote and directed his first feature, the accessible gay-posse flick The Broken Hearts Club — A Romantic Comedy (out, so to speak, in September). The script attracted actors like Dean Cain and Frasier‘s John Mahoney, while the film earned standing ovations at its Sundance 2000 premiere.
WORK RITUAL ”I put a song on repeat. It works like Pavlov’s dogs — it triggers emotions for me to fall right back into writing a scene. I’ve done that with ‘I Will Always Love You’ — the Whitney version.” JEANS OR KHAKIS? ”Oh, please. Khakis. With no pleats.”
WHO’D PLAY HIM IN THE BIOPIC ”My friend Jason Behr.” KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”Right after the screening at Sundance, when my mother and father and I stood in the corner and cried.”
NEXT Directing Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?; awaiting word on who will direct his follow-up script, Her Leading Man; Creek‘s fourth season.

It Joker: Louis C.K.
AGE 32
WHY HIM? An alumnus of Letterman’s and Conan’s writing rooms, this absurdist comedian and filmmaker puts words in Chris Rock’s dirty mouth, having written for his HBO show and coscripted Rock’s fall feature, Down to Earth.
WORK RITUAL ”I walk around, try on clothes, check baseball scores, then I go to a movie, and then I don’t actually ever work.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT As head writer of the defunct Dana Carvey Show, he came up with a sketch about President Clinton breast-feeding puppies, which ABC execs wanted as the series opener, despite his objections. ”We got pounds and pounds of letters, and were off the air in six weeks. I loved the bit, but it was no way to say hello to America.”
NEXT Writing and directing a karate musical about Pootie Tang, his recurring Chris Rock Show character with lingo so cool he’s unintelligible.

It Cutie Pies: Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari
AGES 22, 21
WHY THEM? Out of a seemingly bottomless pool of tepidly talented teens, these two have emerged as the most likely to have careers after 30. After their memorable turns as the pastry-loving geek and the chaste choirgirl, respectively, in last summer’s American Pie, Biggs and Suvari (also American Beauty‘s rose-covered vixen) ditch the high school sex scene for some college action in this summer’s Loser.
WORK RITUAL Suvari: ”Depending on what I have to do in the scene, I either do jumping jacks or have a silent moment.” Biggs: ”The night before I shoot I go over my lines alone in my room. And I pace. A lot.”
DREAM COLLABORATORS Suvari: ”Spielberg, Scorsese, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe.” Biggs: ”I wouldn’t mind being in a Martin Scorsese-directed, Robert De Niro-starring film.”
KNEW THEY’D MADE IT WHEN Biggs: ”I got a call from my old roommate, who said she had seen someone at a Halloween parade dressed up with underpants around his ankles and a pie over his pelvic area. I was like, yeah, I’ve been immortalized in a Halloween costume!”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIES Biggs: ”The Neil Simon trilogy of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and [TV’s] Broadway Bound. I always related to Eugene Morris Jerome.” Suvari: ”Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I’m really into the cosmos.”
IF THEY WEREN’T ACTING, THEY’D… Biggs: ”I’d be on my way to becoming a psychiatrist because I love getting into people’s heads.” Suvari: ”I’d probably go back to school and study physics or astronomy. Well, I’d try, but I took calculus honors and I was lost.”
NEXT Biggs: Saving Silverman, about a plan to foil a friend’s wedding, and Prozac Nation, based on Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir. Suvari: Sugar and Spice, a girl-power black comedy, and D’Artagnan, an 18th-century musketeer caper.

It Import: Connie Nielsen
AGE 35 (according to PEOPLE)
WHY HER? In a time where sexy is often defined by gum-snapping teen honeys in halter tops, this Danish actress brings a stately, grown-up smolder to the big screen. Whether it’s playing the stylish Lucilla in the glorious Gladiator, or coping with less than stellar material (like the role of dutiful astronaut wife Terri Fisher in Mission to Mars), she’s enormously deft at working the seams of a character.
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”[When] I realized I was getting less takes than the snake in a certain film I did.”
WHOSE CAREER SHE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ”Vanessa Redgrave. She’s always had the chance to do both big Hollywood films and the small independent and European films, as well as theater — and has never lost her dignity as a woman and a human being.”
DREAM PROJECT ”To make a film about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women and mother of [Frankenstein author] Mary Shelley.”
ON GLADIATOR COSTAR RUSSELL CROWE ”He’s hugely respectful and he definitely listens; it’s really easy to be a woman around him.”
NEXT A momentary break to concentrate on being a single mom to her 10-year-old son, Sebastian.

The IT spot It Term: Collective
Remember teamwork? We didn’t either, until we witnessed the stunning results of these entertainment fusions: Alice Deejay, the DJ-singer-producer amalgam behind the club hit ”Better Off Alone”; Dogma 95, featuring envelope-pushing filmmakers like Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark); and Traktor, the brain trust composed of five Swedish directors who created snappy ads for MTV and Fox Sports Net. Go teams!

AGE 46
WHY HIM? A familiar face to TV audiences (he played Dr. Jack Morrison on St. Elsewhere), he’s slowly emerging as the actor’s actor, judging from his long-standing creative partnership with Sean Penn (The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard) and his solid supporting roles in The Green Mile and, in December, as the kidnapped husband of Meg Ryan in Proof of Life, costarring Russell Crowe.
WORK RITUAL ”Yoga and stretching to prepare for shooting, and drawing inspiration from those unexpected little things that happen. One day, maybe it’s the sound of the vacuum cleaner,” he says.
WORST CAREER MOMENT Putting off reading for the lead in Splash! ”I felt there was something wrong with the script. I couldn’t imagine how they would make it work, and then some guy named Tom Hanks [his Mile costar] got the part.”
WHOSE CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Anthony Hopkins. ”He has such a pure love for acting.”
WHO’D PLAY HIM IN THE BIOPIC Sean Penn. ”He likes those big stretches…. He fought for me to do those two movies, and they were as important for me as they were for him.”
NEXT Bait, out Sept. 15, and Dancer in the Dark, due Oct. 6.

It Hobbit Wrangler: Peter Jackson
AGE 38
WHY HIM? After building a critical rep with edgy, quirky features like Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners, the New Zealand filmmaker is doing something no director has done before: shooting the big, expensive, F/X-heavy three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings back-to-back (total scheduled on-set time: 14 months), due in theaters for the holidays 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively.
WORK RITUAL When exhausted from the ”grueling length of the shoot,” which started last October, Jackson asks himself, ”’Is there anything else I’d truly rather be doing?’ I always say, ‘No.”’
INFLUENTIAL MOVIE The original King Kong. ”It transported me 100 percent into another world.”
BIGGEST CREATIVE CRUTCH ON RINGS ”Having wonderful source material.”
ON-SET MANTRA ”Make it feel real.”

Jamie Foxx: It Crossover Star
AGE 32
WHY HIM? When did this In Living Color alum and WB sitcom star go from being our favorite street-flava’d wacky comedian to being our Great Black Hope? Try his first scene facing off with Al Pacino in Oliver Stone’s football drama Any Given Sunday. Foxx won the part of arrogant quarterback Willie Beamen when Stone discovered that his original choice, Sean ”Puffy” Combs, couldn’t authentically toss a pigskin. A former quarterback in a tough league in his native Terrell, Tex., Foxx brought that knack to the role along with his burgeoning film experience (Toys, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Booty Call), and showed off his rap skills to boot by contributing the title song. Working with demanding ideologue Stone ”was great,” says Foxx. ”I taught him a lot about bein’ black, he taught me a lot about bein’ a white man.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”They noticed me at the local 7-Eleven.”
INFLUENTIAL TV SHOWThe Jeffersons — just how George was able to say anything. He’d say the word honky especially cool.”
WHOSE CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Smooth movie stud ”Billy Dee Williams.”
NEXT A couple of movies about ex-cons: Bait, about a former prisoner who helps police lure a criminal out of hiding, and possibly The Extractors, ”about these guys that were in the penitentiary, broke out, and now they break people out of jail for money.”

It Cynic: Neil LaBute
AGE 38
WHY HIM? He’s a practicing Mormon, but his films and plays look so unblinkingly at vile behavior that LaBute makes Billy Wilder seem sentimental. He scored with the misogyny case study In the Company of Men, followed up smartly with the equally sour Your Friends & Neighbors, and just wowed Cannes with the oddly eerie comedy Nurse Betty, starring Renée Zellweger and Morgan Freeman.
WORK RITUAL ”Like many writers, I’m an incredible procrastinator, and Oprah never looks better than when I have a deadline. The best writing spot I ever found was an unused closet with no windows and nothing on the walls.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION Awful early jobs, including mental hospital attendant and boxcar loader/unloader. ”Thinking about those helps me turn out pages.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT During an intended-to-be-funny AIDS monologue in one of his early plays, Filthy Talk for Troubled Times, an outraged audience member shouted ”Kill the playwright!”
DREAM PROJECT Finds himself ”continually drawn to” David Mamet’s play Edmond because ”it’s about an antechamber of hell darker than any I’ve been able to write about.”
DREAM COLLABORATOR French filmmaker Eric Rohmer.
LOVES ACTORS BECAUSE ”They do something I can’t do and don’t fully understand, and to me, anything in that category is art.”
INFLUENTIAL TV SHOWGilligan’s Island. Because like Everest, it was there. It made me feel higher in the food chain.”
FAVE QUOTE From King Lear, ”Out, vile jelly,” because ”it’s something to write a scene about somebody getting their eyes plunged out and come up with a line that bouncy.”
NEXT An adaptation of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, a Booker prize-winning novel that intertwines a modern romance with one set in the Victorian era.

It Party Girl: Lola Glaudini
AGE 28
WHY HER? Playing a dope-addled administrative assistant on NYPD Blue prepped her for the big screen: The daughter of playwright Robert Glaudini (The Poison Tree) made her leading-lady debut this month in the rave flick Groove, and will costar with Johnny Depp in the upcoming cocaine epic Blow.
WHY ALL THE EDGY ROLES? ”I think it’s sort of a blessing that I get to play complex people that are dealing with adult issues, as opposed to ‘Is he going to ask me out?”’
IF SHE WEREN’T ACTING, SHE’D… Cook. ”I make wonderful empanadas.”
WHO’S IT? Lili Taylor, Catherine Keener, Steven Soderbergh.
NEXT Looking for more left-of-center scripts.

It Villain: Jeffrey Wright
AGE 34
WHY HIM? He’s appeared on stage in King Lear and Angels in America: Perestroika. And yes, he’s one of Hollywood’s most promising actors (see: Basquiat and Hamlet). But it’s Wright’s role as Peoples Hernandez, the hilarious Spanglish-spouting thug in Shaft, that’s made him bad enough for this movie and any other flicks that might be light on a heavy.
WHOSE CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ”Marlon Brando’s, but I’d try not to eat as much ice cream.”
DREAM PROJECT A biopic on Alexander Pushkin. ”The story of the greatest Russian poet — a quasi-revolutionary and quasi-rock star — who just happened to be descended of Africans.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION A barbershop on 186th street in Manhattan. ”I got a haircut and there was a party goin’ on. Dominican music cranking. I got a copy of this music that was playing… that was my score for the character [of Peoples].”
NEXT Crime + Punishment in Suburbia and Cement. He’s also working on a screenplay about kids in Southeast Washington, D.C.

It Quick-Change Artist: Toni Collette
AGE 27
WHY HER? Her ability to transcend dress sizes and accents to embody everyone from a frumpy Aussie suburbanite (Muriel’s Wedding) to a strung-out rocker’s wife (Velvet Goldmine) to a Marilyn Monroesque bombshell (Broadway’s The Wild Party) finally earned her an Oscar nomination (The Sixth Sense). And she hasn’t gotten Shaft-ed in her latest big-screen foray opposite Samuel L. Jackson.
MOST CREATIVE THING SHE’S EVER DONE ”I made this colorful salad that was the first thing that was gone off the table! It had beets, goat cheese, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, as well as your average variety of lettuces.”
DREAM COLLABORATOR ”I have a bee in my bonnet about Scorsese and Meryl Streep, also Johnny Depp. The choices that he makes are really unusual.”
KNEW SHE’D MADE IT WHEN ”My name was on a Fantales wrapper. In Australia there’s a candy called Fantales that gives a little bio of different actors on the wrapper. I grew up eating them, so when I actually was on one, I was blown away!”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIE ”Sadly, embarrassingly, pathetically, The Sound of Music. I want to be in the remake. There’s no remake planned, but I think we should start the rumor.”
NEXT Now that The Wild Party‘s over, she’ll start shooting the Bill Condon-directed Bess Myerson story, Queen Bess, with Glenn Close.

It Mug: John C. Reilly
AGE 35
WHY HIM? Whether he’s playing a salt-of-the-earth cop in Magnolia, a salt-of-the-sea fisherman in this summer’s The Perfect Storm, or either one of the dueling brothers in the blistering Broadway production of Sam Shepard’s True West, Reilly manages to illuminate the decency, desires, and delusions of the American workingman.
WORK RITUAL Slips into the sole of a role. ”Usually the first thing I try to figure out with a character is his shoes, since that’s the way he’s connected to the earth. Shoes can dictate your feelings.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”Being booed by 5,000 New York Yankee fans in Yankee Stadium when I was playing a catcher in For Love of the Game. They were screaming out movies that I’d been in — insulting me on a personal level. It was like, ‘Reilly you suuuck! Boogie Nights!’ Just anything to get to me.”
DREAM PROJECT Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. ”That would be a dream role for me. I understand they’re doing a remake of it. Just tell me who I have to bl– to get that part. To play Willy Wonka — I could just die happily then.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IRISH CATHOLIC ”Church is really theatrical. When I do plays and sometimes when I do movies, I feel kind of like a priest. The lights go down and all these people come together and commune. It’s kind of holy, in a way.”
FAVE QUOTE That epigram from Magnolia: ”We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”
NEXT The Perfect Storm, opening June 30.

It Latex Slinger: Rick Baker
AGE 49
WHY HIM? For one big, fat reason: Sherman Klump, the most notorious tub of lard this side of Jabba the Hutt. Baker, who won one of his five Oscars for his earthshaking makeup work on the first Nutty Professor, puts five characters in foam latex for this summer’s Nutty sequel. But he wasn’t content with just one high-profile 2000 project — he’s also responsible for Jim Carrey’s green fur (and the Whos of Whoville) in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”Looking at fat people. We had a casting call for overweight people. One poor guy stripped down to his underpants and let us take pictures of him.”
MOST CREATIVE THING HE’S EVER DONE ”Probably the transformation in An American Werewolf in London.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”I was working on a film called Rex, which was eventually canceled; during that time, I turned down Edward Scissorhands.”
BEST SET SOUVENIR ”Probably my favorite is Harry from Harry and the Hendersons.”
DREAM PROJECT ”When I heard they were doing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I pursued it, and it didn’t happen. At the time I was disappointed, but then I saw the movie.”
NEXT Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.

It Kings of Comedy: Eddie Griffin and Orlando Jones
AGES Both 32
WHY THEM? Griffin is a brilliant fixture on L.A.’s stand-up scene, and one half of TV’s Malcolm & Eddie. Jones, of 7Up commercial fame (”Make 7Up yours”), does a scene-stealing turn lip-synching ”I Will Survive” in the Keanu Reeves football flick The Replacements and costars in Brendan Fraser’s Bedazzled. The two are working together in Double Take, a mistaken-identity comedy.
WORK RITUAL Just doing it. Jones: ”There’s no time for trimming your toenails or skipping the light fantastic before a scene.”
DREAM COLLABORATORS Griffin: Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey.
WORST CAREER MOMENT Jones: Getting his part pared down in Magnolia. ”Paul Thomas Anderson called me and said, ‘You’re definitely in my next movie’…. He’s just a kick-ass guy and I had a great time hanging out with him.”
BEST SET SOUVENIR Jones: A lighter from Magnolia. ”Then I could burn all those other stupid T-shirts I got from other movies.”
NEXT Wrapping Double Take, set to be released next year.

James Marsden and Famke Janssen: It X Couple
AGES 26, 35
WHY THEM? He’s a moody stud who fires laser beams out of high-tech Oakleys. She’s a saucy, scarlet-haired scientist who can move stuff with her mind. Together they are Cyclops and Jean Grey, lovers who lead this summer’s sexy superhero squad, the X-Men.
HARDEST THING ABOUT MAKING X-MEN ”Conveying any emotion without ever letting the audience see your eyes,” says Marsden, last seen in Gossip. Says Janssen, who played a Bond babe in Goldeneye: ”Making a cerebral character interesting to watch on screen. Hopefully, I succeeded.”
WORK RITUAL Janssen: ”Cappuccino — before I get to the set, please.”
DREAM COLLABORATORS Marsden: Paul Newman and Marlon Brando. Janssen: Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.
IF THEY WEREN’T ACTING, THEY’D… Marsden: ”Be a singer.” Janssen: ”Be very sad.”
NEXT Marsden: 2001’s Sugar and Spice. Janssen: Sundance hit Love & Sex (due Aug. 25) and Made, Jon Favreau’s long-awaited Swingers follow-up.

It Lady of Spain: Penelope Cruz
AGE 26
WHY HER? As a nun impregnated by a transvestite in Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother, she reeked of purity — an uncomfortably enticing kind of purity. As a cover girl and budding film starlet (mostly in her home base of Spain for the last few years), she’s bewitched us, but Cruz stands to break through to a more mainstream kind of stardom with this fall’s double bill: September’s Woman on Top, her first star turn in an English-language film, and All the Pretty Horses, appearing opposite Matt Damon — with whom Cruz denies any romantic entanglements. ”That’s what the gossip columnists do,” she says. ”Try to put you together.”
WORK RITUAL ”I listen to very loud music before scenes, when it’s appropriate — it might be an adagio by Mahler, Marilyn Manson, or Jeff Buckley. I’ve been listening to [Buckley] every day since I got into him a few months ago.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”Looking at different paintings” — Francis Bacon and Max Ernst are favorites.
DREAM PROJECT To do Genet’s The Maids on stage.
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT ”The help and freedom my parents gave me.”
NEXT Playing opposite Johnny Depp in the upcoming Blow, and the romance Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, with Nicolas Cage, which she is currently shooting in Greece.

It Virgin: Sofia Coppola
AGE 29
WHY HER? Sometimes, just when you think they’re out, they pull themselves back in: Coppola has canceled her one-way ticket to punchline purgatory with a visually arresting directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides. (She gets bonus points for her marriage to auteur wonder Spike Jonze, and for their closely knit circle of creative, alterna-movie insiders.)
WORK RITUAL ”I go through a million books and magazines, making collages and covering the walls in pictures. I try to find visual references of what I’m thinking about.”
DREAM COLLABORATOR ”Bill Murray. I can’t even do justice to him in words.”
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT ”My dad, as corny as that is. Well, actually both my mom and my dad. She definitely gets equal billing.”
IF SHE WEREN’T DIRECTING, SHE’D… ”Be a homemaker. On my marriage certificate it says director/homemaker. I like the idea that you can make your lifestyle an art form.”
BEST SET SOUVENIR ”[Josh Hartnett’s] Trip Fontaine wig from Virgin Suicides. It’s in a box. I think it’s time to make a Lucite case for it.”
NEXT No concrete movie plans yet, but ”I’d like to do an original story, [though] that seems daunting. A lot of times second movies are not the best, so I want to do something really indulgent and get it out of my system.”

It Geek: Mike White
AGE 30
WHY HIM? Not only is this onetime Dawson’s Creek scribe the brains behind the acclaimed Sundance stalker flick Chuck & Buck (July 14), he also worked on the criminally canceled TV show, NBC’s Freaks and Geeks.
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”After Sundance, a guy in the LAX bathroom said to me, ‘I’m uncomfortable peeing next to you.”’
IF HE WEREN’T WRITING, HE’D… Be ”a busboy or something.”
NEXT American Neurotic, which he wrote for Sandler, about a man who loves his therapist’s daughter; an adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher; and a musical with a character he describes as ”Mary Poppins meets Willy Wonka.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”The studio [saying] my script was too juvenile for Adam Sandler.”

It Sketch Artist: Brick Mason
AGE 46
WHY HIM? As a storyboard artist, he turns a thousand words into shot-by-shot pictures. Mason’s the guy folks like M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) and Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail) come to when they want to know how a scene featuring a haunted boy or two people falling in love via the Internet might translate to the screen.
WORK RITUAL ”When you’re hunched over a drawing board all day, it’s great to pick up a guitar and turn it up and do something really kinetic.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN He was working on Annie, his third movie. ”I got into the field by accident… and there I was sitting with John Huston.”
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT A catchy name. ”Brick Mason helps… people remember you.”
NEXT Ephron’s yet-to-be-titled project, Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, and Bait, all coming out this fall.

Crafting It: How’d They Do That?: The Sixth Sense
Illustrating the bond between Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment depended on a similarly close relationship between director and artist. ”With Night it’s very collaborative,” says Mason. ”We talked about each scene. I’d go off and do rough sketches… and then we’d discuss more.” The two created Sense‘s ominous nature — long before any creepy music was scored: ”I definitely put more time into establishing mood through shading. Night is one of the few people who likes shading.”

It Triple Threat: Jerod Mixon, Jerry ”Mongo” Brownlee, and Anthony Anderson
AGES 19, 29, 29
WHY THEM? Okay, they’re not really triplets. But they play genius multiple sibs in the latest Farrelly Brothers gut buster, Me, Myself & Irene, where they do the impossible: snatch big laughs away from on-screen dad Jim Carrey.
WORST CAREER MOMENT Anderson : ”Getting fired from a [TV] pilot for lack of energy.”
BIGGEST PAIN OF FAME Mixon: ”Before, nobody knew who I was; they thought I was just a normal fat dude walking down the street. Now everybody wants an autograph.”
DREAM PROJECT Anderson: ”I’d love to remake The Wiz. I would be the Lion, Lauryn Hill would be Dorothy, Scarecrow would be Jay-Z, and I know who would be the heads of the little monkeys — Emmanuel Lewis and Gary Coleman.”
INFLUENTIAL TV SHOW Anderson: ”Bosom Buddies, with Tom Hanks.”
IF THEY WEREN’T ACTING, THEY’D… Former Air Force enlistee Brownlee: Be ”in the [boxing] ring.” Mixon: ”Working at McDonald’s.”
NEXT The Farrellys are developing a script to reunite the triplets for an Irene spin-off. In the meantime, catch Anderson in Urban Legends: Final Cut and in the upcoming comedy Kingdom Come.

The It Spot It Shoes: Nike Air Kukinis
They were originally inspired by triathletes, but these high-tech trainers transcend utility. Slip them on with an ankle-skimming skirt… and voila! Extreme fashion.

It Barfly: Piper Perabo
AGE 23
WHY HER? As the lead martini-and-booty-shaking bartender in the Cocktail-meets-Flashdance epic Coyote Ugly, and as the FBI agent who matches wits with Robert De Niro and a CG moose in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, this spunky newcomer is having quite the debutante summer. And contrary to Lou Grant’s ethos, we love spunk.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION On De Niro’s recommendation, she watched the 1953 Doris Day musical Calamity Jane to nail her Bullwinkle character.
WHOSE CAREER SHE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Willem Dafoe’s, since he alternates between film and avant-garde theater.
WHO’D PLAY HER IN THE BIOPIC ”I guess I would. I’m available after July 10!”
IF SHE WEREN’T ACTING, SHE’D…”It’d be fun to teach second-grade art, and sit around in smocks all day and paint.”
FAVE QUOTE ”Develop your legitimate strangeness,” by French poet René Char.
NEXT Playing an ostracized lesbian in the indie boarding-school drama Lost and Delirious.

Amanda Peet: It Scene Stealer
AGE 28
WHY HER? The star of The WB’s Jack & Jill is usually better than her material, but never as much as in The Whole Nine Yards, where she followed in Haley Joel Osment’s wee footsteps as the second relative unknown to yank a movie away from Bruce Willis. As the dental assistant with assassination aspirations, she was sexy, intelligent, hilarious, and always surprising — traits the rest of the movie lacked. Hopefully, her material will finally catch up with her in September’s Whipped, in which she plays the object of three womanizing friends’ mutual affection.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION During a 1996 stage production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, she would crouch underneath the makeup table and listen to Joni Mitchell’s Blue just before each night’s upsetting final scene.
WORST CAREER MOMENT When she turned down a film because it required nudity, the producers kept calling her agent trying to compromise. First it was ”just boobs,” then ”a body double,” and, when turned down again, their final offer: ”prosthetic nipples.” ”We were like, Are you kidding? How do you go to a fitting for that?”
KNEW SHE’D MADE IT WHEN On the set of Body Shots, ”instead of just ‘Cast,’ my chair said ‘Amanda Peet.”’
BEST WRAP GIFT Willis gave the entire cast video cameras at the end of Yards. ”The funniest part was I thought I was the only one [who got one]. And then everyone started to appear out of their trailers with astonished looks on their faces, holding their cameras.”
NEXT Saving Silverman (due early next year), playing the evil fiancee of Jason Biggs, and another season of Jill.

It ”Storm” Trooper Stefen Fangmeier
AGE 39
WHY HIM? After exhibiting his CG wizardry on land (Saving Private Ryan) and in space (Galaxy Quest), this visual-effects supervisor headed out to sea to create The Perfect Storm‘s perfect wave, the killer surge that’s become the film’s come-hither cataclysm.
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN While working on Twister, his first gig leading an effects team, Fangmeier assembled his group and warned them of the impending crushing hours. ”I knew I’d made it as a leader because I didn’t think of my job manipulatively; I just intuitively thought I should acknowledge that I would have to drag them through hell. They appreciated that.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION The kitchen. ”I cook quite a bit. It links into passion and being creative, even in the most mundane aspect of your life.”
MOST CREATIVE THING HE’S EVER DONE Made up a recipe for ”Chilean sea bass with a ginger-mustard marinade, with risotto and red beans.” Hold the computer effects.
WHAT’S NOT IT? ”The Internet. It just sucks you in, and it’s very passive. I’d rather be doing something creative.”
NEXT Developing a digitally animated feature film to direct.

Crafting It: How’d They Do That?: The Perfect Storm
To create the all-CG climactic crest, Fangmeier consulted with an ocean expert to nail the patterns and tendencies of a roiling sea, and to make sure this 150-foot-plus monster was feasible. First, an animated wire frame (a moving rudimentary mesh of connected points) was programmed to map out the basic shape of the wave. Sub-waves and lighting were added, and the boat (the last of four CG models, each in increasing degrees of disrepair) was entered into the program and its movements charted. Finally, minute elements from foam to light to ripples were applied, and suddenly, surf’s up… way up.

It Shooter: Newton Thomas Sigel
AGE 39
WHY HIM? With an eye trained by years of making war documentaries in Central America, this cinematographer gave Three Kings its hyperreal battle-weary look. He’s since moved on to the very unreal battles of X-Men, his third collaboration with director Bryan Singer.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”Soul-searing lovemaking.”
MOST CREATIVE THING HE’S EVER DONE ”Soul-searing lovemaking.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”I got my first job shooting, and it was for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. I know it hasn’t been seen quite as much as Jurassic Park, but it may have similar ramifications.”
DREAM PROJECT Directing a biopic of Siamese twins Chang and Eng.
WHOSE CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ”God has a really cool career, and he’s very creative… although that’s a lot of responsibility.”
NEXT ”I’m close to one of two films…. It would be bad form to tell you.”

It Sundance Kid: Karyn Kusama
AGE 32
WHY HER? She’s neither a Latina nor a boxer. Still, in her debut film Girlfight, writer-director Kusama portrays the world of an angry Hispanic teen who finds solace in the boxing ring. After taking home a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and being named best director, Kusama won the non-French half of the Prix de la Jeunesse in Cannes.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”Girls on the subway with those looks of intense dissatisfaction with life.”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIE Eraserhead. ”It disturbed me in a way that showed me the power of movies.”
NEXT Girlfight‘s fall release, then another film exploring gender roles. ”It’s more about the inner workings of the body. I should call it bio-fiction.”

It Phoenix: Mark Feuerstein
AGE 29
WHY HIM? Because he rose from the ashes of NBC’s ’98 disaster Conrad Bloom to land roles on Ally McBeal and Once and Again, and to work opposite Mel Gibson (in the upcoming What Women Want) and fellow It Lister Penelope Cruz (in September’s Woman on Top).
ON WORKING WITH CRUZ ”She was just a perfect mimic… and yet’s she’s this stunning creature.”
IF HE WEREN’T ACTING, HE’D… ”Probably irritate everyone on some floor of an office building in a law firm.”
WHO’S IT? James L. Brooks. ”His ability to combine the tragedy and comedy of life is so seamless and effortless.”
WHO’S NOT IT? ”The guy who invented the cell phone.”
NEXT In Cape Cod for theater workshops with friends.

The It Spot It Operation: Lasik Surgery
I can see clearly now… the eye surgeon has come. That could be the new anthem among such former Hollywood four-eyes as Courteney Cox Arquette, Michael Douglas, and Nicole Kidman, who’ve all had vision-correcting LASIK surgery. The short laser procedure (which can run some $2,500 an eye) even had a cameo on the June 4 premiere of Sex and the City when Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) got her eyes done. No, the episode wasn’t called ”20/20.”

It Festival Gods: Kenneth Lonergan and Mark Ruffalo
AGES 37, 32
WHY THEM? After teaming up four years ago on Lonergan’s Off Broadway hit This Is Our Youth, the playwright-turned-movie director and his leading man (Ruffalo) proved at this year’s Sundance festival that real human drama could trump ”edgy” indie clichés. Their award-winning film You Can Count on Me is almost old-fashioned in its focus on small, searing moments. And as the movie’s drifter who pays a visit to his seemingly ”together” sister (Laura Linney), Ruffalo is a second-coming-of-Brando revelation.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION Ruffalo: ”Dylan Thomas. As weird and obtuse as some of his stuff is, he’s been a huge influence on me.”
WORK RITUAL Lonergan: ”I just like to get up as early as I can and start writing.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT Ruffalo: ”I auditioned at SUNY Purchase and they asked me, ‘What will you do if you realize you’ll never make it as an actor?’ I said, ‘I’ll put a f—ing bullet in my head’ and ran out of there crying.”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIE Ruffalo: ”When I was 10 my mom kept me up to watch A Streetcar Named Desire on TV, and Marlon Brando was so f—ing cool. It’s what made me want to be an actor.” Lonergan: ”The Honeymooners — it’s the basis for everything. It’s to us what The Iliad was to the Greeks.”
NEXT Lonergan wrote the screenplay for The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (due June 30), and Ruffalo just finished shooting the indie romance XX/XY.

It Dresser: Sandy Powell
AGE 40
WHY HER? Because nobody dresses better. Winner of the 1998 best costume Oscar for her work in Shakespeare in Love (and nominated that same year for Velvet Goldmine‘s duds), Powell makes clothes, like the handsome WWII-era suits worn by Julianne Moore in The End of the Affair, as good as the actors who don them.
KNEW SHE’D MADE IT WHEN ”A piece in a fashion magazine [in England] suggested that Miuccia Prada had watched The End of the Affair and based her next collection on it. But that’s just fashion-speak, it’s not a fact.”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIEDeath in Venice certainly, [because of] the visuals and the costumes.”
BEST SET SOUVENIR ”I did get one of Elizabeth’s costumes from Shakespeare. My pension — one day I can sell it at an auction”.
NEXT Dressing Leo DiCaprio and Co. for Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. ”Scorsese was one of those people where if I was ever asked to [work for him], I would drop everything — which I kind of have.”

Crafting It: How’d They Do That?: Shakespeare in Love
To re-create a costume from a bygone era, like the ornate Virgin Queen frock worn by Judi Dench in the film, Powell does what any good student would do: She hits the books. ”I have quite an extensive library,” says Powell. ”Whether it’s fashion or art or paintings or photography, I look through as many as possible. And I read up on the period.” In the end, Elizabeth’s dress ruled.

It Go-To Girl: Rachael Leigh Cook
AGE 20
WHY HER? She’s living up to the title of her breakout movie, She’s All That. Cook has no fewer than eight films scheduled for the next year, including the title role in the live-action Josie and the Pussycats, which begins shooting this summer.
WORK RITUAL ”I have the worst memory, so I get a tape recorder and I’ll read the lines neutrally into it and play it back over and over so it gets into my head.”
MOST CREATIVE THING SHE’S EVER DONE ”My senior paper titled ‘Politics, Schmolitics, and 10 Other Reasons I’ll Never Be President.’ I got an A.”
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT ”Perspective. I get so sick of listening to people whining who don’t know how lucky they are.”
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”My cat, Skippy. She’s beautiful and mysterious and interesting and cunning. Funny, too. She’s the ideal woman.”
BEST WRAP GIFT ”MGM gave me walkie-talkies after we finished Antitrust,” the Silicon Alley drama costarring Ryan Phillippe and Tim Robbins, due early next year. ”I’ve had a little too much fun with those.”
NEXT She dons petticoats for August’s Texas Rangers and splits hairs in September’s comedy Blow Dry.

It Skin Flicker: Scott E. Anderson
AGE 36
WHY HIM? He makes Kevin Bacon become see-through one layer at a time in this summer’s invisible-man screamer Hollow Man (Aug. 4). An Oscar winner for Babe, Anderson made sure the skinless villain was anatomically perfect, having his CG staff study physiology textbooks and watch a human dissection. ”Our whole crew deserves honorary medical degrees.”
WORK RITUAL Listening only to NPR while driving to his job distracts him from obsessing about work. ”[Even listening to] music can trigger so many work thoughts that it creates too much edge.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT He was set to work with one of his idols, Roman Polanski, on The Double, which was abandoned after John Travolta backed out in 1996.
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN As kids were exiting a Babe screening, he watched their amazement when they saw James Cromwell (Farmer Hoggett) in the lobby. ”It was like they had seen Santa Claus. To watch their eyes light up…. This is why you make movies.”
NEXT Decompressing after two years on Hollow Man.

Crafting It:How’d they Do That?: Hollow Man
Just because Bacon was invisible in this underwater scene where he struggles with a government agent (William Devane) doesn’t mean he got the day off. The filmmakers felt his costars would act better against a real person, even if that meant removing him and replacing him with a CG model later. Here Bacon wore a black suit, wig, and makeup (1) so he could be painted out of the frame while keeping the bubbles in front of him. Two versions of the Bacon computer model were created — one refractive (2), one reflective(3) — then merged so he would be mirrorlike on his edges and blurrily transparent in his center, just like a bubble. Meanwhile, robotic cameras recorded all their own moves while shooting Bacon so they could precisely film the scene again with no one in the pool; this captured what the water looked like behind him, which was then added to his transparent model. Boy, that Claude Rains had it easy.

It Slow Burner: Chris Cooper
AGE 48
WHY HIM? No one better registers simmering distrust and latent redemption — be it the righteous suspicion of his Lone Star sheriff or the paranoia of the troubled dads in American Beauty and October Sky.
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT John Sayles, who plucked him from the theater world for Matewan, then rehired him for City of Hope and his 1996 breakthrough, Lone Star.
WORK RITUAL ”My [coach] always said, ‘There’s always some secrets you should have about the character.”’
BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDING ”People came up to me after October Sky saying, ‘God, what a mean father you were,’ and when I hear that, I think I’ve failed in some way…. I drew so strongly on my relationship with my father and his friends. They were some of the greatest gentlemen I’ve met.”
IF HE WEREN’T ACTING, HE’D… Be a cattle rancher, a vocation he happily shared with his father in Kansas City, Mo., before taking to the New York stage.
WHO’S IT? Harry Dean Stanton and contemporary chameleon Philip Seymour Hoffman.
NEXT Playing straight man to Jim Carrey in Me, Myself & Irene and, yes, a patriot in The Patriot.

It Cell Mate: Kevin Tod Haug
AGE 42
WHY HIM? This visual-effects supervisor took a tour of Edward Norton’s brain for the Fight Club opening, and with the hallucinogenic The Cell (opening Aug. 18), he brings Jennifer Lopez into the mind of a serial killer.
WORK RITUAL ”[The New York Times‘s] Science Times, a cappuccino, a vial of ginseng, and a croissant in the morning gets me going.”
BEST SET SOUVENIR During his first supervising job, on the Madonna video ”Bedtime Story,” he snatched a long piece of her blond hair from her stylist.
WHEN HE KNEW HIS FUTURE CAREER ”When I was 6 [and watching The Flintstones], I pointed out to my mother that Fred was going to pick up a rock because it was a different color than the background, and he did. I now know it was because [that rock] was on a different cel level. I was probably destined from that moment to do what I’m doing.”
NEXT Prepping for his third teaming with David Fincher for the Hitchcockian thriller Panic Room.

Crafting It: How’d they Do that?: The Cell
During Lopez’s first mind meld with the comatose murderer, she encounters him as a child petting a horse, which is brutally vivisected by a divided, sharpened-glass cage that slams down from the ceiling, trapping horse slices in its chambers (while the organs still quiver). She squeezes through two gory chambers to pursue the fleeing murderer-to-be. No animals were diced in the making of this film: Lopez actually slid through two plates of glass, one colored black to catch her reflection, which could be superimposed on the final CG creation. The horse was then re-created by image-based modeling, with five simultaneous photos taken of it from all sides (after shooting it being stroked by Lopez and the boy) and combined in the computer so the horse can be viewed from all angles — similar to the way a hovering Keanu Reeves was rotated in The Matrix. The sections were then separated by the CG glass tubes, with the internal organs inserted courtesy of a French veterinary college that had photos of a micro-sliced horse, and then animated to get just the right death contractions. Veganism, anybody?

The It Spot It Lit Pack: Friends of Dave Eggers
Eggers, author of last spring’s hit Gen-X memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, is proving that literary success can be catching: His bud Sarah Vowell’s essay collection Take the Cannoli was published by Simon & Schuster in April; Villard released his Might magazine cohort Brett Leveridge’s Men My Mother Dated and Other Mostly True Tales in May; and friend Sean Wilsey (who accompanied Eggers on the New York City leg of his Heartbreaking tour) just inked a deal with Random House to publish his memoirs.

It Everydude: Donal Logue
AGE 34
WHY HIM? The guy best known as MTV’s ”Jimmy the Cabdriver” is poised for a summer breakout with roles in The Patriot and the indie comedy The Tao of Steve, which earned him a Sundance Special Jury Prize for acting.
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”I was in 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up and the translator for the Korean director [told me]: ”You better comedy! When he kick you in balls, no go ‘oh!,’ go ‘OOOEEEWWWOOOHHWOOOOHH!’ It was so humiliating.”
WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT ”Without the fact that my dad, who was a priest, left. If he hadn’t walked away from the Catholic church, I wouldn’t be here.”
NEXT The indies The Opportunists and Steal This Movie!, both due in August.

Ginger and Rocky: It Poulets
AGE Younger than a McNugget
WHY THEM? At work or at clay, these Chicken Run stars have charisma, charm, and a ”Don’t cluck with me” swagger. With Ginger’s sultry, bee-stung beak and Rocky’s cock-of-the-walk strut, these two are making a fowl play at becoming the action stars of the summer.
WHOSE CAREER THEY’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE Rocky: ”That dog on Frasier. ‘Chase your tail. Look up at Frasier all weepy. Now go cash your check.’ Give me that gig any day.”
WORST CAREER MOMENT Ginger: ”I was once the mascot for Chuck’s Chick-A-Rama. I got fired for asking Chuck what my motivation was.”
DREAM COLLABORATOR Rocky: ”Carrot Top. Hey, the guy cracks me up.” Ginger: Lasse Hallstrom. I think a brilliant follow-up to My Life as a Dog would be My Life as a Hen.”
INFLUENTIAL TV SHOW Rocky: ”Looney Tunes. That Foghorn Leghorn, what an actor. Do you know how many variations he brought to the line, ‘Boy, I say boy…’?”
NEXT Ginger: ”Enjoy my freedom for a while.” Rocky: ”No news on Chicken Run 2, but I’ve got this great idea: The Bad News Bears… with chickens. Whaddya think?”

It Scribe: Susannah Grant
AGE 30-something
WHY HER? With Ever After, Erin Brockovich, and 28 Days, Grant has developed a well-deserved rep for crafting intelligent and intrepid female characters.
WORK RITUAL ”The office has to be dark and it’s best if I haven’t spoken to anyone. My day starts at 5:30 in the morning — horrifying, I know.”
IF SHE WEREN’T WRITING, SHE’D… ”Be a gardener.”
FAVE QUOTE ”You see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear,” from The Point, by Harry Nilsson.
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”Before I was a screenwriter, I worked on this horrible TV show called Can This Marriage Be Saved? I interviewed unhappily married couples.”
INFLUENTIAL MOVIE Network. ”Brilliant.”
KNEW SHE’D MADE IT WHEN ”Somebody on the press line at the Erin Brockovich premiere asked: ‘Who are you wearing?’ Of course, being the writer, I wanted to correct her and say ‘whom.”’
NEXT Making her directorial debut with her own script — the plot of which Grant refuses to reveal.

The It Spot It Demand: The Delivery Zone
It’s not exactly like getting a pepperoni pizza, but Dr. Barry Sears devotees Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Winona Ryder, and Kristin Davis all love ordering in when it’s a ”Zone Diet” meal, which can be delivered to home, office, or movie set. The cost? A mere $424.90 will get you a week’s worth of three squares plus snacks. Remember: BYOC (bring your own carbohydrates).

Crafting It: It Script: Cameron Crowe’s new movie
Jerry Maguire writer-director Cameron Crowe never told anyone they had him ”at hello.” But nearly everything in his next film is from his own life. It’s the story of how, at 15, he became a rock journalist for Creem, then Rolling Stone. Due Oct.13, the as-yet-untitled film is packed with real-life characters, including Lester Bangs, the rock columnist who was Crowe’s first national editor and mentor (he died in 1982 at 33). Below, Crowe deconstructs a pivotal scene — the first meeting between Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Crowe’s alter ego, William (Patrick Fugit).
Crowe shot the nearly verbatim re-creation of the 1973 conversation with Bangs at the Sun Café, around the corner from the original site in downtown San Diego’s Seventh and Ash section. That diner is now an office building.
Bangs wore a Guess Who T-shirt to the diner. This one is Crowe’s, which he got at the same time and saved for a moment like this. ”Lester dressed in promotional T-shirts, which was funny because his message was that corporate America is just around the corner ready to seize rock with merchandising and commerciality, but he had no problem wearing rock T-shirts. They were free, and they fit.”
Hoffman had a Coke and a coffee with his sandwich, Bangs’ beverage twofer of choice. Crowe paid meticulous attention to detail to honor his mentor: ”If we didn’t get it right… somewhere from the beyond I would feel the wrath of Lester Bangs.” But during take 1 of the previous scene (Hoffman’s first) the actor abruptly stopped and asked why everyone was yelling ”Cut!” Nobody was. ”I remember thinking, ‘F—! Lester’s unhappy! But we did another take and fell into a groove.”
At the time, Crowe listened intently to the critic-sage, then promptly ignored his advice. ”It’s like somebody saying, ‘Don’t go out with that girl. Yes, she’s beautiful. Yes, she likes you. Yes, she’s a lot of fun, and she’ll probably even kiss you, but don’t go out with her.’ And you’re thinking, ‘This is really good advice… when do I get to go out with her?’ I was thinking, ‘Just get me in there and I’ll deal with this properly.”’
Hoffman had the flu during this shoot, a malady that only helped his performance. ”There was something about the weariness that the flu gave him that really matched Lester’s toxic rock-critic demeanor.” Between takes, Hoffman wouldn’t talk to anyone, concentrating on listening to tapes of Bangs talking.
Hoffman never read for the part: Crowe cast him following a meeting where the actor talked about his mixed emotions after seeing one of his artistic heroes on an American Express billboard. ”It was a wry, melancholy [statement] of what it is to be a fan… how you love [artists] sometimes, they disappoint you sometimes, but you always have this passion for the work that you love…. In that conversation was Lester.”
The actual first assignment from Bangs was to cover Humble Pie, which Crowe changed to Black Sabbath, which he felt would be a better pairing with Stillwater, a fictional amalgam of Crowe’s early subjects whose tour William later joins. ”I liked the idea of Stillwater opening up for somebody who’s still around in some form. Lester always linked Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Humble Pie together anyway, so I felt it was okay.”

It Character Actor: Dylan Baker
AGE 41
WHY HIM? Less than two years after stunning Hollywood as the pedophile dad in Happiness, this stage-trained actor has become the new William H. Macy, appearing in seemingly every A-list movie, including this August’s The Cell.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION ”I channeled Lieutenant Uhura for The Cell — I had to sit at this monitor for hours and pretend like I was doing stuff.”
WHOSE CAREER HE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ”My mother’s. She worked for 30 years as a volunteer lawyer for Legal Aid in Lynchburg, Va., and loved every day.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”Well, when I got the call for this interview.”
NEXT December’s 13 Days and The Tailor of Panama; Along Came a Spider.

It Spook Auteur: David Twohy
AGE 44
WHY HIM? In a desert of midwinter mediocrity, his sci-fi/horror flick Pitch Black surprised audiences and critics alike with its high-concept formula for fright: a ragtag band of space drifters marooned on a stiflingly hot planet that comes alive in the dark. The film’s success signaled the arrival of Twohy — who cowrote The Fugitive, G.I. Jane, and Waterworld — as a hyphenate to be reckoned with.
WORST CAREER MOMENT ”Getting fired as director of The Fugitive two years after I’d been fired as writer of The Fugitive. By the same exec, mind you.”
DREAM PROJECT ”The life story of Giordano Bruno, the 16th-century Italian philosopher burned at the stake by the Catholic church for insisting the Earth was not the center of the universe. If Adam Sandler says yes, we’re a go.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN ”They started pronouncing my last name right in restaurants.” (Editor’s note: It’s Too-ee.)
NEXT In the first of three pictures he’ll direct for Miramax, Twohy takes us aboard a haunted WWII submarine in Proteus, from a story by [Pi]’s Darren Aronofsky.