Will bold (and sometimes risky) moves in the months ahead pay off for Jennifer Garner, Hugh Grant, J. Lo., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eddie Murphy? We read the tea leaves...

By EW Staff
Updated February 06, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Jennifer Garner: Karwai Tang/Alpha/Globe Photos

They’re versatile performers with a knack for (usually) making the right choices. They’re also staring down a new year that could change the course of their careers. Here’s how 2007 might make — or break — five of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Making the permanent switch from TV glory to big-screen legitimacy can be tough. Just ask Jennifer Aniston. Or the affable Garner, 34, who’s trying to break free from the career choke hold that is Alias‘ Sydney Bristow. She got off to a nice start in 2004 with 13 Going on 30, which made $57 million. And after a baby break, she resurfaced last month with the much-delayed Catch and Release. While the tearjerker’s $8 million opening weekend was so-so, women comprised 69 percent of its audience. That bodes well for her most recently signed project, Juno, in which she plays a woman hoping to adopt a baby. ”It’s unlike anything she’s done,” says Juno director Jason Reitman. ”To be doing this movie a year after she became a mother? It’s perfect research.” But will Garner’s target demo care about her next film, the male-skewing FBI thriller The Kingdom (out April 20)? Kingdom director Peter Berg thinks so: ”She’s got this ability to play girl-next-door and fierce warrior at the same time. That reminds me of Sigourney Weaver when [she] was doing Alien.” And she’s still working, so that’s a good sign.

Audiences have always preferred Grant as the stammering-yet-charming comedic leading man. He branched out and earned raves in 2002 with a more dramatic role in About a Boy, but the one time Grant really tried to stretch — as a slimy reality-show judge in the 2006 political parody American Dreamz — the movie flopped. So this year, he’s back to his cutesy comfort zone, playing a washed-up pop star who woos Drew Barrymore in Music and Lyrics (out Feb. 14, natch). But this may be your last chance to catch him for a while: Grant, 46, has no agent and no new projects planned. ”[Hugh] is quite content not working,” says Music and Lyrics director Marc Lawrence. ”I think he sometimes views acting as unworthy of a mature adult’s time…. It certainly is not for lack of people begging him to do stuff.” Provided, of course, there’s stammering involved.

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