Kate's Notes

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Elisha Cuthbert

Elisha Cuthbert

Elisha Ann Cuthbert (born November 30, 1982) is probably best known as the sexy girl next door, in the film The Girl Next Door, where her character, an 18-year old adult film actress, befriends her high school attending neighbor. This Canadian actress is a former host of the Canadian children's television series “Popular Mechanics for Kids” and had roles in numerous other Canadian productions before moving to Los Angeles.

She came out in Hollywood with a start when she landed her American television debut starring opposite Keifer Sutherland in the weekly Fox action-thriller “24.” Soon after she climbed even higher in the acting ranks landing small parts in big movies with big name stars, such as Old School with Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell, and Love Actually with Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightly and Hugh Grant in 2003. Then she went onto make her mark with The Girl Next Door starring opposite up-and-comer, Emile Hirsch, in 2004. With an impressive resume, and featured as a regular in the supermarket tabloids, and the internet gossip blogs, Cuthbert shows no sign of slowing on the fame front.

Early life

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Cuthbert was Kevin and Patricia Cuthbert’s first child. Her family moved to Greenfield Park, near Montreal, where she learned a few words in French as a result of her surroundings.

In 1989 Cuthbert began modeling for various lines of children's clothing and also became a foot model. She made her first televised appearance in the horror-themed series for children, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” as a young girl in the episode entitled "The Tale of the Nightshift" (she would later become a series regular) and then landed her first role in a family feature, Dancing on the Moon. She went on to star in several family-themed movies and an airplane thriller, Airspeed, and also hosted “Popular Mechanics for Kids” with Jay Baruchel. Cuthbert's role as host of “Popular Mechanics” sometimes required her to act as a foreign correspondent, where, even though she was afraid of traveling by plane, she was required to fly around the world. Her international reporting captured the attention of then First Lady, Hillary Clinton, who invited her to visit the White House.

In 2000, Cuthbert graduated from Centennial Regional High School in Greenfield Park on Montréal's South Shore and journeyed to Los Angeles, California to pursue a Hollywood acting career.

Acting Career

24: Her Launching Pad

Cuthbert had given herself a deadline of six months to make something of her trip to Los Angeles, and was about to return home when she was offered the part of Kim Bauer, daughter of CTU agent Jack Bauer in the action-pact television series “24,” a week before her deadline was up. The show drew continual critical praise, though Cuthbert did not appear at all in the show's 4th season and guest-starred in only two episodes from the 5th. She also reprised her role as Kim Bauer in “24: The Game.”

Movie Career: Making it to the Big Screen

At the age of 19, Cuthbert starred in the Canadian television movie Lucky Girl in 2001 and was awarded a Gemini Award for her performance. She auditioned for the role of Mary Jane Watson in the original Spider-Man film, though the role eventually went to Kirsten Dunst. She went on to take a pair of minor roles early in her Hollywood career as young, desirable women in Old School and Love Actually.

Then she garnered her first starring role in the teenage libido driven film, The Girl Next Door, as a burgeoning porn star, Danielle, alongside a horny, love-struck high school student, Emile Hirsch. Cuthbert had initial reservations about taking the part because of the content, but was persuaded by director Luke Greenfield into accepting. She researched the role, speaking to actual adult actresses from Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment. Upon its release the film received comparisons to the early 1980s movie, Risky Business with Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay — although Cuthbert claims her character was not directly based on De Mornay's character — and was particularly noted for Cuthbert's sex appeal. Critics were divided; some praised the film for its boldness, while others, notably Roger Ebert, decried it for being gimmicky and exploitative. Ebert wrote that he saw Cuthbert's character Danielle as "quite the most unpleasant character I have seen in some time."

In her next big-screen outing, Cuthbert starred with Paris Hilton and Chad Michael Murray in the 2005 remake of the classic horror film House of Wax. Cuthbert, along with the rest of her cast mates, was made up to look haggard and frightened. In one scene, her character was to attempt to open her mouth while her lips were sealed with glue. For the sake of realism, Cuthbert opted for real superglue over prosthetics. Despite her efforts, House of Wax was largely panned, with critics citing a range of flaws (Paris Hilton herself being one of them). It was called "notable for having some of the most moronic protagonists ever to populate a horror film," though out of those characters reviews tended to think Cuthbert "fares the best." Others noted Cuthbert as an "exception" playing her role "earnestly" and "fine.”

Following House of Wax, Cuthbert became involved in her third project where she took on the duties of co-star and co-producer of the independently film The Quiet, contributing to its US$900,000 budget. She played Nina, a temperamental cheerleader who suffered from sexual abuse. Playing the character disturbed Cuthbert, who described the role as "dark and heavy." Cuthbert studied her younger sister, Lee-Ann, to further understand the character. The Quiet, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and received a limited release in Los Angeles and New York City on August 25, 2006, before expanding regionally on September 1.

Continuing to Shine: Recent Career

Cuthbert appeared in the music video for Weezer's "Perfect Situation" in early 2006, where she played the group's fictional original singer who threw a tantrum that led to Rivers Cuomo, the unlikely roadie, becoming the front man of the band. Cuthbert features a small role in Paris Hilton's music video for the song "Nothing In This World." As of September 2006, Cuthbert is scheduled to appear in three feature films. The first, Captivity, is a thriller centered around a fashion model and her chauffeur being taunted by a psychopath who has imprisoned them in a cellar, where she stars opposite Daniel Gillies. In He Was a Quiet Man, Cuthbert's plays a quadriplegic opposite Christian Slater and William H. Macy. The third film, Cat Tale, is an animated film set in a civilized world of cats and dogs. Cuthbert will voice Cleo, "the feline daughter of a wealthy kitty litter baron." Cat Tale is scheduled for release in 2007 by Walt Disney Pictures.

Cuthbert also screened along with Brandon Routh for the role of Lois Lane in Superman Returns but eventually she lost out to Kate Bosworth and also lost to Jessica Alba as Susan Storm of Fantastic Four; however, she is being considered to play the part of Wonderwoman for the upcoming film based on the comic book character.

Personal Life and Media Attention

She began a relationship with Justin Timberlake's personal assistant, Trace Ayala, and became engaged to him in June 2004. Sometime in November 2005, Ayala remarked, "Neither one of us is in a hurry to get married." However, their engagement was called off. Since then, she began to date New York Rangers forward Sean Avery in early 2007; she even appeared on an MTV “Cribs” episode at Avery's house.

In mid-December 2006, she was seen going the way of Britney Spears, and seen partying with Paris Hilton out at some clubs around Hollywood, and many were afraid that it would tarnish her image. However, she was not seen or photographed again with Hilton so fears were quelled.

Cuthbert regularly secures a place in FHM and Maxim's annual Top 100 Sexiest/Hottest lists. Her highest ranking was #5 in the 2005 UK Edition of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World list. She was ranked #14 in 2003, #10 in 2004, and #22 in 2006. The U.S. Edition ranked her #53 in 2003, #63 in 2004, and #54 in 2006. She was not listed in the U.S. 2005 list. Maxim magazine named her #92 in its 2006 Hot 100 list and features her in their Girls of Maxim Gallery. As of 2006, Cuthbert has stated that she would refuse to be photographed nude in film roles or magazines, and uses body doubles whenever necessary, specifying that she "like to keep some things to [herself].”

Most recently, Elisha was ranked #10 by AskMen.com readers in the list "Top 99 Women of 2007".

Cuthbert, who enjoys painting, is a devoted hockey fan and Los Angeles Kings season ticket holder, as are her mother and brother, Jonathan, who are active in the sport; she even maintained her own blog on the NHL's web site.

Cuthbert has expressed an interest in returning to live in Montreal once she has reached her "higher goals" and "feel[s] content" about her career.


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