Amanda Peet Biography:

Despite being named one of the Most Beautiful People of 2000 by People magazine, actress Amanda Peet has a down-to-earth nature that belies stunning good looks. According to interviews with intimates, she's the type of girl who unapologetically eats all the Cheez Doodles, then lets out a gigantic burp. She doesn't exercise, telling Cosmopolitan magazine, "I'd rather get drunk and eat some great pasta Alfredo," and prefers Coca-Cola to water.

On-screen, Peet's surface good looks lure many a man into water that's much hotter and deeper than anticipated. Most recently, the native New Yorker portrayed Judith, a fiancée from Freudian hell opposite Jason Biggs and lackadaisical comedic actors Steve Zahn and Jack Black in Saving Silverman. She honed the love dominatrix persona in the comedy Whipped, in which her character, Mia, beats three would-be players at their own game. And few among the few who remember The Whole Nine Yards can forget Peet's depiction of dental hygienist Jill St. Claire, an aspiring hit woman with a penchant for taking it all off before taking out her targets.

According to her Most Beautiful bio in People, a short-haired Peet spent much of her childhood assuring folks that she wasn't a little boy. It's apropos, then, that Peet first assaulted a mass audience's senses as the male-monikered Jacqueline "Jack" Barrett, who falls for neighbor David "Jill" Jillefsky (Ivan Sergei) in the WB romantic drama Jack & Jill.

Even if the pilot actress, Amelia Heinle, had stayed with Jack after the WB picked up the series, Peet's drive and determination would have led to her big break eventually. The blue-eyed brunette had been working steadily in television and movies since 1995, a year after graduating from Columbia University with a history degree. Her subsequent resume reads like an absolute scale of mid-'90s TV, from the first-rate (Seinfeld, Law & Order) to the forgettable (The Single Guy, Central Park West, Partners).

Peet's early film career consisted largely of what she described as "[14] independent [movies] that I did for $75 a day - much to the chagrin of my agent. Both of us were getting poorer by the movie." Although some of the sets didn't even sport an accessible commode, Peet had the opportunity to work with numerous television stars trying to transition to film, including Jennifer Aniston (She's the One), George Clooney (One Fine Day), Gillian Anderson (Playing by Heart), and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Simply Irresistible).

So what was Peet thinking, accepting such a variety of roles that might have been a bit beneath her four years of training with Broadway legend Uta Hagen? "There so wasn't a plan," she exclaimed in the Daily Breeze. "Are you kidding? It was just, 'Say yes to work.' That was the plan." She added in a CNN interview, "I think I wasn't ready, but I just wanted to work. I had the philosophy that work begets work."

The best-laid plans often go astray; conversely, Peet's worked like a charm. Once Jack gave her some name recognition, her film career perked right up, and she nabbed a lead in the mob comedy The Whole Nine Yards, working once again with familiar boob-tube faces: this time, Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis. Not surprisingly, the bald-headed one made Peet a little nervous.

"I'm not going to lie to you and say that it's no different doing a scene with Bruce Willis because he's just an actor and it's just the same thing, because it's fucking not," she told CheckOut. "He's Bruce Willis, for chrissake. I was so scared of him."

Willis' first phone call to Peet did nothing to reduce her anxiety. "He [called] me when I got the part [in Yards]," she explained to talk show host Larry King. "He left a message on my machine saying, 'Hello, Amanda. It's Bruce Willis calling. And if you don't call me back in 10 minutes, I'm going to burn your house down.' It's, like, his stock phrase for everyone he fears won't call him back. It's bizarre because he's a megastar. But he never leaves his number, so it's like - it's just kind of bizarre."

Peet held her own against Perry and Willis, impressing director Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny). "I think she is extraordinary. She has a tremendous flair. It's a wonderful comedy performance. She has a real sort of immediacy, an extraordinary presence," he said in the Los Angeles Times.

Her presence greatly enhanced the chemistry in Saving Silverman, her most recent cinematic project, and the film debuted in third place, lagging behind The Wedding Planner and Hannibal.

Recenly Peet has been in two star-studded films. She joined Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson in Changing Lanes, as the ambitious and intelligent wife of lawyer, Affleck. She also shared the screen with Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, and Jim Caviezel in High Crimes, the story of a Harvard law school professor who must defend her husband in military court after the Army declares him a deserter.

Coming up, Peet will be starring in the mystery thriller Indentity. She also will be appearing opposite Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in the as yet untitled film about a man who is dating a younger woman and ends up falling for her mother. She will also be reprising her roll from The Whole Nine Yards, in its sequel The Whole Ten Yards.

 



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