By Stacy Jenel Smith
When "Princess Diaries 2" came out, gals across the land felt their hearts go all pitty pat over gorgeous 25-year-old Chris Pine, who played Anne Hathaway's royal pain adversary-turned-scandalous love, Lord Nicholas Devereaux, in the 2004 feature.
Bet Chris got tons of movie offers after that!
"Not at all," the personable actor answers candidly, during a recent afternoon's chat. "I didn't get any offers after that. It just goes to show you that there are so many different rungs to the ladder in this world. You can get your foot in the door and still have to audition all the time. I work my a-off to make anything happen."
What's happening for Pine now is "Just My Luck," in which he's paired with Lindsay Lohan
. The 20th Century Fox feature opens May 12. He has two more films wrapped for release this summer as well. We'll get to those later. First, how was working with Lindsay?
"She's a great actress -- really, really good at what she does," answers Chris. "She's been doing this a lot longer than I have. I learned a lot from watching her."
What Chris and Lindsay had to do a lot of in "Just My Luck" was physical comedy. The story has Lohan as a super lucky Manhattanite who is on her way up in the world, until she meets a super unlucky - albeit good-looking - fellow whose bad fortune becomes hers. Chris says the toughest scene for him was one that shows just how outrageously unlucky his character is right at the outset.
"I'm getting chased through Central Park, my pants are falling off, I step in dog crap, run into a woman with my pants down and she thinks I'm trying to attack her, and then there's this cop. It was a big challenge to film," he says. The sequence took about three days to shoot.
"I always forget about how much work it takes to do those kinds of things," adds Chris.
Then there are the scenes with Lindsay, as Chris' character's bad luck transfers to her. "It starts out with all my problems and pratfalls, and then as she starts having bad luck, she electrocutes herself, drops bowling balls, starts to put food on the table and the table flips...By then I'm having good luck, and trying to control and manage the disasters."
Pine is a definite believer in luck. He recalls being on the verge of moving to New York, having given up his L.A. apartment and buying a plane ticket, when "I got three jobs in a week." Those were two TV shows and "Princess Diaries 2."
Los Angeles born and bred, Chris is the son of Actor Robert Pine ("CHiPs") and actress Gwynne Gilford. He has an extensive background in theater, having performed numerous classic roles at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts, at the University of California, Berkeley and various theater companies in the Los Angeles area.
"I love theater, I don't think anything could compare with being on stage," he says. "The sheer exhilaration of being in front of a huge audience is amazing. I've made a commitment to do more. It's really important to me."
He's also amassed credits in episodic TV shows including 'Six Feet Under," "CSI: Miami" and "ER" - and films including "Confession," directed by Jonathan Meyers and "The Bulls," directed by Eric Stoltz.
Chris has also completed the upcoming big-screen "Smokin' the Aces," playing a "Southern Neo Nazi assassin" - complete with a Mohawk and blacked-out teeth. It's a wild mob comedy set in Las Vegas which boasts a cast including Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Alicia Keys, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, Ryan Reynolds and more.
And he has the romantic dramedy "Blind Guy Driving," directed by James Keach, in which he plays a blind young American man who finds love with an Indian woman (Anjali Jay), then has to deal with challenges arising from their cultural differences. Keach's wife, Jane Seymour, also appears in the movie Chris considers a small gem.
"People ask me if I want to do romantic comedies or dramas," he notes. "Really, it's both - wherever the good scripts are."