Amanda, Amber and Anne -- an 'A List' of Hollywood's Young Best and Brightest
By Stacy Jenel Smith
, Amber Tamblyn, Anne Hathaway
... Three of the brightest young female talents on the Hollywood scene have quite a bit in common beyond beauty, talent and their status as undeniable stars on the ascendant.In a business filled with personalities who are riddled with affectations and insecurities, these three smart young women stand out as poised and well-spoken, focused and insightful.
Each of the three "A's" speaks fondly of her parents. Each started performing as a child. Each is determined to set her own course in the entertainment world.
Amanda, whose sketch comedy work on "All That" and her own "The Amanda Show" on Nickelodeon won her awards and breathless comparisons to Lucille Ball and Gilda Radner, says, "I know who I am and I know what I want to do -- and I would never let anyone push me into anything I don't want to do."
Looking back, the 18-year-old daughter of Thousand Oaks, CA dentist Rick Bynes and his wife Lynn recognizes that she wasn't aware of the enormity of what she was doing when she was a preteen comedy queen. "I can't believe I had a show named after me," she admits. "It was like a whirlwind; we were constantly moving, changing clothes, putting on wigs -- and it was one of the best training grounds I could have had.
"I had a great time doing it -- and I'm glad I moved on. I think it's important to keep doing new things," says the performer, who now stars on WB's "What I Like About You" and has the big screen hit "What a Girl Wants" to her credit. "I don't care which medium it is, television, film, stage -- a commercial, even -- as long as it's funny."
Similarly, 21-year-old Anne Hathaway is proud to have gone out on a limb with a complete departure role in her upcoming independent flick, "Havoc." The refined, Brooklyn, N.Y.-born, New Jersey-raised daughter of attorney Gerard Hathaway and famed stage actress Kate McCauley plays a disaffected girl from an upper middle class Pacific Palisades, California family -- who gets caught up in Latino gang life in East L.A.
"I had to use my brain a lot," she says happily.
Amber sets off for Vancouver in June to begin playing Tibby in the big screen adaptation of Ann Brashares' "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." The blue-haired, rebellious Wal Mart worker is quite unlike Joan of "Joan of Arcadia" -- which is one reason Amber wants to play her.
"She is a confused, colorless person, the one among this group of friends who stays home over the summer," as Amber, who is also a published poet, describes her. And she is transformed by her experience of friendship with a 10-year-old dying of leukemia.
"I love a message in what I do," says Amber, the Santa Monica, Born daughter of musical star Russ Tamblyn and singer-artist Bonnie Tamblyn. "The message is the most important thing to me. It doesn't have to be a positive message, but a good, strong point. Ultimately, I hope to do things that transcend the ages, that my great, great, grandchildren will be able to watch."
Each of the A's relishes good work and plenty of it. "I love multitasking," says Amanda. "Although it's stressful, it trains you to get a lot done."
"I have an incredibly high work ethic," echoes Amber, who turns 21 on May 14. "Like my mother, I sometimes bite off more than it looks like I can chew, but it motivates me to do a lot. I like multitasking."
So does Anne, but there is only so much even a supergirl can do at once.
She has been so busy making movies -- "Ella Enchanted," "Havoc," "Princess Diaries 2" and, next, "Brokeback Mountain" with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal -- she bemoans falling behind in her studies at Vassar.
"I'll be going back as a second semester sophomore when I return. I really do love it, I love learning," she says. "At that school particularly, it's a gift to be in an environment where information and knowledge of such a high quality are there for the taking."
On the personal side, neither Anne nor Amanda is in a serious relationship at the moment, while Amber has a boyfriend of five years, hip hop producer Travis Burkheimer. They each talk of wanting to have a family some day -- but not in the near future.
The funny rising star, the soulful rising star, and the brainy rising star are each riding a wave of fame and fortune that has a long way to go.