Everything's Jake this fall - Jake Gyllenhaal, that is. The "Day After Tomorrow" actor has three high-profile features coming out in succession, a chance of moving to the top of the movie star ladder - and becoming an Oscar boy. He's in the screen adaptation of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning "Proof" with Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. He's in the Nov. 4 release "Jarhead" with Jamie Foxx, playing Anthony Swofford in the adaptation of Swofford's best-selling memoir of being a Marine in the pre-Desert Storm Middle East. And Jake - a.k.a. Kirsten Dunst's on-again boyfriend -- is also in Ang Lee's adaptation of E. Annie Proulx' "Brokeback Mountain," in which he and Heath Ledger play cowboys in love. That much-anticipated flick is due Dec. 9.
Kelly Monaco hit a whole new level of celebrity thanks to "Dancing With the Stars." Though the "General Hospital" spitfire and former "Baywatch" babe was an already-known before her win on the summer series - and the subsequent mini-controversy and demands for her rematch with John O'Hurley - now her moves are being followed on and off the dance floor. Already a tabloid tale has it that reports of Kelly potentially guesting on "Desperate Housewives" sparked an "Over my dead body!" response on the set from Eva Longoria. (Eva, who says she's sick of reading inaccurate stories about herself and her cast mates in the tabs, that is.) We already know what feisty Kelly would say if that were true: "Bring it on!"
Speaking of beautiful actresses who burst forth from the soap bubble, look out for former "All My Children" lead Eva La Rue to shine in prime time as a new face on "CSI: Miami."
Tyler James Williams, who plays the 13-year-old Chris Rock in UPN's "Everybody Hates Chris," has been watching and absorbing from the comedy master - and even has some of his facial expressions and takes down. A New Yorker who lives with his parents and two brothers, he had to research what it's like to be a picked-on outsider at school as Chris was. Talented Tyler himself never had that problem. He was a professional actor from age four, when he landed a gig on "Sesame Street." Commercials, voice work on "Little Bill" and guestings on shows like "Law & Order: SVU" followed.
It had to happen. His buddies Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith have been saying for years that Jason Lee is one of the funniest and most charismatic guys around, so you knew he'd break out into mainstream success eventually. With NBC's "My Name is Earl" - about a loser who decides to make things right with the many folks he's done wrong in order to change his karma -- garnering him raves, it looks like Lee has that breakout vehicle. The raffishly scruffy 6'2" Lee, whose first claim to fame and fans was as a professional skateboarder, has had a following for years with roles in movies from "Mallrats" to "Chasing Amy" to "Almost Famous," but those didn't get him the billboards and gatefold slick magazine ads he has now.
"Lost" newbie Michelle Rodriguez, who showed up at the end of last season as a survivor from the BACK of the plane, has indicated she doesn't know how long she'll be on the hit series - then again, neither do other actors on the show - but the "Fast and the Furious" and "Blue Crush" actress is grabbing a fresh wave of attention. Born in Texas, raised in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and New Jersey (thanks to her dad's peripatetic career in the army), the 27-year-old kicks butt and looks great in tattered clothes. Credits include "Girlfight," "3 A.M.," "Resident Evil," a rumored romance in 2001 with Vin Diesel, and assault allegations from a roommate in 2002. Also on the watch list: Michelle's fellow "Lost" newcomers Cynthia Watros and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon have already received strong reviews - at the Toronto Film Festival -- for their performances as Johnny and June Carter Cash in Fox's much-anticipated November release "Walk the Line." Playing a musical great who was bedeviled by drugs and other personal problems, will Joaquin walk the Oscar line that Jamie Foxx did last year with "Ray"? Will Reese? (And look out for the always-to-be-watched Sean Penn in the Oscar running as a Huey Long-type Louisiana politico in "All the Kings Men" with Jude Law and Kate Winslet.)
Garrett Dillahunt plays Jesus in NBC's begging-for-controversy Aidan Quinn starrer, "Book of Daniel," a midseason show that may find its way to the air as early as November. It's the one in which Quinn's an Episcopalian priest with a gay son, a criminally-inclined daughter, a conceited and manipulative adopted Chinese son, a wife who drinks too much and his very own prescription pain pill dependency. He's seen talking to Dillahunt's traditionally garbed and tressed Jesus face to face, sharing his worries and getting feedback. The thing about Dillahunt is, he's best known from "Deadwood," in which he played the utterly depraved Francis Wolcott - last seen slaughtering prostitutes in season 2 - and slimy weasel Jack McCall. Acting is acting, of course, but this departure is downright jarring.
Will Estes is 26 - pretty darn young to be starring in his seventh TV series, but such is the case with the former "American Dreams" regular, now that he's among the stars on Fox's new "Reunion." The ambitious drama covers 20 years in the lives of a group of friends, from their high school graduation to the present time, when one of them is murdered. Estes plays a jock in love. He flirted with teen idol status when he was on the Kirk Cameron series, "Kirk." He has a base of adoring fans. Could "Reunion" put him over the top?
And could "Out of Practice" bring Christopher Gorham the fame for which he seemed destined back when he was on "Popular"?
Jared Padalecki, 23, has ON HIS WAY UP written all over him, having played Rory Gilmore's first love on "Gilmore Girls," and starred with Paris Hilton in "House of Wax" - and now, becoming a reluctant hero who battles the forces of evil on the new WB "Supernatural." Plus, well, look at him.
Hunk-with-six-pack ex-"Third Watch" star Eddie Cibrian and beautiful former "FreakyLinks" actress Lisa Sheridan are back in the spotlight with "Invasion" this fall - playing a formerly married couple who are now each wed to others (Kari Matchett and William Fichtner). They have serious issues to cope with beyond the who-has-the-kids-on-Thanksgiving question. There are weird happenings in their Florida town and out in the swamps following a catastrophic hurricane. (Remember, this was pitched a year ago.) TV oddsmakers are giving the Shaun Cassidy-produced show the best shot at success among the new season's crop of sci-fi/fantasy series (those include CBS's "Threshold," WB's "Supernatural" and NBC's "Surface"). Why? You know the old rule for success in getting customers: Location, location, location. "Invasion" has the time slot after "Lost."
Speaking of hunks, both Jason Lewis, who is new on "Charmed," and Wentworth Miller of "Prison Break" actually have hunkiness as their previous claims to fame. Lewis played "Absolut Hunk" Smith Jerrod in "Sex and the City." Miller was the hunk giving Mariah Carey the hots in her "We Belong Together" video.
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