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May 6, 2005

Paris Hilton sets out to prove her acting chops—by getting chopped up

Rich, beautiful, glamorous, Simple-minded: These are attributes commonly associated with the famous Paris Hilton, whose new movie, House of Wax, played at Max Palevsky Cinema this past Monday, May 2, and opens in theaters everywhere Friday, May 6. I had the chance to speak with Paris over the phone as part of a conference call to promote the movie, set up by Warner Bros. and Hess Newmark Owens Wolf (HNOW), an advertising, publicity, and promotions firm. In addition to House of Wax, Paris spoke about her other productions and what she sees herself doing in the future. Oddly enough, she did not seem to be quite as ditsy as she appears to be on television.

Although not nearly as widely broadcasted as many of her other famous "roles," Paris does have some film experience; in 2001, she landed a brief cameo in Ben Stiller's Zoolander, and in 2003, she made an appearance in The Cat in the Hat as a loud and rowdy clubber. Most notably, Paris stars alongside fellow heiress Nicole Richie in The Simple Life, a reality show where the two try to find out what it takes to survive in the "real world." While you might think that the show would have gotten boring after a couple of episodes, The Simple Life was a huge success, resulting in a second season, in which the girls go on a road trip, and a third, in which the girls work as interns for a variety of corporations.

In House of Wax, Hilton plays Paige, the bratty friend of Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) and girlfriend of Blake (Robert Ri'chard), her new boy toy whose one obsession—besides tall blondes—is football. According to Hilton, her character exhibits different facets behind a generic exterior; while she seems to be the typical, sluttish blonde girl, we see that she has to deal with large, complex problems as well.

"Paige is kind of a hometown girl," Hilton says of her character. "She's supportive of Carly's goals, but she doesn't see herself leaving Gainesville. She's content there. My experience with The Simple Life helped me to find my character a little bit." It seems to me, though, that with the exception of a few scenes, each scene with Paris simply involves sexual connotation along with a short dialogue.

Hilton enjoyed working with her character, the cast, and directors. "It was a challenge to show real fear, to go to a place where I was really scared. And doing my death scene was definitely hard. It looks awesome…when I met the rest of the cast, we all got along so well, it was like we had been friends forever."

It wasn't bad, she added, that the movie was shot in Australia, making the nightlife a blast.

While she won't be winning any Oscars for her role in House of Wax, Paris sees this as a stepping-stone to bigger and better acting opportunities in the future. When asked what kinds of movies, if any, she'd be interested in, Paris replied that with such a limited repertoire, she'd like to experience all the movie business has to offer and become more discerning later. It seems, though, that she has an affinity for horror movies, her last two (Nine Lives, House of Wax) being of that genre.

Only time will tell what the big screen holds next for Paris Hilton. I can say with confidence, though, that we'll all be waiting anxiously to see Paris's fine ass, I mean acting, grace the silver screen.