Actress Elisha Cuthbert points to her flowing, blond hair. "This? This isn’t real," she says, before pointing to her cleavage-exposing top. "These are real." And so, coincidentally, is up-and-coming actress Elisha Cuthbert.
The au-natural actress, 21, is known for her three-season stint on the Fox drama "24," in which she played Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter Kim. Recently opting to forgo a fourth season on the show, Cuthbert has decided to focus her efforts on movie roles, which have kept the young actress more than busy. After bit parts in Old School and the hit romantic comedy Love, Actually, she nabbed the lead role of girl-next-door Danielle in director Luke Greenfield’s The Girl Next Door, which opened in theaters earlier this year and was released on DVD — in both its unrated and R-rated versions — Aug. 24.
Speaking of side jobs, it just so happens that Cuthbert’s character, Danielle, used to be a porn star named Athena who now just wants some peace and quiet in her life. As for straight-A student Matthew (played by Emile Hirsch of The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), however, Danielle would like nothing more than to get a little wild ’n’ crazy with the teen, shaking up Matthew’s timid world. After playfully having him strip for her, Danielle asks Matthew, "What was the craziest thing you’ve done lately?"
Cuthbert, speaking candidly, attempts to answer the same question about her own life. "I think [the craziest thing I’ve done lately was] moving to L.A. — that was a big step for me," she says. "I had been working in Canada for a long time and there was no real reason to leave except everyone telling me to leave. I moved to the Oakwood apartments, you know the apartments every actor goes to, and went through that experience. It was scary. It was starting over."
Cuthbert adds, "It was a hard time, but it was an exciting time. It was probably the craziest adventure I’d ever put myself through."
Up until The Girl Next Door, that is. The first voyeuristic glimpse the audience sees of Danielle is as a fantasy girl in an adolescent’s wet dream, where Cuthbert plays "the girl next door" who undresses in front of her window, right down to her red thong and matching lace bra.
When asked about how one prepares for a nude role, Cuthbert laughs before admitting, "You really don’t," adding that, "You kind of just close your eyes and hope it works out. I had a lot of extensive conversations with the director about wanting to make this movie without full nudity. I thought we could make a teen comedy without pushing that bar."
Since The Girl Next Door, Cuthbert has no doubt become the fantasy girl for many of her male fans. Which brings up the question: How would Cuthbert describe her "fantasy man?"
"Someone who’s got their stuff together," says Cuthbert confidently. "I like someone who’s got a plan, an idea for themselves. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but just someone who has their life together. Someone who is down to earth, normal and fun," she says.
"I think there’s a lot of give and take when you’re in a relationship," continues Cuthbert. "And if they’re willing to listen — that’s a real nice quality to have." In other words, someone who’s real.
The Girl Next Door "Unrated Version" is currently available on DVD.