Apr 262006
 
Authors: Jenny Ivy

Blockbuster, bomb, sleeper, hit – whatever the terminology after the release date, there is no denying there is still much hype stirred up by trailers and sneak previews before the summer movie season.

And this year’s summer film lineup is no exception.

Six years after the release of its previous installment, the “Mission: Impossible” series continues with the third film from Paramount Pictures.

Keri Russell, who plays a trainee agent alongside Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), expressed nothing but excitement for the upcoming and highly anticipated May 5 release of the film in a college press conference call last week.

“Whenever I do a project for the first time, I have this cringe factor,” Russell said. “I thought this one was awesome.”

Russell, who had taken a year off from acting, returned to television in “Into the West,” a six-week mini series airing on TNT during the summer of 2005. During that time, she was offered the role, which was intended for Scarlett Johansson.

Johansson dropped out of the role when production was delayed.

For Russell, she feels the break from acting was necessary to take on a role like the one in M:I3. Starting her career in 1991 as part of the cast of the Disney Channel’s “All New Mickey Mouse Club,” Russell has taken on many roles for the past 15 years, including a starring role in the breakout television series, “Felicity,” which aired from 1998 to 2002.

“That break from ‘Felicity’ hugely impacted the way I look at myself, and the roles I was going to take. That break was necessary to get a part like (M:I3),” Russell said.

Growing up partly in Colorado and attending Highlands Ranch High School, Russell was a dancer and never anticipated an acting career.

“The whole thing (acting) is a surprise,” Russell said. “One day you’re growing up in Colorado, the next moment you’re shooting in Europe or jumping off buildings with Tom Cruise.”

While the part in “Mission: Impossible 3” might reunite audiences with Russell as an actress, she said the most appealing part of taking on the role was being able to work again with “Felicity” director J.J. Abrams, who presented the role to Russell.

“I just knew it was time to work again when I started to be interested in stories again. I think, for anyone, you kind of have to take a step back and re-group,” Russell said. “I just slowly got interested in scripts again and movie making and it kept me going.”

Another overnight success jumping back into the limelight is “Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess, whose upcoming film “Nacho Libre” will be released nationwide on June 16.

Hess, a Brigham Young University graduate “made it big” in industry terms when “Dynamite” grossed more than $45 million worldwide.

With “Nacho Libre,” Hess is continuing the momentum, bringing in well-known comedian and “King Kong” star Jack Black.

Black plays a man raised in a Mexican monastery who enters a Lucha Libre (the Mexican version of professional wrestling) tournament in order to raise money for the monastery.

“He was a true collaborator,” Hess said of Black during a college media conference call.

The two got so close during shooting that it was hard to wrap it up. Black, Hess said, was so devoted to getting a shot right, he would do it several times, “adding a little sauce” each time.

While anticipation is high for Hess’ next project after the success of “Napoleon Dynamite,” the director says he just hopes the audience will simply do what they will with this upcoming comedy.

“When we were shooting ‘Dynamite,’ I didn’t know if the film would even see the light of day,” Hess said. “I don’t set out to appeal to a certain demographic; I make the movies I like to make.”

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Top 10 most anticipated summer movies: (source: movies.msn.com)

10. “Miami Vice”

9. “Poseidon”

8. “The Da Vinci Code”

7. “Mission: Impossible 3”

6. “Cars”

5. “X-Men: The Last Stand”

4. “Click”

3. “Superman Returns”

2. “Over the Hedge”

1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

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