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november / december 2005:

She's gone The Whole Nine Yards and popped into a Woody Allen flick, but now she's serious and involved with the CIA.

profiles by Benyamin Cohen & Bradford R. Pilcher

We would like to know what they feed the students at Friends Seminary High School, because in addition to pumping out Liev Schreiber, they also count Amanda Peet as an alumnus. It’s been a while since the two shared a lunch room, but while Liev was off directing his first movie, 2005 turned into the year of Amanda.

She began her year fulfilling a personal dream. The self-described “crazy disturbed fan” co-starred in a Woody Allen flick, Melinda and Melinda. “I was in psychoanalysis when I was 17, OK,” the actress once said of her Woody love. “I was one of those people who has the conviction that if Woody only knew, he would realize that I am him.”

Read all the winter movie profiles:
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Jack Black
  • Amanda Peet
  • Zach Braff
  • Jon Favreau
  • Mel Brooks
  • A Jewish girl from Manhattan, she can be forgiven for her unhealthy adoration of the nebbish director. That’s because she has a very healthy dose of comedic talent, and she put it to good use this year. After her turn in Melinda, she starred opposite boy toy Ashton Kutcher in A Lot Like Love, a romantic comedy spanning nine years. Then she made a pit stop at everybody’s favorite TV show, Entourage.

    Still we can’t get enough of the self-admitted neurotic. From her breakout (and clothes off) role in The Whole Nine Yards, she’s slowly built plenty of cinematic credibility. So we can take all of her quirks, be it her professed fixation on changing her nephew’s diapers or her unapologetic love for classic sitcoms (Is All in the Family really that funny?).

    But this November, we’ll be far more interested in her latest role. As Matt Damon’s wife in Syriana, she gets to shed many tears when their child is killed. More importantly, Peet finally gets to step out of her comedic typecasting in a mainstream motion picture. The actress has compared the film to Traffic (the two films share a writer, director and producer), but this one is about the timely topics of terrorism and the Middle East.

    So don’t expect funny, but as long as Amanda Peet is on screen, do expect something worth watching.

    Release date: November 23

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