- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

NEW YORK — The one thing about fame that Shannyn Sossamon cannot seem to get used to is the knock on her trailer door.
"I swear, that's the one thing that makes me want to quit this whole business," the 22-year-old actress says, cringing at the memory of too many afternoons interrupted by demands to return to the movie set.
"You're just treated like a child like you're 10," she says.
Miss Sossamon had better get used to the rap on her door. Since making her film debut in last year's "A Knight's Tale," she's in demand, completing two more movies with a fourth on its way.
In her new film, the romantic comedy "40 Days and 40 Nights," Miss Sossamon is cast as the love interest of Josh Hartnett, who plays a randy San Francisco dot-commer toying with a bout of abstinence. Mr. Hartnett's character falls madly in love with his dream girl after having given up sex for Lent, a development that puts a serious crimp on their romance.
The Nevada-bred Miss Sossamon is a multicultural cocktail of Hawaiian, French, Dutch, Irish, Filipino and German ancestry.
Acting wasn't how she originally wanted to make a living. Within hours of graduating from high school, Miss Sossamon and two pals left for Hollywood intending to build careers as dancers.
Miss Sossamon found herself doing mostly commercials, such as a dancing Gap clothing campaign.
Then, while helping a friend at a birthday party for Gwyneth Paltrow, Miss Sossamon was discovered by a casting agent who picked her out amid a sea of celebrities. Her debut as a fair maiden in "A Knight's Tale" followed.
"I was really innocent from a naive point of view," she says. "I was, 'This is cool. I get to play a princess. What lines do I get to say today?'"
She can next be seen in Roger Avary's "The Rules of Attraction" and is now filming "The Sin Eater" with Heath Ledger, her co-star in "A Knight's Tale."
Q: What was it like doing commercials?
A: I mostly did a lot of commercials where they just hired me to, like, dance around and smile and be part of the young kid group.
I did Oldsmobile, Kodak, Kmart, Union Bay. You can see me, but it'll be a flash of my face.
I was never really in those commercials where I would have to talk or endorse. No, no, no. I would have been really bad at those.
I would audition for those and never get them. I'm not good at faking that kind of stuff.
Q: You seem to have a love-hate relationship with acting. Is that right?
A: Yeah, that's right. It's really weird going into acting coming from a different place than actors normally do, which is growing up your whole life wanting to be an actor and being an extrovert and being a crazy person and taking classes and doing theater. And then there's me.
I always wanted to be in the back of the room and not wanting anyone to look at me.
Q: Have you become better with each role?
A: I think so, especially being able to listen better and learning how to read scripts better as a whole, for the story. …When I first started to read scripts, I would just read the dialogue.
I just wanted to know the story. Then I learned how to read the directions and all the characters' dialogue and what they're doing when it's being said. You get a feeling for the story.
Q: What's next? Will you try some darker roles or an indie?
A: I don't want to have a game plan too much. How it's happened so far is that it's kind of done itself.
All four of my movies are just really different but that didn't happen on purpose. I like it, though. There are a lot of different parts inside me that I want to show.
Q: Do you worry about burning out or flipping out?
A: I keep a lot of other things in my life grounded friends and my family and me (so) that I'll be OK.



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