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JESSICA BIEL (Sarah Brown) has become one of Hollywood’s most coveted leading women. Biel was most recently noted for her critically acclaimed performance in the film The Illusionist, alongside Oscar-nominated actors Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. Entertainment Weekly magazine was quoted saying “Jessica Biel pulls off her most impressive trick yet: transforming herself into a turn-of-the-century Austrian duchess – and a serious art house actress.”
Biel shows great range in the film Powder Blue, in which she stars opposite Oscar-winner Forrest Whitaker, Patrick Swayze, and Ray Liotta. This dramatic film follows the lives of several Los Angeles strangers who meet by chance on Christmas Eve through a shared tragedy.
Shortly after Powder Blue, Biel was seen starring in the romantic dramedy Easy Virtue opposite Colin Firth, Ben Barnes, and Kristin Scott Thomas. She portrays an American who is in constant conflict with her new mother-in-law (Scott Thomas) after marrying a young wealthy Englishman on a spur-of-the-moment trip to France. The film is based on the play by Noël Coward and adapted by writer/director Stephan Elliot. Easy Virtue premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews and received an overwhelming positive response when screened again at the prestigious Rome and London Film Festivals.
Biel recently filmed a starring role in Nailed, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, and Catherine Keener. This comedy is directed by David O. Russell and follows a waitress who gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head, causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, D.C., where sparks fly when she meets a clueless young senator (Gyllenhaal) who takes up her cause. Biel was also seen in the Universal comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James. The film follows two straight New York firefighters, played by Sandler and James, as they pretend to be a married gay couple. Biel plays their lawyer as they battle the city to receive domestic partner benefits. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opened No. 1 at the box office and grossed well over $100 million domestically.
For her work in The Illusionist, Biel received numerous awards, including Hollywood Life’s Annual Breakthrough Award and the Shining Star Award at both the Giffoni Film Festival and the Maui Film Festival, as well as the Breakthrough Performance Award at the 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. Biel also starred in the return-from-war drama Home of the Brave opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci. In addition, she starred in the sci-fi thriller Next with Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore for Revolution Studios.
As a child, Biel initially pursued a career as a vocalist, performing in musical theater. Starting at age nine, she starred in productions such as Annie, The Sound of Music, and Beauty and the Beast. A natural beauty, she soon turned to modeling and commercial work by competing in The International Modeling and Talent Association’s Annual Conference in 1994.
In her feature film debut at age fourteen, Biel garnered acclaim for her portrayal as the rebellious daughter in Victor Nunez’s acclaimed film Ulee’s Gold, starring Oscar nominee Peter Fonda. She then went on to appear in such films as Disney’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas with Jonathan Taylor Thomas; Warner Bros.’ romantic comedy Summer Catch, co-starring Freddie Prinze Jr.; Lions Gate Films’ The Rules of Attraction, for director Roger Avary; New Line’s hit remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and New Line’s Blade: Trinity with Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, and Ryan Reynolds; Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown, with Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon; and Stealth, starring alongside Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx.
In her spare time, Biel is active with Make the Difference Network, an online organization that she started with her father, Jon Biel. MTDN is a “national wish list” where people can search, find and fund specific wishes that have been listed by nonprofit organizations. Through MTDN, Biel has become involved in such charities as Serving Those Who Serve, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and PETA. She was recently honored with the “National Impact Award” at the 2008 Heart of Los Angeles Gala and previously honored as “Young Philanthropist of the Year” at the 2006 Golden Karma Awards for her charitable work. Biel’s hobbies include ballet, soccer, running, yoga, and hiking with her dog, Tina.