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Pattaya Daily News

06 October 2006 :: 15:10:55 pm 32192

Jessica Simpson works hard at growing up

She’s a pop singer, a pinup-worthy beauty and a paparazzi favorite, but Jessica Simpson insists she’s just “a normal girl.” With her fifth album in stores, a new music video on the way and a movie opening Friday, “normal” might be a stretch.
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            At least in real life. On the big screen, she plays a very normal discount-store cashier in “Employee of the Month.” 

            she says. “I see a lot of change in my life right now. I’m really grasping hold of what I want for the first time.” 

            What she wants is to keep being superstar famous while growing as a performer on stage and on screen. 

            Simpson, says that though she never expected to become a movie star, she’s embracing the opportunity. Playing concerts around the globe and starring in the popular MTV reality show “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” prepared her for the challenges of acting, she says. 

            Greg Coolidge, director and co-writer of “Employee of the Month,” says he had reservations when the studio suggested Simpson. His concern: “Can she act?” 

            He was “expecting her to be bad” in “Dukes of Hazzard,” he says; but when he saw her in a commercial for acne products, he was convinced she could handle the role. “She was totally charming,” he says. 

            The demands of the part were perfect for Simpson. “Nothing against Jessica, but I had written that part just as sort of a device anyway,” Coolidge says. “It’s really not about her.” 

            In the film, Simpson plays a pretty cashier who inspires a competition between two workers at Super Club, a Costco-type store. Both men (comedians Dane Cook and Dax Shepard) hope to win her love by earning the coveted title of Employee of the Month. 

            Cook says Simpson was well cast, serving as the reason for the comedic jousting between the funnymen. 

            “I was really pleasantly surprised at how she came in and had plenty of ideas and held scenes together,” he says. “She could hang in there.” 

            To play the girl next door, Simpson says, she had to “tone a lot down from Daisy Duke and from Jessica Simpson,” referring to the sexy-bombshell image she has cultivated since splitting from ex-husband Nick Lachey late last year. 

            “This (role) is not about my image,” she says. Simpson shot “Employee” during her divorce — a challenge in itself, she says. 

            When it comes to acting, though, she’s sure of who she likes. Her favorite actress is Cate Blanchett, who “rides an emotional roller coaster and allows herself to completely jump into any character she’s playing.” Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts also make Simpson’s list, but she acknowledges she has a lot more to learn before she can count herself in their company. 

            First she has to figure out how to balance singing and acting, she says:“I really want to dedicate everything to every project that I do. So to be able to give of myself like that, I think I need to focus on one thing at a time.” 

            Simpson credits her family, especially her manager-dad Joe Simpson — whom she calls “one of the best managers in the business” — with helping her juggle the demands of her dual career.

“I couldn’t do this without my father,” she says. 

            Simpson’s latest album, “A Public Affair,” was released in August, along with a music video that takes a satirical look at the challenges of fame. In it, Simpson and famous gal pals Christina Applegate, Christina Milian and Eva Longoria share a limo and a chat about the paparazzi surely to be awaiting them at their next destination. 

            “I want to be more famous than the Internet,” she quips in the video. 

            With two careers, plus a line of beauty products and a globe-trotting philanthropic gig with Operation Smile, which repairs children’s facial deformities, Simpson might be on her way, but she says the line was just a joke. What isn’t a joke is her second single, “I Belong to Me.” 

            “It wasn’t even going to be on my album because I was kind of afraid to sing the song,” she says. “It’s a very powerful statement … about owning yourself and controlling yourself. It’s part of evolving, of growing up and becoming a woman.”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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