Saturday, September 22, 2012

Perhaps you had forgotten about Elisabeth Shue, but the actress is doing her best to remind you she's still around.
The 48-year-old has replaced Marg Helgenberger in the TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. And she stars opposite The Hunger Games headliner Jennifer Lawrence in the thriller House at the End of the Street, which opens in theatres Sept. 21.
In the movie, Shue plays Sarah, the mother of Elissa (Lawrence). When they move to a small town, things don't go well.
For one thing, they discover their house is next door to the home where a young girl murdered her parents. For another, Elissa befriends Ryan (Max Thieriot), the only surviving member of the cursed family, which leads to some nasty repercussions.
Hardly a rookie in a genre movie, Shue co-starred in the 2000 sci-fi remake Hollow Man and 2005's Hide and Seek. And, she's quick to point out the tone of her latest performance is in sharp contrast to her role in 2010's Piranha.
"Hopefully, this is a bit more real," says Shue of House at the End of the Street during a recent interview in Los Angeles. "I really like the tension in the film, and the way the characters are allowed to live and breathe, so things aren't jumping out at you all the time."
Another positive is the connection established between Shue and Lawrence as mother and daughter.
"We didn't get too much time together before we started filming, but we had some dinners and hung out," notes the actress.
It helped that they bonded almost immediately.
"Jen is such a great person, and I have so much admiration for her," Shue says. "I was really blown away by her talent, maturity and confidence."
Still, the veteran didn't offer advice about surviving the glare of the spotlight. "I got work with her before she became this huge Hunger Games star, but she was completely aware of what she was getting into."
Meanwhile, filming in Ottawa brought back fond memories, especially her stay at the Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Laurier hotel during the summer shoot in 2010.
"I really like it a lot," she says of Canada's capital. "And my daughter, who was six at the time and really into princesses and castles, always looked forward to visiting me because she got to stay in a castle."
Certainly, Shue had her time to shine at a young age. In the 1980s, she was featured in a string of hits, including The Karate Kid as Ralph Macchio's onscreen girlfriend, her first starring role, Adventures in Babysitting, the Back to the Future sequels and opposite Tom Cruise in Cocktail.
Her credibility as an actress was confirmed with her Oscar-nominated role as a prostitute in the 1995 Nicolas Cage film Leaving Las Vegas.
In 2000, she returned to Harvard University to obtain her degree. "I finally graduated when I was 38," she says. Since then, the mother of three has slowly returned to the acting game, but with a sense of humour about her career.
For Steve Coogan's Hamlet 2 in 2008, she played a fictionalized version of herself as a frustrated actress who left her profession to become a nurse. She also appeared in a few episodes of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2010 defining a once-famous actress on the comeback trail.
"What made me laugh was my agent was so worried about telling me they had offered me the Hamlet 2 role, because I would be playing myself as a has-been actress," she says. "I laughed so hard when he told me, I knew I had to do it."
Shue wasn't always so self-deprecating. "Sometimes, the ups and downs of the business mature you, even against your will," she says. "I have finally got beyond the difficulties, and I am not afraid of the tough moments as much."
Currently, her gig on CSI occupies her time, but she has two upcoming films, too. She co-stars with Gerard Butler in the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks, which opens in late October. And she just wrapped the comedy Feed the Dog, with pop star Selena Gomez and Heather Graham.
"I play a Mrs. Robinson-type character," says Shue of her Feed the Dog part. "So that should be good for a laugh, too."
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