LOS ANGELES — Topher Grace may be stoked to have landed a role opposite Kate Bosworth, and he had a great time making "Mona Lisa Smile" with Julia Roberts, but he's in no hurry to leave "That '70s Show" behind.
"There are lots of shows where people can't wait to get off the show that basically made them," Grace said during a break from rehearsals for "That '70s Show," the series that helped launch film careers for him and Ashton Kutcher. "I can speak for all six kids [on the show] in saying that we have no visions of greatness for ourselves. We love doing the show. It's really good. The writing is really strong. So it's not a matter of trying to juggle. We just figure out a way."
Grace traveled regularly between the "That '70s Show" and the New York set of "Mona Lisa Smile," a period drama that also stars Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal (see "Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst Squeeze Into Girdles"). "It was really funny going back and forth. It was a real interesting thing to do a movie with all women. We have such a fraternity brother atmosphere here at ['That '70s Show']. It kind of played with my mind to go back and forth between real sisterly love and frat brother mentality.
"It takes place at an all-girls school," the 24-year-old actor explained. "I walked in the first day to the set. ... I know Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles a little bit from L.A., and I had never met Julia Roberts. So I was meeting her, and they were both saying hi — not to mention there were like 100 female extras. I think I turned to the director, who was the only other male there, and I said, 'Ca-ching!,' the only words to describe it. It was amazing."
Directed by Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral"), "Mona Lisa Smile" is scheduled to hit theaters in November.
For his next picture, Grace will team with yet another starlet. "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!!!" is about a small-town grocery employee (Bosworth) who nabs an evening out with a movie star, much to the chagrin of a fellow clerk (Grace) who's been in love with her for years. DreamWorks still has to cast someone to play Tad Hamilton before the picture's late May start date.
"We play these two kids who have known each other their whole lives," Grace said. "And Kate and I are actually from the same hometown, just coincidentally."
Grace explained he wasn't tight with the 20-year-old "Blue Crush" star back in Connecticut, but they were acquainted. "I'm a little bit older than Kate. My younger sister was on a soccer team with her. I think I chaperoned on a field trip.
"It's a really great script," he continued. "I really like the director, Robert Luketic, who did 'Legally Blonde.' I think he knows this kind of film really well. And I think Kate Bosworth is a terrific actress."
Grace said he's excited to use "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!!!" as a chance to spread his thespian wings. "I think people have an idea about you with every project you do, and I really like changing it up. I continually love to do ' '70s Show,' but I really liked doing 'Traffic' because it was just completely 180 degrees opposite of what people knew of me. And I think the same is probably true of this film."