Contrary to popular belief, Jessica Biel never got naked when she stripped for Gear magazine as a very young TV actress desperate to shed her goody-goody image as Mary Camden on 7th Heaven. Her hand coyly hid her nipple, visible only when peeking through a gauzy, not-quite-transparent layer of fabric. But she throws modesty and clothes to the breeze as a stripper in the new DVD Powder Blue.
Despite her beauty, Jessica's still desperate. In fact, she's desperate because she's beautiful. Powder Blue went straight to video, and Jessica's convinced she keeps losing bigger roles to Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson because her gorgeousness blinds Hollywood execs to her talent. "Yeah, it really is a problem. I have to be blunt," she told Allure.
Everybody should have Jessica's problems. Besides her coveted flesh, she's had hits, hunks, and artistic achievements many would kill for. Her new movie Easy Virtue shows off a new side of her talent: She plays a roaring '20s siren, and she gets to sing "Mad About the Boy" better than you thought she could. And Justin Timberlake remains mad about the girl. Still, at 28, she's running out of time to break out to the success level she craves. We honor her ambition and razz her flops in a Film.com Fever Chart, which documents the lifetime highs and lows of our favorite celebrities. If you think we've left out any highs (or lows), sound off loud in the comments section below!
At age 8, Jessica wins a karaoke contest and sets her sights on a musical theater career. Stars in Annie, finds that the sun'll come out tomorrow, but it's always a day away. That's how she feels now about the ever-elusive day she becomes a real star. Temperature: 98.7 degrees
At 12, her model-like cheekbones (a happy result of her part-Choctaw Indian heritage) get her signed at the International Modeling and Talent Association in LA. Temperature: 99.6 degrees
Her prayers are answered! Wins the part of the preacher's daughter on the religious-family drama 7th Heaven. Temperature: 101.9 degrees
Jessica stars in the WB's top hit, and gets valuable exposure and experience -- like the episode where she has to ask her big brother how to go about kissing a boy: "I don't know where my hands go or his hands or my face or his face and his lips and my lips." She decides to practice on Matt, "so I can have some kind of experience." How kinky! Yet innocent. Temperature: 111 degrees
Breaks into movies as Peter Fonda's kid in Ulee's Gold. He gets his best reviews ever, she gets the Hollywood Young Artist award. Temperature: 113 degrees
Her dangerous nice-girl reputation makes her lose the role in American Beauty that went to Thora Birch. The film cops five Oscars, critics salaam in worship. (But maybe it wasn't all that bad a break -- nobody's talking about Thora Birch anymore, and Jessica's got a Fever Chart on Film.com!) Temperature: 88 degrees
Bitter about missing out on the topless scene in American Beauty, teen Jessica shocks 7th Heaven fans by striking nasty poses in near-nude spread in Gear. Her bosses will have to let her out of her contract now! Stardom is only a day away! Temperature: 119.9 degrees
7th Heaven bosses won't let her go. She's stuck there for years. Temperature: 99 degrees
Plays a tramp in Bret Easton Ellis's The Rules of Attraction. Viewers aren't attracted. Temperature: 98 degrees
Escapes Christian entertainment at last, stars in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A tough shoot: Chainsaw sparks burn through her pants, light bulb shards pierce her skin, her voice fails, so screams must be dubbed. "My lips were swollen, my eyelids were swollen, I just cried all day long. It was like being premenstrual for like a month at a time." But it's all worth it. Critic Terry Lawson calls Jessica "compelling even when she isn't about to burst out of her wet T-shirt." Temperature: 111 degrees
Trying to carve out a career in slasher pix, stars in the sequel to the hit Blade. It stinks. Temperature: 100 degrees
Trying to branch out into action pix, stars in the pitiable Top Gun wannabe Stealth. Gets saved behind North Korean lines by Josh Lucas. But who will save Jessica's career? Film scores an incredible 7 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Temperature: 98.5 degrees
Loses the star part in star-making director Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown to Kirsten Dunst, but gets a smaller role. Intended as a Harold and Maude death comedy for our time, the film very nearly constitutes Crowe's career suicide. Temperature: 88.4 degrees
Stars in London with her main squeeze, Chris Evans. Film bites the dust. So does relationship. Funny how that works. Esquire names her "Sexiest Woman Alive," but that doesn't cut it with casting directors. Temperature: 78.6 degrees
After three bombs in one year that an A-list star mightn't have survived, Jessica auditions for an art film of a novel by one of America's most esoteric writers. Few believe she can pull off a role as a turn-of-the-century noblewoman. Frantic, she buys a bizarre period outfit. "I just thought, 'You know, I've got nothing to lose. I've got one opportunity. I'm gonna go for it.' So I bought this crazy outfit, fully decked from head-to-toe. I looked like some crazy person walking down the street. I thought, 'Either I'm gonna be totally laughed at or they're gonna love it.'" They loved it. The movie's a beaut. Jessica finally gets respect, and more awards.
Temperature: 120 degrees
Art-house prestige is nice, but you can't eat prestige. More importantly, a $119 million hit like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Temperature: 140 degrees
Readers of eDiet.com vote Jessica's the Best Butt in Hollywood, beating Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Beyoncé Knowles. But only her butt is best. Halle Berry wins best body overall. Temperature: 130 degrees
At an LA Lakers game, gets picked out in the stands by the Kiss Cam (which projects fans' kisses on a giant screen). David Letterman opines that Justin Timberlake and Jessica's kiss looked like it might belong on "some other kinda cam." Jessica says, "Who doesn't want to be mounted in front of 18,000 people?" Temperature: 133 degrees
Playing a glamorous American girl struggling to win over a mother-in-law (a role she reportedly reprises with Timberlake's skeptical ma), Jessica tries to re-prove herself as an actor, opposite ultra-class act Kristin Scott Thomas as the frosty maw-in-law. Critic Roger Moore says the film proves "Keira isn't the only Twitter Age hottie who can hold her own in a period piece." Temperature: 135 degrees
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