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— by Larry Carroll

She may have starred in "The Girl Next Door," but don't go ringing your neighbor's bell looking for a woman like Elisha Cuthbert. With a sharp sense of humor to match that mane of blonde hair, the 22-year-old actress continues her ascension through the ranks of young Hollywood with next month's horror remake, "House of Wax." The DVD for "Girl" was a huge seller — maybe, just maybe because it promised to reveal "what they couldn't show in theaters." But those looking to see an unexplored side of the actress need look no further than "Movie Life" [Thursdays, 11 p.m. ET/PT], the reality show that exposes Cuthbert and her "Wax" co-stars in all their off-camera glory. MTV News' Larry Carroll caught up with the starlet to talk about her real-life Donald Trump, the horrors of shooting at 4 a.m. and whether she'd ever let a razor go near those legs that have fueled more than a few teenage fantasies.

Ever wonder what it's really like to be in a movie? Go behind the scenes with Chad, Elisha, Paris and Jared in "Movie Life: House of Wax."

MTV: Tell us about Carly, your character in "House of Wax."

Elisha Cuthbert: She's kind of boyish; it's interesting, you see her grow as a character throughout the course of the movie.

MTV: So this is a horror movie that actually made you act?

Cuthbert: Totally. It was all about character development, making sure that there was a story within the horror. It's hard to be scared if you don't feel for a character, because you don't care if they die or live.

MTV: How difficult was it to get used to the "Movie Life" cameras?

Cuthbert: I don't think I ever got used to it. It's complicated: not only are you making a movie, but you're making a show and trying to ignore the cameras. I found that I had a pretty good relationship with the crew. [They] understood when we needed our time alone and stepped in when all the good action went down. In one episode, Paris [Hilton] had her slight meltdown, and the cameras were there to see every bit of it.

"Movie Life" Exclusive clip: Elisha faces her fears.

More "Movie Life" moments you won't see anywhere else ...

MTV: [The] episode where you had to stand around in the middle of the night, waiting for Paris to overcome butterflies in her stomach.

Cuthbert: I've been in a lot of circumstances with late shoots. When you hear that someone's not up for it, you're like, 'Oh, God, what are we going to do?' First, I thought there was something seriously wrong but, you know, it was nerves. I think people will realize now that it's not as easy as it looks. That night it rained at four in the morning, and all you wanted to do was go and get in your bed and just sleep. Luckily, my character was clothed.

MTV: Thanks to your work on "24," you're already an established TV star. Did that make the "Movie Life" shoot any easier?

Cuthbert: I don't think anything can prepare you for a crew to come in and actually film you as yourself. It's kind of frightening to think that all of a sudden people are going to know how you are, and how you act on a day-to-day basis.

MTV: "Movie Life" is interesting because each of you seems to fit into a reality-show persona. Your producer, Joel Silver, for instance, becomes the Donald Trump of your existence.

Photos: On the set of "House of Wax"

More "House of Wax" photos ...

Cuthbert: He totally is, and you get to see that. That's what's so great about "Movie Life" — audiences can really understand the hierarchy of a film.

MTV: Tell us about Paris: your expectations, and what she was really like.

Cuthbert: When I met her for the first time, she was, um, interesting. She walked in and she was like 'Hi, bitch!' in a funny way. And the next time she saw me, she called me gorgeous. I was like, 'Nah, I like bitch better; it's funnier.' We actually hit it off pretty quickly. She's such a sweet person, and she's real. [Some of her] moments in the movie were really hard to shoot, and she brought it. She should be really proud of herself.

MTV: How about Chad Michael Murray?

Cuthbert: I had heard that he was good, [and] I think he's a strong actor and a nice person. But he has an interesting thing going on, too. I'm not sure what it is. I'm learning more from the reality show than when I was there, paying more attention than when I was on the set.

More Cast Interviews ...
Paris Hilton
Chad Michael Murray
Jared Padalecki

MTV: This is your first horror movie. Was it hard perfecting your scream?

Cuthbert: I dabbled with a few different ones while we were shooting. In these situations, [the scream] has to come from a deeper place inside to sound better. I'm sure [the crew] thought I was nuts.

MTV: Have you seen the original film?

Cuthbert: No. I said, 'Joel, should I see the original?' And he said no, that we were making a different movie. [But] I'm happy to be a part of one of the most gruesome sequences in the film. I wanted that moment at the end of the movie with my character to be so frightening, so gruesome, that audiences would just cringe. I think we achieved that.

Watch the "House of Wax" trailer

MTV: I bet you can't wait to see it with a crowd.

Cuthbert: I jumped at a few sequences, and I shot the thing!

MTV: Let's ask you a few questions and see if you really do have a house of wax. When it comes to your car, do you get a cheapie wash, or do you pay the extra few bucks for the wax?

Cuthbert: I definitely go for the wax.

MTV: Do you always buy CDs, or do you sometimes go for the wax?

Cuthbert: I have lots of records, quite a collection, actually, that I stole from my mom. I have the original Thriller album and I have a really great Elton John's Greatest Hits, and I also have a N.E.R.D. album. Records sound more original. They have more edge.

MTV: Stick your finger in your ear. Is it dry, or do you have wax?

Cuthbert: Definitely dry. I use Q-Tips every time I get out of the shower.

MTV: How about when the legs get hairy? Do you grab a razor or reach for the wax?

Cuthbert: Oh, God, I go for the razor. I'm one of those low-maintenance people — let's get it done and get going. It's not that painful to wax, but I don't have time for it — just give me the razor.

Check out everything we've got on "House of Wax."

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