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Small-Screen Stars Make Their Mark On The Big Screen

February 8th, 2008 10:01am EST
Made of HonorTV actors often try to parlay their small-screen fame into big-screen success. Some, like George Clooney, hit the jackpot. Others falter in the transition, but you can't fault them for trying. Here's a sampling of where in the cinema you can currently find some of TV's stars and rental picks for the Netflix-addicted.

Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy) - In a departure from his more dramatic roles on TV in "Grey's Anatomy" and a guest stint on Once and Again, Dempsey has focused on romantic comedies in his film career recently. He's been charming audiences alongside Amy Adams in Enchanted since November. In May, Dempsey stars in Made of Honor as a guy who realizes he's in love with his engaged best friend (Michelle Monaghan). Sure, it's not brain surgery, but that doesn't mean that it's easy as the current sad state of rom-coms will attest.

Alternate Rental Pick: Lucky 7. Not exactly a big-screen film, the underrated movie was made back when ABC Family movies were good. It's more charming and sweet than any of Matthew McConaughey's recent romantic comedies. Dempsey plays the love interest of the fresh-faced Kimberly Williams (Father of the Bride) and draws on the same romantic earnestness that he exhibits in "Grey's Anatomy" and "Enchanted."

27 DressesKatherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy") - Like her "Grey's Anatomy" costar, Heigl has focused on comedies and romance when it comes to her big screen career. "I'm a commercial kind of gal," Heigl told Entertainment Weekly. "The Notebook is one of my all-time favorite movies." The romantic-comedy trajectory seems to be working well for Heigl, who hit it big with Knocked Up last summer. Now, with 27 Dresses out in theaters, Heigl is carrying the movie herself and doing it with aplomb.

Alternate Rental Pick: My Father the Hero. In one of her earliest roles, Heigl shows off the beginnings of her impressive comedic chops as a teenage girl connecting with her divorced father during a Bahamas vacation. Just ignore the ick-inducing plot development where she pretends her father, played by Gérard Depardieu, is her much older lover to make a guy jealous.

Sarah Michelle GellarSarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) - The actress, otherwise known as The Slayer, is known for her track record of less-than-impressive horror/thriller films, but she's not letting that stand in her way. She's got another one on the way with Possession, co-starring Pushing Daisies' Lee Pace and Michael Landes. The film, which opens February 28, finds Gellar's sketchy brother-in-law (Pace) thinking he's her husband (Landes) when he wakes up after a car accident that put them both into a coma. Gellar can also currently be seen in The Air I Breathe opposite an impressive cast including Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, Emile Hirsch, Jule Delpy and Andy Garcia. Based on a Chinese proverb that separates life into four emotions, Gellar, embodying sorrow, plays a pop star fallen prey to a crime boss.

Alternate Rental Pick: Cruel Intentions. Gellar is deliciously bitchy and at her best.

TeethJohn Hensley (Nip/Tuck) - It's no surprise that Hensley has a knack for picking unusual film roles. After all, he does play the troubled son of Sean on "Nip/Tuck." As Matt, he's been involved with a white supremacist, a woman who was really a man and a Scientologist. But Hensley has never before had to face the dangers that he does in the darkly comic and campy indie, Teeth. See, Hensley's step-sister in the film has developed a very protective pair of choppers down under. Note: Not for the squeamish! The movie is gory and disturbing, but you definitely haven't and won't see anything else like it.

Alternate Rental Pick: Fifty Pills. The flick about a college student (Lou Taylor Pucci) who must sell 50 ecstasy pills belonging to his roommate (Hensley) in order to pay for tuition went to straight to DVD, which is for the best. However, the eclectic cast of talented young actors, which also includes Kristen Bell, Monica Keena, Nora Zehetner and Eddie Kaye Thomas, is worth a rental.

JumperRachel Bilson (The O.C.) - Bilson is just starting to make the move to films after the cancellation of "The O.C." While she had a supporting part in The Last Kiss in 2006, the action-drama Jumper, coming out February 14, marks Bilson's first big budget Hollywood film. With great skills in comedy and drama, she's poised for even bigger and better things.

Alternate Rental Pick: Skip the self-involved "The Last Kiss" and rent "The O.C." seasons 1 and 4 instead. Then watch Bilson blossom from scene stealer to leading lady.

Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) - Pace is taking a 180-degree turn from his TV role, going dark and troubled for his role as the brother-in-law of Sarah Michelle Gellar's character in Possession (February 28). But don't worry, March's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day promises to delivery light-hearted romance. As one of the many suitors of the delightful Amy Adams, a 1930s singer/actress, Pace must surely be at the top of her list as he is on ours.

Alternate Rental Pick: Soldier's Girl. Pace was Golden Globe nominated for his role in the Showtime film, which is based on the true story of a soldier who fell in love with a transgendered nightclub performer. As the transgendered performer, Pace's transformation, which required prosthetic breasts and hips, is astounding. Make sure to have tissues handy.

Story by Vlada Gelman
Starpulse.com contributing writer