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Leoni Online: The Articles — Leicester Mercury

Tea and sympathy She used to be best-known as the wife of the X-Files star David Duchovny, but Tea Leoni is now a major star in her own right. She talks to Hattie Edwards Tea Leoni no longer has autograph-hunters rushing past her to get to her X-Files husband David Duchovny. The blonde actress is now a Hollywood star in her own right. In recent years, she has managed to turn TV failure into success in movies n and she’s even survived taking a break to have a child. Steven Spielberg thinks so highly of the 34-year-old Leoni that he’s cast her in Jurassic Park III which is currently being filmed in Los Angeles. Leoni is delighted about her change of fortunes in Hollywood, particularly as her decision to take two years off to have her first baby would be considered by many Hollywood actresses to be career suicide. Daughter Madelaine is now 20 months old and Leoni is back in business with a new starring role. In Family Man, a re-working of the 1948 classic It’s A Wonderful Life, she co-stars with Nicolas Cage in the story of a callous Manhattan executive, who wakes up on Christmas morning to find his lifestyle has changed. Instead of the life he was leading he is married to a former flame, has two kids and a dead-end job. Leoni admits it’s great to have a second chance at stardom, as prior to becoming a parent, she starred in a disastrous TV series, The Naked Truth, which was pulled after dreadful ratings. Her biggest film role was in the disaster flick Deep Impact, which was also panned by the critics. ”I’m at the beginning of the road back,” she smiles. ”When you go and have a baby in Hollywood you might as well have taken a trip to Mars.” Her Family Man role sees her playing a mother n a factor which attracted Leoni to the film. The idea of a comedy also appealed. ”Madelaine was only six months old when we started shooting and to be honest I didn’t feel I was up to the physical and emotional task of something more complex.” Cage plays a man who has to make a choice between suburban family man and high-life executive and, despite being happily married herself, Leoni is surprisingly sympathetic to the character’s dilemma. ”It’s between the kids, mini-van and New Jersey or the Manhattan apartment, skiing in Aspen and Amber Valletta (his girlfriend). This relationship had to be something special because personally I’d be going for Amber.” Leoni is feeling more settled about her career. ”I’m no longer vulnerable to what this industry may throw into my face. I don’t see how anything can really hurt me,” she says. Leoni is a New Yorker and showbusiness is in her blood. Her grandmother was on Broadway and the actress first got a taste for drama in school stage productions. Initially she had plans to go to Harvard but a dare resulted in her being cast in a Charlie’s Angels spin-off Angels 88, which never happened.

Leoni stayed on in Hollywood and made her film debut in Blake Edwards’ Switch in 1991. The Will Smith hit Bad Boys in 1995, in which she played the female lead, was her big breakthrough.