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by Sofia M. Fernandez
December 10, 2012 12:04 PM
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Gangbangs, Candle Wax & Cocaine: 5 Jessica Biel Performances From Her Indie Resume

"The Rules of Attraction"
Jessica Biel has been playing both sides of the Hollywood coin for most of her career, alternating between wide releases and specialty fare. She was at it again this past weekend with two movies in theaters: new release "Playing for Keeps" from FilmDistrict and holdover "Hitchcock” from Fox Searchlight. Given the woeful $6 million gross with which “Keeps” opened, Biel would be smart to stick to the indie side of things.

Biel began bouncing between crowd-pleasers and smaller fare early on. Her first live-action feature film, "Ulee's Gold," was followed by Disney's "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and Warner Bros.' "Summer Catch." Then came Lionsgate's raw and risqué "The Rules of Attraction," where she portrayed a party girl who was the polar opposite of Mary Camden, her character on TV's popular, wholesome "7th Heaven."

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"Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes"
More recently, Biel went the mega-budget route in "Total Recall," but she’ll balance that out next month at Sundance with Francesca Gregorini's competition drama "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes." (Biel plays a mother who has a mental break from reality after the loss of her child). True, she'll always have films like "Stealth," "The A-Team" and "New Year's Eve" on her plate, but she'll also retain the freedom to branch out in indies, where she takes the biggest risks, whether it's playing a well-known actress, perfecting the witty comeback in a comedy of manners or baring, uh, herself.

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Below, five of Biel’s most indie film roles:

“Hitchcock” (2012)

Biel plays actress Vera Miles in director Sacha Gervasi's ("Anvil: The Story of Anvil") slice-of-life portrait of Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma during the filming of "Psycho." As portrayed in the film, Miles is wise to the director's ways, having fallen out of favor with him when pregnancy forced her out of the lead role in "Vertigo" and led to her being subjected to the "frumpy" treatment in "Psycho."

"Hitchcock"
“Easy Virtue” (2009)

Based on Noel Coward's somewhat obscure 1924 play, this breezy effort grossed Sony Pictures Classics $18 million worldwide and put a platinum-blonde Biel front and center as a race-car driving American divorcee (the horror!) who rattles her new husband's stuffy British family. Biel wore her period wardrobe well, sang Cole Porter's "Mad About the Boy" on the opening credits and said her character's fish-out-of-water status hit close to home — "I think I've always felt that way growing up. I went to a lot of different schools and was always the new kid. You're on television, you go to college, and then you're the kid on television that everybody knows, but you don't know anybody. I really connected with her stoic, I'm-gonna-survive-this-situation attitude."

“The Rules of Attraction” (2002)

It's no surprise that writer-director Roger Avery's adaptation of Bret "I-think-Kathryn-Bigelow-is-overrated-'cause-she's-a-very-hot-woman" Easton Ellis' 1987 novel about wild undergrads had plenty of drugs and sex. Fortunately for Biel, her role didn't involve being date raped and vomited on (Shannyn Sossamon's role did). Biel played party girl Lara, whose self-esteem issues are explained by her drunken gangbang with the football team and the great post-coital line, "I was born in a Holiday Inn."  

"Powder Blue"
“London” (2005)

The partying and lust continued for Biel in "London," but this time the characters have moved on from college, and Biel's title character is bidding adieu to the Big Apple. Ex-boyfriend Chris Evans crashes her going-away party with a banker buddy and cocaine in tow and eventually gets back into London's pants on the bathroom floor. Reviews were generally negative: as Entertainment Weekly concluded, "it's not so interesting to watch people on cocaine babble back and forth at each other."

“Powder Blue” (2009)

After a run of studio pics — "Elizabethtown," "The Illusionist," "Home of the Brave," and Razzie winner "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" — Biel went the actress-plays-stripper route in "Powder Blue," a "Crash"-esque drama co-produced by Forest Whitaker's Spirit Dance Entertainment. Her single mom character, Rose-Johnny, has a son in a coma, "My Week With Marilyn" and "Les Mis" actor Eddie Redmayne as an admirer and Patrick Swayze as her boss (his final film appearance). One candle wax-dripping striptease scene has us wondering though: do clubs really allow their entertainers to take it off to haunting/depressing songs like Cat Power's "The Werewolf"?

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