Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ashley Judd, International Woman of Mystery 01.04.00

There’s something about Ashley.

She certainly seems innocent--a demeanor benefited by her Southern charms--but Ashley Judd rarely plays the damsel-in-distress. Even when she does, as soon as she is untied from the train tracks and whisked away from the barreling locomotive, Judd is at the ready for some serious ass-kicking.

Although she has starred in comedies, melodramas, biopics and movies about midgets, Judd’s resume is mostly crime dramas, her schizophrenic nature of naivete and naked aggression makes her the perfect vixen and/or victim in potboilers, whodunits and even spy thrillers. The following rundown of her suspense film credits proves there is not a genre archetype she hasn’t played, and with Double Jeopardy, the surprise sleeper hit of 1999, Judd’s reign as the box-office Mystery Girl is secured.

Heat (1995)
Subgenre: Cops-and-Robbers
Role: Val Kilmer’s two-timing girlfriend, Charlene.
Archetype: Femme Fatale
Outcome: Charlene’s loose lips sank the bank robber’s ship; Judd dated Robert De Niro in real-life.

A Time To Kill (1996)
Subgenre: Cops-and-Lawyers
Role: Matthew McConaughey’s doting wife, Carla.
Archetype: The Faithful Wife
Outcome: Carla’s devotion thwarts Sandra Bullock’s advances on Matt; Judd and McConaughey become a real-life item, pre-naked bongo dance.

Normal Life (1997)
Subgenre: Cops-Who-Become-Robbers
Role: Luke Perry’s incorrigible wife, Pam.
Archetype: Bad Girl Gone Worse
Outcome: Based on a true story, Pam and hubby meet a violent, bloody end a la Bonnie and Clyde.

Kiss The Girls (1997)
Subgenre: Cops-and-Serial-Killers
Role: Casanova’s kickboxing abductee, Dr. Kate McTiernan.
Archetype: The Vengeful Victim
Outcome: Kate helps Morgan Freeman track down a pair of collaborating bi-coastal killers. She doesn’t date Freeman.

Double Jeopardy (1999)
Subgenre: Cops-and-Loopholes
Role: Bruce Greenwood’s wrongly-convicted wife, Libby.
Archetype: The Vengeful Victim with Murderous Intent
Outcome: Thanks to a long baseball season, scores of female moviegoers make Judd and Tommy Lee Jones Number-One at the box office for five weeks, grossing $113 million in the U.S., alone.

Eye Of The Beholder (2000)
Subgenre: Cops-and-The-Serial-Killers-They’re-In-Love-With
Role: Ewan McGregor’s twisted obsession, Joanna.
Archetype: The Black Widow
Outcome: Judd is an insane psycho-killer, but she reminds Obi Wan of the daughter he lost. In real-life, Judd is dating Team Kool Green CART driver, Dario Franchitti. Eye of the Beholder, indeed.

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