It might take me two tries, but I always got the job. I figured out what they wanted". During one of the performances, both the star and the first understudy were unavailable, and Zeta-Jones was asked to play the role of Peggy Sawyer—a chorus girl who becomes a star.
The producer was impressed by her acting ability and allowed her to play the role for the next two years. Screen debut and career struggles[ edit ] In , Zeta-Jones made her film debut in the director Philippe de Broca 's film Nights.
Bates ' novel of the same name , Zeta-Jones played the role of the eldest daughter of a family living in the countryside in s Britain. I couldn't go anywhere". Reviews for the film were negative, though the critic Vincent Canby of The New York Times found her to be "very funny".
In a mixed review, critic Lisa Nesselson of Variety found the miniseries to be "brightly colored" but "wooden and hollow", though thought that Zeta-Jones "imparts a certain grace and resolve to her sovereign-in-the-making".
She remarked, "There was all this fuss about who I was and wasn't dating. I was a pretty face and a big bust and nothing else. People in the business believed what they read about me. So I decided to move away and start again. Campbell cast her as the leading lady in favour of Izabella Scorupco , who was his original choice for the part. She found similarities between her "volatile" Celtic personality and her Latin character's temperament, and in preparation she studied dancing, riding and sword-fighting, and took diction lessons in Spanish.
Despite a negative critical reception, the film was a commercial success;   Janet Maslin of The New York Times thought that the film provided Zeta-Jones a platform to "show off her slithery skills", and Desson Howe of The Washington Post called on viewers to appreciate the sex appeal she brought to the role.
The horror feature received generally poor reviews but found a significant worldwide audience. Initially written by Soderbergh as a mother of two, he changed the part to that of a pregnant woman on Zeta-Jones' suggestion, to accommodate her own pregnancy. Chicago and other roles[ edit ] The romantic comedy America's Sweethearts was Zeta-Jones' sole film project of She starred as a shrewd movie star, opposite Julia Roberts who featured as her character's under-confident sibling.
The critic Roger Ebert compared the film unfavourably to the musical Singin' in the Rain , but thought that Zeta-Jones was aptly "chilly and manipulative" in her part. She based her character's look and mannerisms on the actress Louise Brooks , and as the script did not provide a backstory to Kelly, she worked to convey her character's "flamboyance" and "desperation" through "little looks and nuances". She was drawn to the project to give her young children an opportunity to "hear [her] and get a sense of [her] on film",  although the film proved to be a box office bomb.
Spielberg was intent on her playing against type as a strong-willed woman, with a vulnerability in her character,  but the critic A. Scott felt that it came across as using her for "her looks rather than for the arch, self-mocking wit that is her secret weapon as a comic actress".
The production, which was filmed in several European countries, saw Zeta-Jones play Isabel Lahiri, a Europol agent, and the love interest of Pitt's character. The unsuccessful production was given only a limited theatrical release. No Reservations tells the story of an ambitious chef Zeta-Jones whose life changes for the better when she takes in her young niece Breslin after her sister's death. In preparation for her part, Zeta-Jones worked in the kitchen and waited on tables at New York's Fiamma Osteria restaurant.
She instead chose to focus on her family and health, having been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder , and her infrequent acting appearances were in smaller-scale and less successful productions. The production was released theatrically in markets outside of the United States in —10, but due to financial troubles of its distributor, The Film Development, the film failed to release theatrically in America.
Set in Sweden during the early twentieth century, the musical follows the relationship between three people Zeta-Jones, Angela Lansbury and Alexander Hanson during the course of an evening.
It's not one of those shows where you can dig about three inches and come out the other end. You can keep digging and digging and digging".
Return to film and television[ edit ] Following a three-year sabbatical from acting, Zeta-Jones made her screen comeback in Lay the Favorite , a comedy co-starring Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall , in which she played the jealous wife of a gambler Willis. She was attracted to the idea of playing a "nightmare of a woman" and based the role on the politician Michele Bachmann ;  the film received mixed reviews and failed commercially. The film tells the story of a private detective Wahlberg who is hired by the mayor of New York Crowe to spy on his wife Zeta-Jones.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter thought that Zeta-Jones "looks like class itself and nicely underplays", and Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail observed that the actress "does a fair, if incongruous, impersonation of a forties vamp". Peter Travers found the film to be a "hell of a thriller, twisty, terrific and packed with surprises" and considered Zeta-Jones to be "dynamite" in it.
She was drawn to the project, which follows the comic adventures of retired spies, for "the action, the humour, [and] the tongue-in-cheek quality of it". She was cast as a glamorous journalist reporting on a British Home Guard platoon based in Walmington-on-Sea. Despite her character's misdeeds, she was drawn to her character's fortitude and ability to stand out in a male-dominated business.
She is a patron of Swansea's Longfields Day Centre for the disabled, and has made sizeable donations to the centre. She was named the global ambassador for the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden, Inc.
The event raised funds for Dramatic Need , a charity that helps African children pursue a career in the arts. I'm very shy socially. As well as taking legal action against Hello! The Biography, but the publication was indefinitely postponed when she issued a legal notice prohibiting its release.