House full of pooches, canine movie on way Canines rule roost, pooch blockbuster in theatres now Actress plays intrepid reporter
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
BEVERLY HILLS—You'll never guess whom Alicia Silverstone has been sleeping with. It's a 6-year-old Pit Bull named Butterfly, whom the former Clueless star affectionately refers to as "Pig."
"She took all the covers last night and I can't move her because she's too big," the San Francisco native and former high school cheerleader explains.
Not surprisingly, Butterfly isn't the only pooch in Silverstone's life. An animal rights activist and strict vegan for the past five years, the actress has two other mutts in her Los Angeles home: Sampson and Lacey. ("They sleep in the bedroom, but not on the bed," she says.)
Then there is that other canine — a certain computer-generated Great Dane — that Silverstone stars with in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, which opened yesterday.
Her latest role is Heather Jasper-Howe, an overzealous television reporter keeping tabs on the five members of the Mystery Inc. detective agency as they investigate the nefarious plans of an anonymous masked villain who is plotting to take control of the city of Coolsville. Silverstone landed the part despite the fact that she had never seen the original 2002 movie.
"I was expecting not to like it because, you know, I am 27 and this is Scooby Doo," she admits with a guilty laugh. "But I really loved it. I thought it was such a great movie for young people and I thought Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) was just amazing in it."
Silverstone and Lillard first worked together in director Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labours Lost in 2000 and have since become members of the Mutual Admiration Society. "I love her," Lillard says of his sandy-haired co-star. "Alicia is one of the sweetest people in this industry that I have met. She has such a kindness and peacefulness about her."
The release of Scooby Doo 2 comes at a time when the future of Silverstone's TV sitcom Miss Match remains uncertain. The series about a Los Angeles lawyer who moonlights by playing Cupid was shelved indefinitely by NBC after just seven airings. The problem?
"It's hard when you are on a Friday night," Silverstone contends. "My mother is in her 60s and she was taping the show because she's got busy plans on Friday night!"
Silverstone is more of a stay-at-home girl. She enjoys relaxing in bed watching episodes of 24 and Curb Your Enthusiasm with her dogs and cooking vegan meals with her boyfriend.
She has dated actor Adam Sandler and singer Christopher Jarecki of The Underdogs, but prefers not to discuss her relationships in any detail. Silverstone is, and always has been, a very private individual. But that doesn't mean she hasn't heard her fair share of invasive, personal queries.
During a press junket for The Crush — a 1993 teen drama about a 14-year-old girl lusting after an older man — Silverstone was quizzed about her bra size. "Another lady asked me if I was a virgin," she remembers. "I was so young and it was so embarrassing."
Silverstone is the youngest of three children raised in Northern California by Monty, a real estate investor, and Didi, a former flight attendant. Her half-sister Kezi, from Monty's previous marriage, is a rock singer in London. Half brother David is a set dresser and prop master.
She began her career at the age of 6, when her father took the photographs that helped her land modelling jobs and minor television appearances. Her first TV commercial was for Domino's Pizza. After a guest spot on The Wonder Years as — what else? — a "dream girl," Silverstone decided to make the jump to the big screen.
She became legally emancipated from her parents in order to work the extended "adult" hours on The Crush. Eventually, that film earned Silverstone an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough performance. It also caught the attention of the rock band Aerosmith, which hired her for a series of sexy music videos.
But it was her portrayal of a pampered yet endearing high schooler searching for love in director Amy Heckerling's 1995 comedy Clueless that made the 5-foot-7 vixen a star.
"She is like a cute, bubbly blonde who seems more intelligent than the rest," says Us Weekly film critic Thelma Adams. "Her problem is that after Clueless, her career went into a bit of a freefall."
In 1996, she signed a $10 million (U.S.) deal with Columbia Pictures, which included the role of Batgirl in Batman And Robin and a three-year "first look" agreement for her fledgling First Kiss Productions.
The company's debut release, in 1996, Excess Baggage, was a box-office bomb.
But lately things have turned around. "Even though her TV show ended up apparently having a silent death, it had a lot of positive critical response," Adams notes.
"She could easily have another TV show. Or she could go on to one of these shows with a huge cast like ER and get a lot of play without having to carry the whole thing."
There is also good news for First Kiss Productions, which recently received its third Genesis Award and first Emmy nomination for the animated children's series Brace Face.
"I really like little people," Silverstone beams.
"It is just so fun to seem cool in little people's eyes. Other actor friends of mine have kids and they do movies that their kids do not relate to. So they are a little jealous that I did Brace Face and Scooby Doo."