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Marsha Mason: Goodbye Ranch, Hello New York

hollywoodexclusive1After nearly 17 years of living on her 250-acre ranch/organic farm in New Mexico, Marsha Mason is getting ready to pull up stakes and return to New York to live — and if that brings more acting assignments, so much the better.

"I had the farm and the business and was running all of that at the same time as continuing to work as an actress. I really want to downsize and simplify now," explains the four-time Oscar nominee, who earned critical raves for her just-completed off-Broadway run in "I Never Sang for My Father."

Coincidentally enough, after not having acted for months, she was suddenly needed on both coasts simultaneously, as she was called to L.A. to do a showcase guest appearance tomorrow night (5/5), playing Patricia Heaton's mom on a Mother's Day-themed episode of ABC's "The Middle."

"I adore Patricia," she notes. As for whether she'll return: "Who knows? I mean, I am playing her mother."

THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: It was night and day on "Knight and Day" for Paul Dano. The 25-year-old talent, who has an "actor's actor" reputation with his string of art-house pictures and highly regarded mainstream fare — like his performance in "There Will Be Blood" — found himself in a whole new world working on the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz June release.

"Knight and Day" is "the first film I've been in that has big action pieces and stunts — the kind of film I grew up watching," he informs. "One of the things I enjoyed about it is that Cruise is one of the harder-working people I've ever been associated with. If something isn't right, you're going to do it again. I love that attitude. You want the best going up on screen."

Dano won't talk about his character. "It's one of those, the less you know, the better. The movie looks quite fun and funny. I think it's going to be good," he adds, speaking of the picture that has Cruise as a possibly insane super spy.

Right now, Dano's enjoying another round of critical applause for his performance in filmmaker Dagur Kari's newly opened "The Good Heart," which reunited him with his "L.I.E." cast mate Brian Cox. They're two strong performances in a film that's been called strange. Dano's character is a homeless lost soul taken under wing as an heir apparent by Cox's hard-living reprobate of a dive bar owner. "I went to a screening here in New York, and the audience was laughing a lot and seemed quite taken aback toward the end," Dano relates.

He also has the social comedy "The Extra Man" with Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly and Katie Holmes coming out this summer. If he has his way, he says, he'd like to keep going back and forth between big and small movies. "It's good, it keeps me interested and curious and, you know, sort of using different muscles. You take something different away from each experience."

VARIED MENU: So what could be next for Guy Fieri, who's shot from college hospitality courses to host of hit Food Network shows to emcee of NBC's "Minute to Win It" game show?

The way the dynamic Fieri sees it, "I've got a good sense of humor and could see being involved in a sitcom or a movie."

He confesses that NBC didn't approach him about broadening his professional horizons by hosting a game show. "My agent," he says, "asked what were other things I might like to do that I wasn't doing, and I thought, 'Well, I'm a game show fan. I love the way the hosts can interact with contestants.' And I said, 'I'd love to host a primetime game show. I didn't think anyone would take me seriously. But not only did they, they designed a show I feel I was born to do. It's perfect for me."

DOING FOR OTHERS: Roselyn Sanchez says she's found "The more I do charity work, the more I want to keep doing. Getting movies and TV shows is great, but when you're helping, it's much more fulfilling. I would love to be at a place one day where I can do one movie and then go do charity work for six months."

The stunning actress of "Without a Trace" and "The Game Plan" fame counts serving as a spokesperson for Operation Smile among her charitable activities. "My husband and I are both very involved," she notes of the organization that supplies cleft palate corrective surgeries to children in developing nations. "People have no idea that for $245, you can give a smile to a kid. When we went to Nicaragua, we screened like 240 kids, and 117 made it to the actual surgery, and it changed these kids' lives."

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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