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Josh Duhamel Reveals Insider Movie Actor Truths

Playing a woman whose daughter has committed suicide in the Oct. 3 movie "Lies in Plain Sight" was an excruciating experience for Rosie Perez — literally. The actress was suffering from a slipped and bulging disc throughout the shoot in June and underwent a bone marrow procedure and neck surgery just four days after wrapping production.

"I had spoken to my doctor prior, and he advised me not to work. But I said, 'This film is really speaking to me. I really want to do it,'" she tells us. She wound up getting through by "having an epidural in my spine, which they said wouldn't hurt, but it hurt like hell, and I had to have ice packs on between takes and have pain medication.

"But it was good for my character. It allowed my character to be very contained. That's the type of pain it was. That's how it expressed itself."

The Lifetime Movie Network drama has Mexican film star Martha Higareda playing Perez'S blind niece, her daughter's closest friend, who searches for the reason behind her suicide and uncovers dark secrets involving abuse. Chad Michael Murray and Christoph Sanders play the dead girl's former boyfriends, and Yul VAzquez her father.

"I think 'Lies in Plain Sight' is a wonderful title," comments Perez. "There are so many signs that adults either choose to ignore or are ignorant of in regards to this specific type of abuse. "I think the film was well done in that regard. That spoke to me the most. The family falling apart — that's always intriguing for an actress. And my character — how can I say this without giving too much away? I like to play characters that you as the audience may not like."

The "Do the Right Thing" and "Pineapple Express" actress gamely showed up in Washington, D.C., in July — in a wheelchair, wearing a neck brace — for a reception at which President Barack Obama honored the work of the HIV/AIDS charitable community. There she explained that she'd been hurt doing a scene last year for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in which she was shaken by an extra. The president was heard advising Perez not to do her own stunts: "They have professionals for that."

Now she says, "I'm on the mend. It's coming along slowly" — too slowly, in fact, for her to participate in John Guare's new play at Lincoln Center, A Free Man of Color," to which Perez says she was attached for six years.

"I don't even know how to say it. It was very heartbreaking, very difficult, letting it go, being told I couldn't do it. It got a little ugly... But I've realized it would have been impossible."

However, according to Perez, there's a silver lining to this storm of disappointment and pain. "This healing time is a really positive time, a blessing in disguise. My doctor wanted me to be as strong as possible prior to the surgery and after the surgery, so I cleaned out my system. No drinking red wine. I'm eating healthy foods. Yes, I had a nurse — a home attendant — and assistants around, but there came the time I said, 'Everybody go home. I'm fine by myself' and it felt great. I'm kind of a loner naturally, but I've really enjoyed this solitude on a whole new level, to be able to sit with myself and not be bored. The clarity it has brought to me is incredible."

THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Josh Duhamel, who has "Life as We Know It" opening Oct. 8, says working with kids isn't so bad. He stars with not only Katherine Heigl and Josh Lucas in the rom-com, but also with the precocious Clagett triplets as the baby.

"We got lucky because there were three of them," he tells Entertainment Weekly, in a wide-ranging interview in the issue hitting stands tomorrow (10/1). "Brooke was the little starlet. Brynn was the feisty little one — you never knew what you'd get. And then there was little Lexie, who without a doubt every time on set would just scream bloody murder — which comes in handy in a movie like this because there's a lot of moments when you need a baby to cry."

Duhamel also dishes the inside skinny on such need-to-know actor truths as imbibing before shooting a scene in really cold water. In his current limited-release flick "The Romantics," his groom-to-be character is seen taking a drunken dip in the ocean with pals. The lesson of the nighttime shoot, he tells EW: "It's irresponsible NOT to drink whiskey before you jump into the Atlantic in December."

And, on working with director Michael Bay, with whom he's currently shooting the third "Transformers" film: "I learned to stay out of his way...Just to be there and do as you're told and shut up."

And then there are Duhamel's notes on taking realism too far. Recalling the filming of his 2006 "Turistas," about kidnapped American tourists, he reveals: "We had the bright idea to go barefoot, like (the bad guys) stole our shoes, too! Like, 'Let's make this s—- real!' About half a day into shooting we realized it was a huge mistake, but we couldn't go back because we had already shot a bunch of stuff." Ouch.

THAT'S NICE: "The City" star Whitney Port became the latest celeb to lend her famous face to the American Cancer Society's More Birthdays campaign the other day, when she co-hosted a dinner at L.A.'s The Little Door restaurant for friends and family. The Ports, who vowed to work closely with ACS, have a special interest in the drive — Whitney's father, Jeff, is a 10-year prostate cancer survivor. Whitney's boyfriend, fellow MTV star Ben Nemtin ("The Buried Life"), was also on hand for the festive yet emotional event at which partygoers shared stories of how cancer has impacted their lives. Other stars on board for the More Birthdays campaign include Justin Bieber, Keith Urban, Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat and Maroon 5, performing their own special renditions of "Happy Birthday."

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.


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