Why: “Stealth,” Cameron Crowe’s highly anticipated “Elizabethtown” and even her turn in 2004’s “Blade Trinity.”
Strong medicine: To play fighter pilot Kara Wade in “Stealth,” the 22-year-old Biel lowered her voice and turned up her sense of humor, strategies she felt would make her appear more mature onscreen. She felt drawn to the powerful and intelligent female character, and says helmer Rob Cohen gave her the role because she was the only woman who didn’t play with her hair at the audition.
Fighter club: “I just loved the idea that she’s in the middle of this boys’ club,” Biel says. “You have to be stronger, smarter and quicker than all the men to make it to that point.”
As a genius pilot to the rescue, Biel spent three hours a day in a mock cockpit elevated 15 feet in the air on a high-speed hydraulic arm. “You’re strapped in, you’re uncomfortable, you’re sweating,” she says. “You’re having to fly this mechanical plane and fly it correctly … flipping buttons, flipping switches. There was a lot going on, that’s for sure.”
Human touch: The screenplay impressed her because it depicts a believable military love story. Respecting the fact that there is a no-fraternization policy in the Air Force, Kara and her pilot paramour enjoy a subtle courtship. “We couldn’t have these characters going to each other’s rooms all the time and making out,” Biel says. “That would be completely unrealistic, especially for a woman who’s worked her entire life to get to this point.”
In Cameron Crowe’s upcoming “Elizabethtown,” Biel plays another driven female: career-climbing, boyfriend-dumping businesswoman Ellen Kishmore. “It was so creative,” she says of the experience. “I felt like (Crowe) really brought me in and made me part of the filmmaking process even though I had a part that lasted six days.”
What’s next: Biel recently finished shooting Hunter Richard’s indie “London.”