Aunt’s hunch helps launch ‘Roswell’ star’s career

Thanks to Jenny for sending this in!

Aunt’s hunch helps launch ‘Roswell’ star’s career

By Eirik Knutzen
Copley News Service
May 17, 2000

A kindly aunt with tenuous connections to New York fashion model agencies
thought her blond niece was so cute that she took pictures of her in various
poses during a visit in New Canaan, Conn.

Just for fun, she asked permission from Katherine Heigl’s mother to
distribute some of the shots among a handful of agents. There were no
objections. A few weeks later, Katherine signed up with Wilhemina, the
pretigious international agency.

It took about a nanosecond for Heigl to make her professional debut in a
magazine print ad, followed by a national TV commercial for Cheerios
breakfast cereal. With another half-dozen commercials under her belt, she
made her legitimate acting debut at the age od 11 in the feature film “That
Night” (1992) opposite Juliette Lewis and C. Thomas Howell.

On a roll, she spent vacations, holidays and weekends cranking out such
fare as “King of the Hill” (1993), “My Father, the Hero” (1994), “Under Siege
2” (1995) and “Wish Upon A Star” (1996) before graduating from New Canaan
High School.

Heigl was suddenly left with the horrendous dilemma of going on to an
Eastern college or trying her luck in Hollywood. Ultimately, there was no
reason to take a tremendous pa cut in favor of a university degree that had
no bearing on getting another acting job. Heigl and her divorced mother
moved on to sunny Southern California in time to shoot a dog titled “Prince
Valiant” (1997), “Stand-Ins” (1997) and “Bug Buster” (1998) didn’t do much
for her career, either, but comedic horror flick “Bride of Chucky” (1998)
garnered a fair amount of attention.

She was highly visible when cast as a regular in the pseudo-sci-fi series
“Roswell” (Mondays, 8 p.m., WB). Heigl, now really cute 21 and looking sweet
16, portrays Isabel Evans, an illegal alien from a galaxy far away. A cross
between “The X-Files” and “Dawson’s Creek”, “Roswell” follows the adventures
of Isabel. her brother Max (Jason Behr) and their friend Michael (Brendan
Fehr) during their tumultuous high school years in Roswell, N.M.

The three youngsters were adopted under mysterious circumstances by
humans shortly after emerging from their incubation pods at the age of 7.
They appear to be the descendants of the strange critters on a crashed alien
spaceship who were incinerated on impact in 1947. These weird youngsters
with special powers have to elude capture by the nasty local sheriff and
various nefarious federal agents.

“I love playing Isabel because she’s very strong and positive — and
she’s sort of fashion-conscious,” says Heigl, laughing. “She also takes
everything very seriously, knowing that her life could be at stake anytime.
Isabel doesn’t like feeling vulnerable and having to depend on a handful of
high school friends… . The fun part is watching my character emerge. I
learn something new about her on every page of the script.”

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