Top Stories
image Patti Austin performs 'On the Way to Love'
Full Story

Join Bill Tush for Showbiz this Weekend every Saturday at 10 a.m. EDT and every Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT.

• Latest Entertainment video
• One-minute audio updates:
    • On Screen
    • Celebrity Watch


Showbiz Today Reports: 10:35 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 2:35 p.m., 4:35 p.m. EDT
Showbiz This Weekend: Saturdays, 10 a.m. EDT & Sundays, 3 p.m. EDT

Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow

Estella Warren: Star of a 'Planet'

By Lori Blackman
Showbiz Today Reports

Estella Warren says acting came naturally to her  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Twenty-two-year-old Estella Warren began her professional career six years ago as a model. She rose in the ranks quickly, donning magazine covers and landing ads for brands like Gucci and Nine West while still a teen-ager.

Now she has taken the next step for many models and become an actress.

However, there's a big difference between Warren and many other model-turned-actors: She's had immediate success. This weekend, she debuts as Daena, one of the humans in the big-budgeted Tim Burton version of "Planet of the Apes," which opens Friday and is expected to be a blockbuster. And it won't be the last of Estella Warren -- she has other film offers on the horizon. It's enough to keep this Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow's star shining brightly.

CNN: Many successful models have attempted acting careers, but few have succeeded as quickly as you. You landed five movie roles in one year, one of which is the highly anticipated "Planet of the Apes." Did acting come naturally to you?

CNN's Lori Blackman talks to Star of Tommorow Estella Warren (July 25)

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)

Estella Warren: Yeah, it did, at least I think so. I remember doing a commercial for (director) Luc Besson for Chanel No. 5 three years ago and we actually did a new one that is coming out in September. There is this one scene that I kept doing over and over again and he's like, "OK, we got it," and I said, "No, I want to do it again." So I kind of had that bug, but I went back to New York and continued modeling because it is a rather lucrative industry for a young girl. I wanted to build up a little nest egg and go back to L.A. and choose roles that I wanted to do instead of roles that I had to do to pay the bills.

I finally (told myself) I am going to take two weeks a month to go to L.A. and find people and managers and agents and meet directors and producers. The first two weeks I got three movies, and the other two followed very soon after. It is like this gift that someone gave me and I hope I am treating it well enough because it's a pretty amazing gift.

Warren, who got her start as a successful model, stars in "Planet of the Apes"  

CNN: I want to talk about your character of Daena in "Planet of the Apes." When they discussed making this movie, every name actress in the industry wanted this role. Tim Burton said he didn't want a name for this movie, he wanted a "what's her name?" He wanted to introduce and create a star. When you started this film, did you feel pressure?

Warren: Well, I was in shock when I got the role. I was sitting at that table with Mark Walhberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Tim Burton and it was like, "Hi, I'm Estella," just sitting in the corner. But they were so giving and it was such a warm environment on that set. I mean we all became such good friends. And Tim (Burton) really does create an environment for all of his actors that makes you feel so comfortable. He makes the set so incredible and so real, that you feel like you are in Apeland. You really do.

CNN: Did you do your own stunts?

Warren: I did. I got to use my athletic background -- I was a synchronized swimmer for 10 years in Canada -- to portray her physicality ... (from) running and jumping and swimming and horseback riding.

... I did one where there was this ape who was hooked up to a cable and running behind me, and he was running and running, and he'd jump on a mini-tram and he'd come up from the air and grab me on the back and pull me down. He takes the back of my hair and he pulls it so you can see all the veins in my neck, and I just thought it was fantastic for the audience to see all of that in one shot.


CNN: You were 13 when you became a national synchronized swimmer in your homeland of Canada, for which you won many awards. At 16, you became a successful model. Then at 22, you landed five movies in one year. Looking back on all that you've done, which profession has meant the most to you?

Warren: I don't know. I think acting is definitely the most fulfilling, because it's the most challenging in my mind. But you can't really change a step along the way in the process because if you change even the most insignificant step, you never know if you'd be where you are, and I really like where I am. So I don't want to change anything to how I got here.

But I really appreciate the sport background because the structure and the discipline that that gives a person is incredible, and it just carries with you wherever you go. And they don't really give that to you as an actor -- you have to create that yourself.

CNN: In these last few months, you've avoided doing salacious, sexy magazine covers. Why is that?

Warren: I realize why I got the parts quickly in Hollywood. I know that there is a certain aesthetic that Hollywood likes, and I'm not professing that that's not how I got the roles. But if I am being chosen for a film role for my aesthetics then I might as well have stayed in modeling. I have to do something where I feel like I am giving and being fulfilled and learning. Those kinds of roles, or those kinds of publicity photo shoots, aren't something that I am receiving anything back from. And I kind of already did that as a model, so I might be taking a step back in my mind.

CNN: Your first film, "Driven," came out just a short while ago. Looking back at that performance, do you feel your acting style has changed already?

Warren: Yes. If you are not changing as an actor in every movie, then I find that hard to fathom why you are doing it. I think that is what it is all about, learning and progressing. I've been lucky enough to work with talented actors and kind of suck up their knowledge of the craft, you know? Tim Burton and talent like Mark Wahlberg and Tim Roth, Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds. And Jared Harris, Jeff Goldblum and Lili Taylor.

CNN: Was "Driven" the first film in which you were cast?

Warren: No, The first role was in "Perfume," which was an all-improv film that comes out in December. Then the second one I shot was called "Tangled," which is like a love triangle, a drama. I shot that in Canada; that was fun because I am Canadian. And I just got back from Australia where I was shooting "Down and Under."

I love the work, I love being in front of the camera and working with actors and directors and creating something. For me, it's like learning everyday. And you can never be perfect, (but) you can always get better and better. I think that concept to me is really intriguing.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2000: Estella Warren
'Planet of the Apes' set visit

'Planet of the Apes' - official site

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

© 2001 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.

Previous star:
Michelle Rodriguez: Looking for 'something different'
Full Story

What video won the viewers' choice award at the MTV Video Music Awards Thursday night? Take a crack at our weekly entertainment quiz

4:30pm ET, 4/16