Jessica Biel's cutting wit does not come "Easy"

Fri May 22, 2009 3:29pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Jessica Biel wishes that in real life she could wield the mean wit that comes so easily to her character in "Easy Virtue" but says she is too nice to cut down her rivals.

Biel, 27, said she loved playing the brazen American race car driver who marries into a snobbish British family in the movie, which is based on the 192Os play by Britain's Noel Coward.

"I don't get many of these opportunities," Biel told reporters.

"What was very different for me to really grasp was just her incredible comebacks. I wish I was like that. I'm just a little bit too nice. It's really boring."

Biel, who sprang to fame as a rebellious teen in 1996 on the U.S. family television show "7th Heaven," said she studied the screen work of the late Katharine Hepburn and her contemporaries to play the role of Larita Whittaker.

"Just how they deliver their sarcastic, amazing put-downs with a smile," said Biel, whose past films include 2006 mystery "The Illusionist" and 2007 comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry."

"Easy Virtue" opens in limited release in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. The movie, directed by Australian Stephen Elliott, is not a typical adaptation of a play by Coward, whose work chronicled British high society in the mid-20th century.