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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Amy Adams is best known for her squeaky-clean persona in roles like the fairytale princess in "Enchanted," her Oscar-nominated turn as a naive nun in "Doubt" and a young, pregnant woman in "Junebug."
Her latest film, "Sunshine Cleaning," debuted in limited release last week and expands nationwide on Friday, and again has Adams playing an optimist. But this time, slacker mom Rose faces a gritty task, trying to better herself by starting up a morbid crime scene cleanup business.
Currently one of the hottest stars in Hollywood, Adams was born in Italy, the fourth of seven kids in a large military family that wound up settling in Castle Rock, Colorado.
She got her start in dinner theater, honing song and dance skills that would later help her score the leading role in "Enchanted," her first big commercial break.
Adams, engaged to marry actor Darren Le Gallo, is due to appear in "Julie & Julia," teaming again with Meryl Streep, her co-star in "Doubt" and as aviator Amelia Earhart in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" with Ben Stiller.
She spoke to Reuters about her girl-next-door image, Hollywood amid a recession, wedding plans and the prospect of motherhood.
Q: It seems like you are linked, to some degree, with that wholesome girl-next-door image you've portrayed on screen so often. Are you offered many opportunities to break out of that optimistic, cheerful "All-American" mold?
A: Occasionally, but not as often as I'd like. I think people can see me one way and it can be hard to break out of that. I'm not interested in doing something intentionally to prove something, but I'm extremely open to exploring new territory. It's kind of the point of it.
I don't see myself as a type. I see my characters as individuals and I choose roles I'm attracted to. My character in "Sunshine Cleaning" is trying to make the best of what she has. Those are the kind of people I'm attracted to in life. My friends are people who try consistently to better themselves.
Q: How has the global recession affected you, and does working among celebrities in Hollywood sometimes make you feel like you're living in an alternate universe?
A: It's easy to live in a vacuum if you choose to. But I think people (in Hollywood) feel it. I love acting, but there might be something more that I can do to be of service.
Entertainment is extremely valuable and I'm lucky that I love what I do, but I don't think I'm the center of the universe. It's affecting me by keeping things in perspective. It's a tough time.
Q: You are engaged to marry actor Darren Le Gallo, whom you met in 2001 in acting class. How are the wedding plans progressing? Do you have "dream" wedding in mind?
A: Hopefully, I can move forward on that in the next couple of months. I think if I had some kind of dream, it would be easier. That's been part of the problem.
Q: Coming from such a large family, do you envision having a huge brood of your own one day? Or is motherhood not even on your radar screen with your career so strong right now?
A: I'm not really thinking about it. I probably won't have a big family. I can barely manage my own life! I don't know how people do it. I give mothers, professional mothers, a lot of credit. But I do want to have a family.
I didn't like having seven siblings when I was growing up. I love it now. But it was just a lot. It was hard to find alone time. Now I see my siblings as often as I can.
Q: Did your experiences with your own sisters help you prepare for your role as a sister to Emily Blunt's character in "Sunshine Cleaning?"
A: It's a complicated relationship that happens between sisters. You're friends and more than friends. In the film, my character needs to take care of her sister and couldn't let go of that mother thing. I was in the middle of the family and I'm not very mothering.
Editing by Doina Chiacu