‘Astro Boy’ Rings Another Bell for Fanboy Fave Kristen

Kristen Bell  Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell has gone from “Veronica Mars” to “Heroes” to “Fanboys” to the Oct. 23 release animated flick “Astro Boy” – and thereby has a permanent place in the hearts of nerdy fans everywhere. 

 Though she never intended to go down the path that’s won her such appellations  as Chic Geek and Fanboy Fabulous, the talented actress tells us it’s a good place to be.  “I just look for good projects with good writing, and I think at this point it’s a fluke that a lot of them have been genre movies.  I think that’s some of the best material out there,” says Bell.  “The sort of geeky community or the Comic-Con community, they’re some of the smartest fans out there and they pay attention so you have to feed them good material.  I’m just very flattered that they have accepted me.” 

In “Astro Boy,” based on the popular Japanese franchise, Bell provides the voice of Cora.  “After I did a little bit of research, I realized how iconic Astro Boy is overseas.  He’s like the Mickey Mouse of Japan.  The fact that it does have such a history and he’s been around for so long, there’s a reason why his story has stayed sort of timeless and relatable.  It has so many different aspects of fairytales that we’re all familiar with, but at the same time it’s a really entertaining adventure story,” she explains of the flick that also features the voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy and Nathan Lane.  “The thing with this movie is, you have to make all of these effort noises,” adds Bell.  “It’s funny to be flailing around the booth and doing these karate chop noises for the fight scenes.” 

 Right now, Bell can be seen showing off her comedic chops as she’s currently starring in the Vince Vaughn flick “Couples Retreat.”  Of that one, she says, “It was like being trapped in paradise with the funniest people in the world.  We somehow shot a movie on vacation and then when we got home they paid us for it.  It was pretty surreal.”   

ONCE GROOVY, ALWAYS GROOVY:  One-time Hollywood dream girl Peggy Lipton returns to the tube Oct. 23, playing the wife of Keith Carradine and ex-love of Dennis Hopper in a story arc on Starz’ “Crash.”  She tells us, “It’s nothing I would have expected in a million years, and it makes me want to work more.”

Lipton, who took a self-imposed work hiatus to raise her daughters by former husband Quincy Jones (“Parks and Recreation” actress Rashida Jones and fashion stylist Kidada Jones), says “I wasn’t interested for a long time, but my confidence grew over the last year.  I don’t even know why.  I do know there are plenty of us who still want to work, and there seems now to be a calling for it on cable.”   Referring to the rise of choice dramatic roles for top actresses from Glenn Close to Sigourney Weaver and Janet McTeer in the medium, she adds, “You watch the Emmys and see these fabulous actresses over 50.  There looks to be room for this on TV.

“We have so many baby boomers coming into our own. I think that’s what’s spurred me on,” adds the “Mod Squad” and “Twin Peaks” beauty, whose dramatic and glamorous life has run the gamut from famous romances (Elvis, Paul McCartney) to her winning battle against colon cancer.

Working with Hopper and Carradine has been a dream, according to her.  And she adjusted fast to the big changes on set.  “Everything is so different, streamlined.  Instead of being by the camera, the director is over in the video village that seems like a half a mile away.  But you just kind of get with it, you know.”

A FINE BROMANCE:  Dean Cain told us last summer that he had so much fun acting alongside James Tupper on their “The Gambler, the Girl and the Gunslinger” Hallmark Channel Western, he wanted to do a sequel.  “I’ll tell you what — I’ll show up for it.  If James wants to, I’m in,” said Dean, who played a gambler at odds with Tupper’s sharpshooter character.  Now, Tupper tells us he’s game, too.  “Oh, hell yeah!  It’s a bromance, it’s a bromance for sure,” he declares.  “Dean is a great guy.  He really is a bit like Superman, you know.  You meet him and he says ‘Hello’ and he owns it.  It’s him.”  But reuniting with Dean will have to wait.  Tupper’s plate is currently full with his NBC “Mercy” series and his and Anne Heche’s home life and baby. 

 FREE FLOW:  Derek Luke tells us that there has been a lot of improvisational acting going on in his new NBC “Trauma” action/medical series.  In fact, he recalls a guest actor who “showed up on the set and was basically the only one who knew the lines, who said the written word.  When he heard all the actors on the show improv’ing, he must have felt ready to faint,” says the actor who rose to fame as “Antwone Fisher,” smiling.  “You have to just flow with them.  It’s a very creative and instinctual set, pretty much like real life.  It’s one of the things I love about ‘Trauma.’” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster