View Full Version : Rachel Bilson is jumping into starlet status

Brian Damage
02-10-2008, 11:34 AM
Rachel Bilson had the odd experience of meeting the actress whom she replaced in Doug Liman's "Jumper" shortly before either of them knew anything about the cast-switching.

"It was a couple of weeks before I got the call from Doug," Bilson says of her encounter with Teresa Palmer, which took place at the Toronto Film Festival. "I really liked her. It was really weird to meet the person and talk to her about it. She was having a really good time [on the film]. It was just sort of funny."

Not as funny as it would have been if they'd met after the casting change had been made - although in fairness, it wasn't Bilson's fault. Both Liman ("The Bourne Identity," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith") and the film's producers decided right before shooting started that they had to age up the actors playing the leads. They replaced Tom Sturridge (21) with Hayden Christensen (26). And then it was 26-year-old Bilson's turn to step in for 21-year-old Palmer. Together, they added young-adult heft to characters who were originally high schoolers.

The characters were based on Steven Gould's novel about a young man (Christensen) who can teleport himself instantly to any place on the planet, as long as he has seen it before, even on a postcard. He teleports himself in and out of bank vaults for cash and spends his days literally globetrotting. This chutes-and-ladders life is interrupted when he meets another jumper (Jamie Bell) and discovers he's being pursued by a society of fanatics (led by Samuel L. Jackson) determined to wipe out jumpers. Matters are further complicated when he hooks up with an old flame (Bilson). The film opens on Thursday.

According to Liman, Bilson's part required someone who could stand up to a guy with superpowers. He wasn't looking for what he calls "a WIJ" - a Woman in Jeopardy. Bilson has seldom if ever played that, especially on the television show that made her a star, "The O.C."

"Rachel is the only actress who met for the role once I decided I needed to find a new Millie," says Liman, who had directed her in the pilot for "The O.C." "In 'The O.C' I cast her for a very small role. It was a nothing thing in the pilot, and I literally watched her take that and make it into the most vital role of the show."

When told of Liman's comments, Bilson says, "That's pretty flattering. ["O.C." creator] Josh Schwartz always tells me that I made him laugh, that I was funny and it was something they never thought of for that character, Summer Roberts. She was sort of this stereotypical Southern California, blond, fake boobs type."