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ZETA-JONES, CATHERINE: TRAFFIC

PUSHING THROUGH TRAFFIC
Michael Douglas is happy to mind baby Dylan while his bride, Catherine Zeta-Jones, pushes through Traffic to films beyond, reports Jenny Cooney Carrillo.

For someone as determined as Catherine Zeta-Jones, not even pregnancy could stand in her way when Traffic director Steven Soderbergh offered her the role of a socialite mother-to-be who is shocked when her husband (Steven Bauer) is arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency and named as a leader of an infamous drug cartel.

"I really wanted to do the movie so I decided to trust Steven with my secret and ask him when he was thinking of shooting," she says. "I told him Iíd be five or six months pregnant at that point and suggested the character could be pregnant if he thought it would work. He called me back three hours later and told me he thought the idea was great," she adds proudly. "People have told me they canít remember the last time a pregnant woman actually played a pregnant woman in a movie and neither can I!"

"an amazing amount of success"

Playing Mr Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas chips in: "Catherine is very young in her career and has had an amazing amount of success in a short time but itís time for her to do some more films and I fully support that," he says looking proudly at his wife, mother of their baby son, Dylan (DoB August 2000). "Iím quite happy to stay home with Dylan and let her work for a while!"

Although she could have taken time off while she was carrying the next generation of the Douglas dynasty, Catherine confessed she was anxious to work. "Michael knows what Iím like and he did not see me sitting around for nine months twiddling my thumbs," she says cheerfully. "I think it was a big relief for him that something came along for me because he also knew that I desperately didnít want to miss out on this role. I had to pull out of a film I was going to do with Oliver Stone because there was no way they could shoot around the pregnancy so when this came along, he thought it was great."

(Ed: And while they both have a role in Traffic, they donít share scenes Ė so Douglas was no doubt able to mind Dylan . . .change the nappies, that sort of thing. Sorry, we donít have any photos.)

"a soul mate and a friend"

With her life bulging with satisfaction, it is no wonder Catherine looks deliriously content, sipping a cup of tea at a Beverly Hills hotel, looking stunning in a black Christian Lacroix lacy dress that shows off the incredible figure sheís hung on to, despite giving birth. "It was a very special year (2000), I must say," she nods in agreement, a dreamy look in her eyes as the list of blessings is recounted. "On a career level itís taken me quite long to get here but still I canít deny that Iíve had some great breaks when I know there are a lot of talented people who work just as hard as me out there."

"But the biggest thing that I keep pinching myself about," she adds, "is that for many years when I was working on my career and didnít have much of a personal life or things werenít working out the way you dream about, I became apathetic to that side of my life and said to myself, Ďwell, my career is going well so I havenít had a bad hand dealt to me. Maybe that other part of my life is never going to happení. So I pinch myself that I met Michael . . . I met a soul mate and a friend and a person who I want to share my life with, and now I have my beautiful baby boy who just blows my mind every time I look at him, I feel incredibly lucky."

"microscopic attention"

The Welsh raven-haired beauty is now enjoying her second wave of stardom. Her first 15 seconds of fame came in 1991 in the United Kingdom, when her co-starring role as the eldest daughter in a boisterous farm family in the British TV series The Darling Buds of May turned her into a national obsession for the three years it attracted 23 million viewers each week. She was hounded by the British press and even ran her car into a pole one night in a bid to lose them, surviving unscathed but with a shiver today as she thinks about Princess Diana.

"When I heard what happened to Princess Diana, I broke down because I completely understood," Catherine recalls with a shudder. "The first time I ever met her was after months of really microscopic attention on me and she said, Ďhow are you dealing with the attention?í and I said, Ďwell, not very wellí and she went, Ďoh it never gets betterí. Ironically enough it never did for her but itís different for me."

"independent"

Her subsequent plans to become a bigger fish in a bigger pond by moving to Hollywood hit a snag at first with flops like; Splitting Heirs, The Phantom and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. Left to languish on television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of The Return of the Native and the network mini-series Titanic, Catherine finally got a break with the romantic lead in The Mask of Zorro, where the stars aligned to make her one.

Five months after Dylanís birth, she was back at work in the Billy Crystal-penned comedy Americaís Sweetheart, opposite Crystal, John Cusack and Julia Roberts. "I still have my finances and my career that happened before I met Michael," she says a tad defensively, "and Iíve never really been dependent on somebody as my character is in Traffic. Iíve been independent since an early age, leaving home at fifteen to go to the theatre and really fending for myself - maybe growing up a little too quickly. But acting is something Iím passionate about and still have an ambition to do."

As if to prove that one woman can have it all, the smitten star also confesses her desire to have another child in the near future. "My husband is joking that heís the only one hoping the actorís strike happens because then maybe we can squeeze in a child before I have to work again!"

Published March 8, 2001

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