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Cicely Tyson Looks Forward

Oct 17, 2006

"The day I think I have arrived, I am finished." So says Cicely Tyson, who'll be seen receiving Distinguished Career Achievement honors on this Wednesday's (10/18) Black Movie Awards on TNT. She's thrilled to be following last year's honoree, Sidney Poitier. Just don't get the idea the esteemed actress is slowing down.

In fact, Tyson recently finished the 2007 release Adam Sandler drama, "Reign Over Me," in which he plays a man trying to put his life back together after losing his family in the 9/11 attacks -- and finds his old college roommate (Don Cheadle) instrumental in helping him move on.

"I was so pleased to be able to work with Don Cheadle again," says Tyson, who appeared with the actor in the 1999 "A Lesson Before Dying." "He's an extraordinary human being. That's what makes him an extraordinary actor. There is no question the two go together. You have to call on certain sinews in your being in order to act as he does."

However, she admits she doesn't know how "Reign Over Me" will turn out. "I honestly never know, and then I never see the films either. For me, the gratification comes in actually preparing, researching and performing," admits Tyson, whose long and impressive list of credits includes her double Emmy-winning "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" and Oscar-nominated "Sounder" performances, co-founding the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and decades of community and charitable activities.

"I had the most incredible thing happen to me the other day," she remarks. "I tend to walk the streets freely. I'm a wanderer. Last week, I was out walking and the mailman stopped me and he was profuse in his praise, he went on and on, and then he said, 'Every day above ground is a good day, and if you see someone without a smile, give them yours.' I've been passing that along. I try to think about things like that, rather than what I've done."

LABOR OF LOVE:

Hector Elizondo tells us he's reached a point in his career where he's cut back on accepting acting assignments, considering the long days spent on set. However, director Mike Newell has managed to get the veteran actor on board for his latest film, the adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "Love in the Time of Cholera," which will star Spanish actor Javier Bardem.

"Once in a while you get an opportunity that makes it worthwhile. This is not your ordinary endeavor. For this, I'm coming out of semi-retirement," says Elizondo, who has joined the cast in Colombia. "The movie is based on a classic book based in the 19th century. It's about obsessive love in deeply disturbing psychological ways."

Elizondo admits it will be a grueling shoot, but he says being in Colombia has made him appreciate what he has at home. "It breaks your heart to be in Third World countries. I've been to a few of them. Every time I'm there I'm reminded of the inequities of the world. People don't realize how well we have it here," he points out. Though many believe that Elizondo himself is from South America, he reminds us he's not. "I'm from New York City -- born and raised."

JUST GETTING STARTED:

"Boston Legal" fans have been watching Meredith Eaton slice and dice William Shatner's character, Denny Crane, down to her size the past few weeks, but the 4-foot-tall actress says, baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet. "My relationship with Danny gets really interesting because what happens between the two of us is so fascinating and the relationship is just so dynamic," says Eaton, who plays attorney Bethany Horowitz on the show. "It's definitely worth watching."

The former "Family Law" regular says she's already shot seven episodes with no sign of imminent departure for her character, which was written specifically for her by "Boston Legal" creator David Kelley. "I absolutely hope to remain on the show," she says. "It's just so fantastically written. I've been offered parts that were either godawful or reeked of discrimination or they're these mythical creatures and who knows what But David Kelly is a genius. When I got the script I was so excited and anxious to get on to that set because he wrote Bethany as this assertive woman who doesn't take s#&* from anybody and is empowered despite the fact she's 4 feet tall."

HE'S FOUND IT:

Colin Ferguson is excited about the renewal of the popular Sci-Fi series "Eureka," in which he plays the sheriff in a town filled with mad, genius scientists. "I think Sci-Fi wants more episodes than the exec producers do. They want to do a good job, not plow through 22 episodes and watch the train go off the rail." For his part, Ferguson says, "I just love that I get to play the everyman in the show. I can play dramatic moments, then go into something comic."

(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)

 

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