05/22/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
No one is more excited about actress Elizabeth Mitchell's current success than her folks down home in Dallas. After a preview of her new film Frequency
, "they stood at the theater door, literally accosting people on the way out," she says. "My dad, who's very shy, asked everyone, 'What did you think of the girl?' "
For Mitchell, 30, the buzz is spreading like Texas wildfire thanks to Frequency and the TV biopic The Linda McCartney Story
(airing May 21 on CBS), in which she plays Paul McCartney's late wife, a fervent animal-rights activist. "In honor of Linda, I became a vegetarian," says Mitchell. "My entire youth I ate steak. But now I may not go back to eating meat."
That strong will was evident on the Frequency set, according to costar Dennis Quaid, who says Mitchell did not miss a beat after breaking her nose during the shoot. "She was positive about the whole thing," he says. "She's fantastic." The daughter of Dallas attorneys, Mitchell launched her TV career on the ABC soap Loving in 1994. "I was a perfectionist; I'd tell the writers, 'I can't say this!'...So I got fired." She bounced back in 1998 with HBO's Gia, playing Angelina Jolie
's bisexual lover. Single in real life, Mitchell, who now lives in L.A., hopes for a more traditional love life. "I want kids everywhere," she says. "I want to eat Häagen-Dazs and get broad hips. If you try to stay young forever, you don't really live."