Picks and Pans Review: Jurnee Smollett ... Achieves Greatness

UPDATED 01/21/2008 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/21/2008 at 01:00 AM EST

The Eve's Bayou actress, now 21, makes some compelling arguments (with a little help from director Denzel Washington) in The Great Debaters.

WHAT WAS FILMING LIKE? We did some scenes in Shreveport, La., and everybody fell victim to the chiggers—bugs that bite and crawl under your skin—except for Denzel. He'd joke that the bugs couldn't catch him because he was too quick.

OUCH! HOW DID YOU BEAT THE BUGS? I put nail polish on my skin to suffocate them out. Sometimes I'd put on pink, glittery polish. I have to be creative.

YOU HAVE FIVE SIBLINGS. MUST HAVE BEEN A CRAZY CHILDHOOD. We did everything together, even family workouts with my mom to Jane Fonda—not the VHS but the vinyl album!

ONE OF YOUR FIRST GIGS, AT AGE 3, WAS A COMMERCIAL WITH JOE MONTANA. WERE YOU NERVOUS? I was grabbing his collar and flirting with him. I had a little crush.

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