Our Chat With Elisha Cuthbert

ABC’s Happy Endings has given our obsession with Elisha Cuthbert a whole new beginning.

Canada has gifted us many treasures (John Candy, maple syrup, hockey fights), but none have inspired such lusty American fervor as the pouty-lipped bombshell Elisha Cuthbert. We really got to know Elisha in her breakout role as 24’s catastrophe-prone Kim Bauer, where she routinely put her dad in near-death situations. (Hey, who hasn’t?) These days on ABC’s Happy Endings, she’s once again irresistible as Alex, an enthusiastic ditz whose passions include Woody Allen and, uh, oversize sausages. So take a seat poolside and enjoy Elisha’s fourth Maxim cover shoot. Bow down before the most beautiful woman on television!

You’ve been named Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman on Television. Congratulations! Well-deserved.

That’s very flattering, and I sincerely thank you, but I think you’re all crazy! To think that one person could be the most beautiful when there’s Kaley Cuoco, Sofía Vergara, Zooey Deschanel? They’re all stunning. I’m not gonna fight anyone about it, though. I’ll accept it with grace. But being on a show with two other beautiful women, this is gonna make going to work very uncomfortable. I don’t know, this might be a curse. 

Happy Endings is one of the funniest ensemble comedies on TV. We’ve noticed that the show never misses an oppor­tunity to take a crack at John Mayer, which we appre­ciate.

We’ll take a crack at any­body. No one is safe! I think it’s genius on the part of the writers, because our generation is so saturated with pop culture that it’s impossible not to incorpo­-rate it into our dialogue. Bradley Cooper’s been on the chop­ping block a few times. Even Ryan Gosling, for wearing man-scarves.

Aren’t you supposed to be in love with those guys, like every other woman in America?

It’s funny you mention that, because in interviews everyone is always asked who their celebrity crush is, and I haven’t had one since Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block, when I was 12. Now I just say Oprah. I love that woman. She’ll go to someone’s house and bring a huge bucket of oranges she picked from her Santa Barbara home. Oprah, when did you have time to pick two dozen oranges from your garden?

Did you tune in for her interview with the Kar­dashians? She went pretty easy on them.

Well, the Kardashians are pretty tough to reckon with right now. They’re kind of taking over the world. I wouldn’t start any beef with them, either…I love all the Kardashians!

You got your break as Kim Bauer on 24, an intensely dramatic show. How did the Happy Endings folks know you could do comedy?

Because of my ridiculous antics off-set. I don’t think they hired me because I was funny, I’m gonna be honest. But during the first season, David Caspe, the creator, saw me goofing around doing a dance with an invisible hula hoop, and he was laughing. When we came in to do season two, he said, “You wanna add your dance into this scene?” He passed me the baton, and it kind of snowballed from there. And now I’m at a place where I’m willing to try anything.

As in the hilarious scene from last year’s Christmas episode where you participate in a dance-off with a battery-operated “Hip-Hop Santa”?

I got a lot of love for that scene. It blows my mind that people were digging my moves. Maybe they didn’t expect me to have any sort of rhythm? I can move, guys!

Happy Endings isn’t filmed before a live audience. How do you get comedic feedback?

Sometimes when I’m on a plane, I’ll watch someone who’s watching the show. I’m just secretly watching to see if they’re gonna laugh. Then they turn around, and I give a creepy wave.

Your costar Damon Wayans Jr. is basically American comedy royalty. Did you grow up watching his family like the rest of us?

Major Payne was always in my VHS. That movie was so funny. I’ll say the line, “Kill­in’ is my business, laaadiiiees!” seven million times in a row. And I actu­ally got the chance to talk to Damon Sr. and tell him what a huge film that was for me. I know it’s not Schindler’s List, but it’s awesome.

You recently became engaged to hockey player and fellow Canadian Dion Phaneuf. But was there ever a time in your single days when you could relate to the character you played in Old School—the girl who’s totally cool with one-night stands?

No, not really. That’s one of those characters that every guy wishes was the case. That’s what movies are all about, the fictitious character you can only dream about.

Speaking of fantasy characters, your turn as a porn star in The Girl Next Door is pretty high up there on that list.

To be honest, I think one reason guys liked that character so much is because I didn’t go fully nude. My character really could be the girl of every guy’s dreams, instead of having them see her naked and going, “Oh, that’s not my thing.” Remem­berWeird Science? Kelly LeBrock never got naked. She didn’t show you every­thing. I think that’s why it resonated with more men than it probably should have.

One of the scenes in The Girl Next Door was shot at an actual porn convention. What do you remember about that?

I remember I had a lot of real porn stars tell me I was like their Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman. Nice sentiment but, you know, a little awkward.

So once and for all: Is the 24 movie ever going to happen?

I’ll be 60 years old by the time we do that thing! I know it exists. It’s out there. But when are we going to do it? You’re asking the wrong person. Kiefer is Jack Bauer, and Jack Bauer knows everything. You’ll have to ask that guy.