>In her 18-year career Katherine Heigl has done a great many things.
She played farce with Gerard Depardieu in “My Father the Hero” (1994), explored extraterrestrial soap opera in “Roswell” (1999-2002) and mastered medical matters in “Grey’s Anatomy.” That show’s success led to her being cast in big-screen romantic comedies such as “Knocked Up” (2007), “27 Dresses” (2008) and “The Ugly Truth” (2009).
Never, however, had she been called upon to tackle the kind of action scenes demanded by her new film, the comedy “Killers.”
“I look like a moron as an action person,” Heigl said with a laugh during an interview at a Los Angeles hotel. “I was running and thinking, ‘You don’t do these kind of things! You save lives on a TV show. You give birth in a movie. You don’t jump!'”
So she’s not going to be the next Sigourney Weaver or Linda Hamilton?
“Oh, believe me, I’m not an action star, which fits perfectly into this role,” Heigl said, looking sexy in a silky, short, black-and-white dress that reveals about a mile of leg. “You can feel my pain in this movie when I’m shooting guns. But I have no choice. I’m just a girl who marries a guy who has this unfortunate past.”
“Killers” casts the actress as a single woman who, while vacationing with her parents in the South of France, meets a quiet, handsome and romantic American (Ashton Kutcher). The two fall in love and soon marry, embarking on a life of ease. Her new husband, after all, is already retired from his job.
“The only problem is, he never really told me exactly what he did for a living,” Heigl said.
It turns out that he’s a retired superspy, a fact which comes up when they find themselves targeted by some baddies from his past.
“Suddenly we go from just a quiet suburban couple to two people on the lam with killers after them,” she said. “I guess the message is that you can learn a lot about your mate when you’re trying to survive with him.”
The film is much different from Heigl’s three recent romantic comedies, not to mention from the hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which she recently left. That’s no accident, nor is it a coincidence that her next film, a drama called “Life as We Know It,” is different from all of the above.
“I definitely wanted to go out and explore other characters,” Heigl said. “It’s nice to remove yourself and play a different movie character each time. You play yourself a bit on a series that’s long-running. It’s still me that shows up in a film role, but it’s also always different.
“I know some of my film roles will be distant cousins of Izzie on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” she added. “I can always color my hair to change it up for people. That’s how I’ll fool everyone!”
At 31, Heigl says, she’s eager to move beyond the light material that has so far been her bread and butter on the big screen.
“As much as I love the younger audience and a movie like ’27 Dresses,'” she said, “I want to tell real stories to people my age. Life is full of issues and problems. Those are the movies I love the most, the ones that give you a view of the world and teach you how other people struggle through life.
“I like when a movie doesn’t feel too cute, because life isn’t always so cute.”
This deeper perspective may be the result of parenthood: Last year Heigl and her husband, musician Josh Kelley, adopted a little girl from Korea. They named the girl, now 18 months old, Nancy Leigh Kelley. These days Heigl is frequently snapped by the paparazzi wheeling Naleigh, as she has been nicknamed, around Los Angeles.