Los Angeles — Oh, the struggles of a starlet. “It’s challenging to find the right thing,” says Nora Zehetner, 25. “I hear a lot of ‘Oh, sorry, Scarlett is doing that’ or ‘Natalie Portman got that part.’ It’s not usually up to me.” That doesn’t mean she isn’t working hard. Fans who are used to watching the doe-eyed waif play the good girl on The WB drama “Everwood” will finally get to see her bad-girl side as she takes on the role of Laura, the femme fatale, in the thriller “Brick,” out Friday and also starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emilie de Ravin. Zehetner recently dished to WWD on the perils and the perks of being on the verge.

WWD: Where are you from?

Nora Zehetner: Dallas. I don’t have an accent anymore.

WWD: What’s up next?

N.Z.: I play the young Helena Bonham Carter [character] in “Conversations With Other Women.” It’s about a couple, played by she and Aaron Eckhart, who remeet at a wedding. You end up learning their history in the course of one night. After that, I’m in the MTV Films horror movie “Beneath.”

WWD: Film or TV?

N.Z.: Television can be amazing, but I love to create new characters and shed that skin and move on to something else.

WWD: How did you break into Hollywood?

N.Z.: I had planned on going to college here, but the plan was to see if I could try the acting thing first. After one month in Los Angeles, I did a commercial for AT&T, then got cast in my first film, “Tart.”

WWD: So you’ve had it easy?

N.Z.: You think that everything is going to be easy and then you don’t work for six months.

WWD: What do you do between jobs?

N.Z.: Right now I’m taking an art history class at Otis and a French class at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. I’m trying to be somewhat productive with my time.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD: Do you have anyone to keep you company?

N.Z.: I have a Chihuahua named Sophie and a 55-pound mutt named Duke. They are kind of an odd pair.

WWD: What about fashion?

N.Z.: I really love everything, but I’m bordering on classic and not things you are going to look back at and go, “Oh that is soooo 2006!” If I buy something expensive, it has to be so timeless that I know I can get a lot of use out of it.

WWD: What would you buy if you had Reese Witherspoon’s salary?

N.Z.: I loved the spring collection that Francisco Costa did for Calvin Klein — all those pretty, flirty dresses that were just classic and young and fun. And I’d buy Phoebe Philo and a little Burberry swing coat.

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