The Must List

Without a Trace Cast

television

NAMES/AGES Enrique Murciano, 30; Poppy Montgomery, 29 (''Although IMDb says that I'm 32. At the end of the day, who gives a s -- -? Honestly''); Anthony LaPaglia, 45; Marianne Jean-Baptiste, 37; and Eric Close, 37.
MUSTWORTHINESS ''CSI'' gets all the ink, but we'll trust our lives to this pack of smart, gutsy FBI agents, led by the multi-award-winning LaPaglia. The CBS missing-person identity thriller finished last season at No. 12.
PLUS, THEY'RE SO COOL LaPaglia: ''I listen to everything from Gershwin to 50 Cent.'' OR NOT Murciano: ''I was so addicted to ''The A-Team.'' ''
OKAY, REALLY NOT Close: ''Who's OutKast?''
CAREER HIGHS Montgomery notes her turn as Marilyn Monroe in CBS' ''Blonde.'' For LaPaglia, it was his Tony-winning role in ''A View From the Bridge.'' And Jean-Baptiste? An Oscar nod for ''Secrets & Lies.'' ''I've been chasing the dragon ever since.''
SO WHY DO TV? ''If you look at what's on television, it's some of the best stuff cinematically: ''The Sopranos,'' ''Six Feet Under,'' ''Deadwood''...,'' says LaPaglia. ''And I don't want to work for scale, not when they're spending $150 million on a film.''
AND IT BEATS THEIR OLD GIGS The rest of the cast suffered the usual grinds (bartending, retail, Wendy's ads), but LaPaglia paid heavy dues. ''My first job in show business. They were doing auditions for a cereal commercial, and they wanted to see how the actors ate on camera.... My job was to hold the spit bucket.'' ON THEIR MUST LISTS Close gives ''Whale Rider'''s Keisha Castle-Hughes a thumbs-up, while Montgomery listens to Damien Rice, and Jean-Baptiste is waiting for Anita Baker. ''She needs to make an album, baby.'' Murciano, meanwhile, shows some love for Caetano Veloso. ''I listen to that man and I wanna have sex, cook, and raise giraffes at the same time!''
NEXT Season 3 of ''Trace'' plus movie work: ''Winter Solstice'' for LaPaglia, and the indie thriller ''Between,'' shooting in Mexico, for Montgomery. Murciano is currently shooting ''Miss Congeniality 2.'' Jean-Baptiste, a film scorer, is returning to the recording studio.

Originally posted Jun 25, 2004 Published in issue #771-772 Jun 25, 2004 Order article reprints
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