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Sweet Amy toughens up for 'The Fighter'

That cannot be our sweet and wholesome little Amy Adams, playing Charlene the barmaid, donning a wicked-fierce Boston accent and cussing a blue streak in "The Fighter." Can it?

Such language! "Sonofa" this and "Mother" that. Our Amy would blush, blush, at having such coarseness cross those bee-sting lips!

"The only time I blushed having to let loose like this was when we did the scene where Christian [Bale] comes to visit Charlene on the porch, and I yell at him on the intercom to the apartment, and then out the window," Adams recalls with a laugh. "I'm yelling all these awful words, just screaming them.

"And the man walking the dog in the background of the scene is actually a priest. I thought, 'Oh great. Let's get this over with quick.' But David [O. Russell, the director of "The Fighter"] kept going, 'Call him something different!' I was like, 'I don't know any more swear words, David! My vocabulary is depleted.' "

There is no way on this Earth that Amy "Enchanted" Adams could be as demure as we've seen her on screen. Even in movies that had her playing an irritable, occasionally profane cook ("Julie & Julia") or a Jazz Age floozy ("Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"), Adams always tilted the characters more toward the cute and naughty than the nasty. But one of the great pleasures of the critically acclaimed "Fighter," says Box Office Magazine, is watching "mousy-voiced Adams draw her shoulders back and tell her future in-laws" off in a "luminous" performance (The Hollywood Reporter) that is "continually fun and full of surprises."

If "The Fighter," which stars Mark Wahlberg as boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and Christian Bale as his junkie half-brother and trainer, Dickie Eklund, is an Oscar contender, Adams has a lot to do with it. Russell ("Three Kings") cast her against type and let the sparks fly.

"David sent me 20 pages of script, and in those 20 pages, Charlene got into a fight," Adams says. "I said to him, 'You want me for Charlene? This tough girl?'

"Normally, I have to go into meetings to convince directors and casting people that yes, I do have a tough side. But David said, 'Oh, you're totally Charlene."

In "The Fighter," now playing in area theaters, Charlene is the college-educated redhead who takes up with Micky, looks out for his best interests and stands up to his big, trashy, domineering family, which treats him like a gravy train and wants him to keep training with his unreliable ex-boxer brother.

Her co-star in the film, Melissa Leo, became a pal during the shoot, and marvels over the transformation Adams underwent -- "She really wanted to step out of herself, her image, and she did it whole heartedly and joyously."

Adams, 36, says she channeled a bit of her childhood, a phase she went through "trying to impress my older brothers and their friends by, you know, cursing." When she finished the film, she warned her family about its content [it's her most sexual role], and had a baby. As she adjusted to new motherhood (she and partner Darren Le Gallo had daughter Aviana in May), she found a part more in her comfort zone -- a new Muppet movie, co-starring Jason Segel.

"I loved the Muppets as a kid, and having a daughter has taken me back to that age. I feel so open. All those walls you build as an adult sort of come tumbling down when you have a child. My daughter is letting me be a kid again on a movie set. You really believe they're real. I don't want to give away the movie, but Kermit gives a monologue at the end of the film that made me cry."

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