This weekend, she'll take a slight turn from the dramatic as Trish, a suburban single mom in the new comedy, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."
"I think it's very smart, big, broad body, naughty, nasty, good comedy," Keener tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "It's not for young people, like children, at all."
In the film, Steve Carell ("Anchorman" and "Bruce Almighty") stars as Andy, the title character in the comedy, who stands a chance of breaking his losing streak when he begins romancing Keener's character.
"I don't see him as a total nerd," Keener says about Andy. "I think he's a regular guy who got freaked out about sex early on, because people do. And I think he's just kind of a normal guy who collects action figures."
And though Smith points out, it is not exactly a sophisticated adult story, she says laughing, "Very sophisticated minds would make use of this movie. I actually think the movie is really good. And I'm offended by people who are offended by it."
About Catherine Keener:
- Born in Miami, Fla., on March 26, 1960
- After graduating from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., in 1983, she moved to Los Angeles and found work as a casting agent, forming a close friendship with fellow casting director Gail Eisenstadt.
- In 1986, Eisenstadt cast her as a cocktail waitress in "About Last Night ...," which earned her a Screen Actors Guild card. That same year she made her TV debut in a failed pilot, "The Alan King Show" (CBS).
- In 1989, she appeared in "Survival Quest," featuring future husband Dermot Mulroney, and "Curse of the Corn People" (CBS), which involved a group of Kansans making a low-budget horror film.
- In 1990, she was in Dennis Hopper's "Backtrack."
- In 1991, she took another small role in Blake Edwards' "Switch." That same year, her big break came in cinematographer Tom DiCillo's writing-directing debut "Johnny Suede."
- In 1994, she reteamed with DiCillo for the 17-minute comedy short, "Scene Six, Take One" (filmed in 16mm).
- In 1995, she had her first lead in DiCillo's feature, "Living in Oblivion," an insider's look at low-budget movies; Mulroney was associate producer and played the cameraman Wolf. She also was the girlfriend of a boxer-turned-hit man (Alan Gelfant) in "The Destiny of Marty Fine."
- 1996 was a busy year. First, Keener had small role in Stacy Cochran's "Boys." Next, she had a stronger part as Anne Heche's best friend in Nicole Holofcener's gal-pal film "Walking and Talking." She then portrayed Demi Moore's judgmental sister-in-law in the Nancy Savoca scripted and directed segment "1952" of HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk." And she reteamed with DiCillo for the small-town comedy "Box of Moonlight," playing a flaky local who romances John Turturro.
- In 1997, she continued to work with DiCillo for "The Real Blonde." The following year, Keener upped her mainstream profile with a cameo as George Clooney's former mistress in "Out of Sight." And she appeared in the ensemble of Neil LaBute's "Your Friends & Neighbors."
- In 1999, she portrayed Nicolas Cage's faithful wife in "8mm." And she enjoyed a bit of role reversal in Spike Jonze's "Being John Malkovich." She earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as the sexy Maxine who finds herself in a love triangle involving a puppeteer (John Cusack) and his wife (Cameron Diaz). She then was cast as Nick Nolte's abandoned girlfriend in "Simpatico," Matthew Warchus' screen adaptation of Sam Shepard's play. She co-starred opposite Jeff Bridges and Albert Finney.
- In 2002, Keener appeared with Julia Roberts in the Steven Soderbergh's feature "Full Frontal," a movie about movies for people who love movies. And she worked with Al Pacino in "Simone."
- In 2003, Keener received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Nicole Holofcener's "Lovely & Amazing." The film also stars Brenda Blethyn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Mortimer and husband Mulroney.
- In 2004, she was cast opposite Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in the drama "The Interpreter" directed by Sydney Pollack. She also starred opposite Daniel Day Lewis in Rebecca Miller's "The Ballad of Jack and Rose."
- She will next be seen with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the drama "Capote," and "Friends With Money" with Jennifer Aniston.