Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
America hails 'It' Brits
Catherine Zeta Jones: Superstar status after films like Zorro
Ask an American what they love about Britain and the words "quaint" and "cute" are most traditionally applied.
Not very sexy by anyone's standards, but now it looks like British stars are doing their bit to turn the tide.
Leading US magazine Entertainment Weekly has credited a whole host of British talent as having that elusive, indefinable but infinitely desirable '90s quality "It".
Brits among the elite include actors Rupert Everett and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as chart music masters Robbie Williams and Fatboy Slim.
And when it comes to putting a charmed word to paper, Alex Garland, author of The Beach and J K Rowling, are top of the pile.
Though not actually putting its neck out so far as to explain exactly what "It" is, Entertainment Weekly does say:
"It can mean innovative, irreverent, or knuckle-bitingly gorgeous. Even when we can't define it, we know when we see it."
Unfortunately, there is no such radiance coming from John Travolta and Sharon Stone. They, says the magazine, lost "It" long ago.
Alongside Entrapment siren Catherine Zeta Jones and My Best Friend's Wedding star Rupert Everett comes Heather Graham, who plays Felicity Shagwell in Mike Myers's new Austin Powers film.
Christian Bale, the former child star of Empire of the Sun, is singled out as "It Underdog".
Gina McKee, who plays Hugh Grant's wheel-chair-bound friend in Notting Hill is heralded as "It Burgeoning Brit".
While rising talent 26-year-old Jude Law, star of Gattaca, is tipped as the new Cary Grant because "he exudes Brit polish and panache".
And Fatboy Slim is said to have "put the heart into the cold soul of electronica".
Other Britons on the list include writer and director Jez Butterworth along with singer Beth Orton.
And 25-year-old actor Ioan Gruffudd is praised for his onscreen "smouldering" in Great Expectations and Hornblower.
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