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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Demi Moore: Comeback or cameo?
By Stephen Dowling
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Moore, Willis, Kutcher and daughter
Last week's photocall showed Moore was back
Demi Moore, once the highest-paid woman in Hollywood, is making a surprise return to cinema screens in Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle.

The sequel is one of the most talked about movies of the summer.

Moore, once the most highly-paid actress in Hollywood, returns to screens after a three-year break as the scheming "dark angel" Madison Lee.

Movie critics have hailed her bit-part as one of the most enjoyable things in the film.

A bit-part in a summer blockbuster would once have seemed beneath Moore, who rose from a minor role in medical soap General Hospital to the very top of Hollywood.

After almost being sacked for drug-taking on her first big break - the 1985 teen movie St Elmo's Fire - she resolutely built a career as one of Tinseltown's most bankable actresses

$12m paypacket

Her hits included roles in such huge films as Ghost, A Few Good Men and Indecent Proposal, and by 1996 she was commanding a paypacket of $12m - the first actress to get such an amount.

Demi Moore in Striptease
Demi Moore's career came unstuck with Striptease

At the same time she was one of Hollywood's power couples with husband Bruce Willis, raising three daughters - Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.

But Moore's seemingly unstoppable star power was on the wane. Striptease (1996) and GI Jane (1997) were critically panned and commercial disasters.

As her career faltered, her marriage also hit problems. She and Willis divorced and Moore moved to a ranch in Idaho with her three daughters.

Sensational return

Apart from her producing career - she is partly responsible for Mike Myers' Austin Powers' franchise - she was effectively saying goodbye to Hollywood.

Her return to the screen in Charlie's Angels 2 was a surprise sensation, not least for the star's gym-toned physique.

Last week, she caused at the film's New York première by arriving with daughters, her ex-husband and a friend rumoured to be her boyfriend, 25-year-old TV star Ashton Kutcher.

It is the kind of return of which career-saving comebacks are made.

But a return to the Hollywood treadmill could be the last thing on Moore's mind.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
Willis and Moore were Hollywood's power couple before Tom and Nicole

"I'm not sure she wants to be a big comeback. It's a fun role to do and I think part of the reason she did it was that her daughters are such big fans of the first film, " says Olly Richards of film magazine Empire.

"I don't think she's actively tried to get into Hollywood. She has chosen a film where she is not the primary focus. And everyone likes it when a big actor has a part like that in a film."

But the Charlie's Angels role is a perfect springboard for the future, if Moore wanted to get back to Hollywood, says Kate Bussmann, arts and entertainment editor of Red magazine.

"It's always good to play a bad guy if you want to be taken seriously in the future. Most actors of that stature think they can only be liked by audiences if they play likeable characters."

This is a similar approach to her ex-husband Willis, whose career rehabilitation began with his relatively small part in 1995's Pulp Fiction.

Seeing the career renaissance he has had, Moore's move may prove to be a shrewd one.

Angels land for UK première
01 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Angels make lightweight return
27 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Willis and Moore divorce
26 Oct 00  |  Entertainment

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