"Aowww, aowww," Malin Akerman bellows, sounding like a foghorn as she mimics the sound represented by the diacritical mark that sometimes sits atop the first letter of her last name. "I drop it here in the States," says the 32-year-old Stockholm-born, Toronto-raised actress of this vestigial piece of Swedishness (turning Aowww-kerman into the more Hollywood-friendly Ack-erman). "The Å looks like an angel."

Akerman has been trying to lose the halo for years. As a teenager, she lied about her religion to attend the same Catholic school as her boyfriend. "If he was going to hang out with all those girls in skirts, I was going to get in one too," she says, though she scoffed at the school's strict rules. "You're not allowed to hold hands. I was thinking, 'Wow, we've already done worse than that.'" In true bad-girl fashion, she joined a rock-and-roll band—singing for the now-defunct Ozono (later renamed the Petalstones)—as soon as she moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and even married the drummer, Roberto Zincone. On screen, Akerman has dabbled in nudity in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and left fanboys breathless in Zack Snyder's megabudget Watchmen.

Now she is going small, Sundance, and angsty to the point of serious with her next two films—this month's The Romantics, costarring Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel, and early 2011's Happythankyoumoreplease, written and directed by How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor. "I play a character with alopecia universalis, a medical condition where you lose all your hair," she says of her role in Happythankyoumoreplease. "People think you have cancer. At busy New York City restaurants, they're happy to seat you right away, where usually they'd say, 'Forty-five minutes!'" Akerman admits that she found it hard not to take advantage of the special treatment. "I gotta be at my chemo appointment!" she shouts before considering the ethical implications of malingering for a four-top at Cipriani. "Oh, God. I'm a horrible person for making fun of this."


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Akerman's indie hot streak has taken her to Shreveport, Louisiana, where she's filming the crime thriller Catch .44 with Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker. "Shreveport is a great place if you want to focus on the work," she says, laughing. "Because there's nothing else to do." Still, she has bonded with some folks on set. "The teamsters—they're awesome and sweet," she says. "One drove me to Target. He used to be a monster-truck driver in Japan!"

Running with the rough-and-tumble crowd seems to have amplified Akerman's swagger. "I carry a Glock—I'm gangster now!" she says, referring to her part in Catch .44 as a drug dealer on the run from a psychotic hit man. When asked what makes a Glock a Glock, however, she stops short. "Why'd you have to call me out on that?" she asks, suddenly sounding every bit the ingenue. "They just told me it was a Glock, all right? I was like, 'Cool. I got a Glock.'"

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