Web Spinner

Hollywood has always walked a fine line between philosophy and fluff. It's a line actress Elizabeth Banks has memorized like so many others, jumping from appearances in Sex and the City to Chekhov onstage, and from spoofs like Wet Hot American Summer to blockbusters like Seabiscuit and this month's Spider-Man 2 with Tobey Maguire. If the Pittsfield native and Penn grad isn't getting conned by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can, she's yachting with Madonna in Swept Away. Or, in real life, talking politics in an election year — and pushing that line just a little further from fluff.

Who's sexier, Tobey or Leonardo? Oh, I can't choose — they'd kill me. It's a tough call. Tobey has that intelligent sex appeal. On the other hand, Leo's just so beautiful.

So is Tobey stuffing his Spidey suit? No comment. I'd guess he's pretty well endowed. He certainly walks around like it.

What's your favorite character type? I'm trying to build a career full of characters, which isn't easy to do if you're at all cute — people just want to cast you as the love interest. But I just played a great character onstage: a lower-class gal who latches on to this wealthy family. She has a Boston accent, big boobs, and long nails.

Can you do a Boston accent? Pretty well, yeah.

Should celebrities make their political views known? We walk a fine line. We're entertainers, so our beliefs aren't taken very seriously. But like it or not, we are role models. I'm a big supporter of women's reproductive rights, for example; as a celebrity, I have a responsibility to speak on that. That's what the First Amendment is all about.

Is Hollywood liberal? Not as much as people think. But if it is, that's not so bad. The Democrats' problem is that we don't have the forums that conservatives do. If Hollywood is the balancing forum, great.

How would you like the world changed a year from now? Fewer of our soldiers dying, more focus on domestic policies, and we should get honest about Iraq, why we really invaded. I still wonder what Iraq had to do with Afghanistan. And, hey, where is Osama bin Laden, anyway?

Will we see a woman president in our lifetimes? I'd love to think so, but I'm pessimistic. Until child rearing becomes a more equal partnership, it's hard to imagine the public not criticizing a woman for not being a mother first. But I have a lot of hope.

Michael Moore: brilliant filmmaker or pompous bomb-thrower? A bit of both.

Any personal heroes? My sister — she's a single mom in Massachusetts. Oh, and Ann Richards, former governor of Texas. Since I'm an actress, I should probably say Meryl Streep, but I'm just not going to.

Where's the best meal in Pittsfield? Elizabeth's. It's a family-run place, and all the food is homemade.

What do you miss most about Boston? When I was a kid, I loved the Milk Bottle, and the Sox are still breaking my heart. I'd put [their winning a World Series] with the woman president in my lifetime: It's possible, maybe not likely. But again, I have hope.