Biel landed her first feature film role, playing Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in the critically-acclaimed drama Ulee’s Gold, released in 1997. Her performance earned her a Young Artist Award. In spring 1998, during a break from filming 7th Heaven, Biel starred in the holiday movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas, playing opposite Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
In 2000, during the fourth season of 7th Heaven, Biel commented that she grew tired of playing the wholesome preacher’s kid, and blamed the show for giving her a squeaky-clean image, which caused her to lose out on a role in American Beauty (the part went to Thora Birch). In a last ditch attempt to be let out of her contract, she posed semi-nude for the cover of Gear magazine. Fans and producers of 7th Heaven were outraged, and the shoot also sparked a lot of controversy, as Biel was still under 18 at the time, but Aaron Spelling made it clear that Biel would be staying with the show until her contract was due to expire (although, she… read more