For her part, Williams has a complex relationship with the business of appearances. On the one hand, she has a real interest in, and eye for, proportions and tweaks and ironic, downbeat, classic lines. She wears dresses and clogs from No. 6, owns one pair of high heels (Louboutins), buys her button-downs at Brooks Brothers, and really doesn't follow what designers are up to. "I've learned that I look better with less," she says. "Jewelry doesn't suit me." It all works: As Ryan Gosling puts it, "She makes a real impact. Clint Eastwood meets Brigitte Bardot." When Hugh Jackman watched the dailies of her long scene with Ewan McGregor in "Deception," he was struck by "the beauty. She was stunning, like a painting. She has a beguiling quality."
On the other hand, Williams has a history of resisting expectations generated by her beguilingness. "I was sixteen when I started "Dawson's Creek," and our identities—mine and my character's—got a bit confused. She was sexy and pretty, but there was something bad about it. I had some idea in my head that beauty was a minor quality, that beauty wasn't as worthwhile. So I never wanted to play those parts; I wanted to play the opposite."