HER SHTICK: Like her regal ma (Meryl Streep), Gummer's got champagne-blonde locks, that oh-so-distinct nose, and a freakishly convincing knack for accents—but the rising thesp's beguiling poise is all her own.

AS SEEN IN: Evening, Stop-Loss, John Adams

MY MOTHER, THE STAR: "I don't know anything else," she says of being the daughter of one of the world's most illustrious actresses. "Is it hard for me? In some ways it is—like getting asked this question about her always, always, always, without fail. But at the same time, that kind of curiosity has served me well."

ACTING ON IMPULSE: "My first day on the set of John Adams, I was just supposed to fly to Virginia for a costume fitting. But the director figured, why not shoot it, too? So they threw me into a dress that didn't fit, gave me lines I hadn't seen, in a dialect I didn't know, and two screaming, arching infants. I couldn't bend my arms past a certain point without dropping a baby."

FRENCH CONNECTION: Gummer met her boyfriend, Benjamin Walker, onstage. "We were both in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He played the Keanu to my Uma." Offstage? "My parents have always been the best of friends, so if we can follow their wonderful example, I'll be set."

THE TO-DO LIST: "I'd like to learn how to cook. I've hauled around this big, old, heavy Martha Stewart cookbook in my suitcase to Cape Cod, L.A., Paris. I don't know what possessed me." Has she opened it? "Nope! Maybe I'll learn by osmosis."

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