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'Chicago' Starlet

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CBS
Catherine Zeta-Jones has a lot of great things to look forward to in 2003.

She is five months pregnant with her second child with husband Michael Douglas, and the actress' role as accused murderer Velma Kelly in "Chicago" has already brought a Golden Globe nomination and she's considered a frontrunner for an Oscar nomination as well.

The Early Show's co-anchor Harry Smith had the opportunity to talk to Zeta-Jones about her critically acclaimed performance in the new movie musical.

Zeta-Jones started her career in musical theater on London's West End, but she says that was many years ago: "I stopped dancing, I should say, when I was 19 years old. Never to think that I would be called upon at 32, 33 to do this."

Critics have called the actress' portrayal of Velma Kelly as sexy and powerful. Zeta-Jones says playing the character was fun, and she worked hard on finding nuances so that the audience could understand the woman.

Zeta-Jones was considered for the part after "Chicago" producer Marty Richards saw her casually sing at a Christmas party years ago.

"It probably wasn't even good," says Zeta-Jones. "He said, 'Do you dance?' I said, 'Yeah, I use to dance, you know, and did tap dancing. I was a hoofer.'"

But there were years of delays before Miramax Films was able to transfer the musical from stage to screen. Once the cast of Zeta-Jones, Rene Zellwegger and Richard Gere was set, the first order of business was to get in shape.

"I just buckled down and tried to get into a regime on a stamina level more than anything because I knew that, unlike doing theater, I would have to do this number three or four times every hour in different angles," says Zeta-Jones. "I remember after all the training and all the hard work, and the bruises and the scratches, there I was on the first day of shooting. And the spotlight hits me and it's 'All That Jazz' … And it was magical."

Zeta-Jones says her husband saw "Chicago" at the movie's premiere, and he said he was proud of her.

"He said, probably, it's one of the most thought-out movies he's seen in years," says Zeta-Jones. "He said, 'It makes you wanna be in movies and go see movies.'"

Her father-in-law, legendary actor Kirk Douglas, told her the movie was like the good old days.

Zeta-Jones says she feels good, but she is tired. She is promoting the movie, caring for a two-year-old and is about five months pregnant.

Would she call herself a "superwoman?"

"No, never superwoman," explains Zeta-Jones. "You can't even say it's juggling anything because [it's] such precious things that you're juggling in a family. But I tell you something, I have more fun now with all those different elements than I ever had before. Everything is much easier now because I have a wonderful support mechanism and a great life. Everything else is a bonus."