Growing up, Heather Graham was sure she wanted to be the next Meryl Streep.
“If someone made me cry, I thought that was the ultimate achievement,” the 47-year-old actress tells ET, laughing. “I just felt like, ‘I want to be in really depressing films that will win an Academy Award.’ And then I thought, ‘I don’t, really — I just want to laugh and find the humor in things.'”
After starring in 1988’s teen adventure film License to Drive and Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed crime drama Drugstore Cowboy, released a year later — “It helped me feel like a legitimate actress,” she says — Graham became a bona fide dude-comedy staple, starring alongside some of the era’s most celebrated comedic actors: Vince Vaughn in 1996’s Swingers, Mike Myers in 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper in two of three Hangover films. She also earned major buzz for her role as porn starlet Rollergirl in 1997’s Boogie Nights and, that same year, opened Scream 2 as an actress playing Drew Barrymore’s iconic victim, Casey Becker, from the original Scream.