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Jill Wagner
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Jill Wagner Pics
photo: Courtesy Spike TV

By Sam Jemielity

This summer, she's grabbing headlines with the smash cable vampire drama Blade: The Series. The 5'8" brunette Southern gal grew up shooting skeet and talking cars in North Carolina. After graduating with honors in business from North Carolina State, she made the jump to Hollywood.

Jill jerked around celebs during the 2003 season of Punk'd, pulling pranks on everyone from Katie Holmes to L'il Bow Wow to Usher. She became an Internet sensation as the "Mercury Girl," hawking Mercury vehicles in TV commercials. In Blade, she plays gun-toting, undead-bashing Krista Starr, a gorgeous war vet bent on revenge for her twin brother's death.

Over-the-top violence, pimped cars and motorcycles, lesbian-leaning vampire hotties and Jill's butt-kicking Krista make Blade a TiVo season-pass must. Now that Sydney Bristow and Alias have bitten the dust, Krista Starr's the most bad-ass babe on the block. And we're not just saying that so Jill gives us a free Mercury Milan. Were you nervous to do Blade, because sci-fi fans can be so...?

Jill Wagner: They're so critical. Oh my god. People were looking at where my hands were on the gun at all times, just to make sure my finger wasn't in the trigger when I wasn't aiming. They really dive into the story. But you have a gun collection, so you probably know your way around a handgun.

Wagner: My father has always collected guns, and I was raised by my father. As a girl, we would go to the shooting range and shoot skeet. I just got this love for guns, and I know it sounds weird, but I think some guns can be beautiful. I love the old guns, the way the wood is carved. I have four guns in my personal collection, and my dad is getting ready to give me another one. That's very sweet of him. Which of your guns is your favorite?

Wagner: My newest one, which I haven't even had a chance to shoot yet, is a Kimber Raptor .45. It's about the best target gun you can get. When the show wraps, I'm going to go back to North Carolina and have a firing day with my dad. You had vampire dreams growing up. What was that about?

Wagner: It's so weird, and I wasn't going to tell anybody this, because people might think I'm crazy. When I was little, I had five or six vampire dreams. I can tell you exactly what happened in the dream. I never was afraid of the vampires in my dream -- they didn't scare me. Then when I moved out to Los Angeles, I started having these dreams again. These vampires were swooping down at me from the rafters in the grocery store, of all places. But I haven't had any since I got the job [on Blade]. What did you make of the grocery store vampires?

Wagner: I analyzed them at first as meaning that I had people around me who weren't good for me, who were sucking the energy out of me. I think in real life there are vampires like that -- not the ones that live forever and suck blood and wear great black leather coats -- but people who suck the positive part of you out of you. I kind of thought that was what was going on.

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