The long, lovely limbs of Blake Lively


In case you forgot about No Pants Day Sunday, I have good news: Blake Lively remembered.

Lively shed her slacks for the February issue of Esquire, settling once and for all the issue of whether she has more to offer than killer cleavage.

The woman’s got legs. And she indeed knows how to use them.

The Esquire, um, spread is part of a Lively takeover of the media as she adds several movie roles to her resume that is currently dominated — as are most things — by Serena van der Woodsen.

Although The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (aka “The One Where Julianne Moore Plays a Lesbian”) didn’t find the audience it deserved, Lively’s performance as the young Pippa proved to critics and the public that she has the chops to be a Serious Actress. Her next role, in Ben Affleck’s The Town, just may be the one that gets people to look at her without thinking “Serena.” (Well, everyone except Blair.)

Affleck told Esquire that he didn’t know Lively when she came to audition:

The whole movie kind of hinges in a lot of ways on her performance, and I knew it was going to be the hardest part to cast. This girl came in, and no one had said to me beforehand, “Hey, look for this person.” And obviously she was really attractive, and so I thought, Oh, here comes some blond girl. She came in, did one reading, and just crushed it. Like, Boston accent — really good. I was sort of stunned. I said, “Jeez, you know, that was really f—–g good. Who are you?” She didn’t mention that she was on a television show.

Wait. Ben Affleck didn’t know Blake Lively? Um, OK, Ben.

The part of Krista is the polar opposite of Serena — Krista is a poor single mom and drug mule who lives a decidedly unblessed life. Lively said:

Every scene that I had was a heavy scene. I mean the scenes were — I hate to sound dramatic, but they were cataclysmic. I’m screaming, I’m crying, I’m fighting, I’m on drugs, I’m in the hospital. They were all very, very rough. Rough to perform, rough to watch or to experience. But they were rewarding, because you feel like, wow, I can do that. I did that.

Still, Lively has no trouble shifting between Gossip Girl and other roles, saying, “I can snap into Serena very easily. The way I dress as Serena is pretty much the way I dress as me. I’m living in New York City, shooting in New York City. I’m in a comfort zone.”

Tuesday, we learned that Lively will add another dimension to her career with the female lead in Green Lantern, opposite Ryan Reynolds. We don’t know yet how closely the movie will follow the comic, but I’m hoping we’ll see Lively’s character, Carol Ferris, as supervillan Star Sapphire at some point. For obvious reasons.

Are you happy to see Blake Lively move beyond the Upper East Side, especially if she leaves her pants behind?