Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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LA Daily News: Spywitness

By Sharon Knolle

OCTOBER 8, 2004 -- EVERYBODY GETS A 'RAISE': "I'm just Mr. Rita Wilson tonight," demurred Tom Hanks at the "Raise Your Voice" premiere at Universal CityWalk. But Hanks still had the crowds going wild as he walked the carpet with his actress/producer wife.

Wilson posed with her "Voice" daughter, Hilary Duff. "I loved working with Hilary," Wilson gushed. "She's the ultimate professional but also a lot of fun to be around. Hey, she's a teenager!"

But like everyone, Tom and Rita had politics on their minds. "I'm the daughter of immigrants, so I grew up hearing how important the freedom to vote is," Wilson said. "I'm voting for John Kerry," Hanks confessed, urging voters to "know what's going on in the world so you can help affect it."

Texas-born Duff is too young to vote (just 17), so she mused on "Voice's" theme: Small-town girl comes to the big city. "The air is different, the people, everything. I think it can be very scary and overwhelming at first. But I know it (coming to Los Angeles) is the best thing that's ever happened to me!"

British actor Oliver James, who plays Duff's "Voice" love interest, hit L.A. three years ago. "I came here on my own and didn't know anyone. They gave me a map, and that was it. But I like L.A. now. When I go back to London, I do miss the beach and the sunshine. We certainly don't have that in England."

; ©2004