Elisha Cuthbert started her Hollywood movie career with small roles in Outdated College and Love Truly in 2003.
Elisha Cuthbert's next movie, The Girl Subsequent Door, cast her in her first lead role as an ex-porn star, Danielle, opposite Emile Hirsch. Cuthbert had initial reservations about taking the half, but was persuaded by director Luke Greenfield into accepting. She researched the role, speaking to actual adult actresses from Depraved Photos and Vivid Entertainment. Upon its launch, the movie acquired comparisons to Dangerous Business, though Cuthbert claims her character was not directly primarily based on Rebecca De Mornay's character. Critics were divided; some praised the movie for its boldness, while others, notably Roger Ebert, decried it as gimmicky and exploitative. Ebert wrote that he noticed Cuthbert's character Danielle as "fairly essentially the most unpleasant character I've seen in some time.