Renee Zellweger lived green long before she knew what that meant. “I was raised in a household where we were very frugal. I had no idea that my father was so progressive in his thinking. We were just cheap, and all of a sudden that’s translated to green! We were saving money,” laughs the actress, who grew up in Katy, Texas.

Playing a ruthless Miami exec sent to Minneapolis to close a factory in New in Town, Zellweger could relate to the experience on two levels: Always filming on new locations, “I am perpetually new in town,” she points out, and she’s familiar with non-urban life. “I grew up in a small town. I know this community of eclectic folk. I recognize their values and support systems,” she says.

She enjoyed working with co-star Harry Connick Jr. but the frigid temperatures in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where the movie was shot, took some getting used to. “Who knew pantyhose could be so very important?” asks Zellweger, who wore four pairs at a time. “They were essential. I would not be here if it were not for Hanes, I promise you.”

Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and his wife Sheila Kelley (L.A. Law, Sisters) brought their daughter Ruby to L.A.’s Go Green Expo, where Schiff and Ruby took a spin around the trade show floor in a Segway-like scooter. Currently, Schiff drives a Highlander hybrid, “but the lease is up and I’m looking at the new Prius and the Ford Fusion, because I would like to buy American. It’s supposed to get 50 miles per hour,” he says, noting that his family has taken to following the eco-living examples set by his friend “Sustainable Dave” Chameidis, who was a cameraman on The West Wing.

“Dave is inspiring the heck out of me,” says Kelley, who recycles, trades bottled water for reusable metal bottles, but hasn’t done any composting yet. “Worms freak me out,” she explains.

Schiff adds that their home has solar panels, which cuts their energy bill, and he’s encouraged by the new administration’s green policies, especially where technology is concerned. “There’s no other way out of the economic doldrums,” he believes.

Now in Last Chance Harvey as Dustin Hoffman’s boss, Schiff will appear opposite Michael Douglas in Solitary Man and is slated to go to London to shoot the comedy Who’s Solly Now, about an Iranian who discovers he’s actually Jewish and goes to his Jewish cab driver neighbor (Schiff), a former enemy, for advice. He also plans to do a Broadway revival of Talley’s Folly, date to be determined pending casting of the leading lady.

These days Kelley is focusing on the S Factor, the movement method she teaches that incorporates stripper pole dancing. “It’s about women embracing the holistic body and sensuality,” she says. “It’s the best workout I’ve ever done. I have seven studios around the country and I’m opening more.”

Stay tuned for next week’s Ecollywood column. In the meantime, check out our Ecollywood videos