Sultry actress Emmanuelle Beart has sparked a mad rush for a French magazine after posing naked on the cover.

The MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE beauty appears on the front of French ELLE magazine, standing in the sea in profile, revealing her pert backside and one rounded breast.

Beart, 37, appeared in the 5 May (03) issue but the cover only made newspaper headlines this week.

Officials at Elle said they were bewildered by how the Beart issue, which sold out its estimated print run of 515,000 copies in just two days as men rushed to snap it up, only became the talk of the town days later.

CATHERINE ROGER, spokeswoman for the magazine, says, "We really weren't expecting this level of success. It was not at all premeditated."

13/05/2003 17:09