Other than publicizing Apollo 13, the new space thriller, Tom Hanks's only mission this summer is to have a blast. "I recently grew a beard," says Hanks, 39, once again clean-shaven. "I was trying to look dangerous," he explains. "I was so sick of hearing, 'He's such a nice guy.' There are any number of people who will tell you, 'He ain't so nice.' " But James A. Lovell Jr., the NASA astronaut Hanks portrays in Apollo 13, probably isn't one of them. "When I visited Jim in Houston," Hanks says, "he picked me up in his Baron twin-engine plane. We did a few maneuvers, and I got sick. But it was my first day with Jim, so I didn't want to say, 'Hey, you made me sick.' I told his wife, 'Boy, I got queasy, but please don't tell Jim. It's not nice.' "
IT'S NOT CAMELOT
Julia Ormond plays Guinevere to Richard Gere's Lancelot in the new romantic adventure First Knight and will romance Harrison Ford in the remake of Sabrina, due in theaters Aug. 18. Still, the English actress who captivated audiences in Legends of the Fall, doesn't consider herself to be one of the beautiful people. "When I'm not working, I slob out," says Ormond, 30, who drives a battered Volkswagen, lives in a "small and messy" London flat and describes her life in general as "very humdrum. If I go to a premiere—I've been to two in my life—I'm not the kind of person to whip out the cleavage."
Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson
is making the leap from the lifeguard tower to the big screen. She's currently in L.A. filming Barb Wire, an action adventure based on the comic book heroine who fights crime in the year 2010. "Coming from Baywatch, there's always that kind of 'hmmm' from people," says Anderson, 28, who's expecting a baby in February with her husband, Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. "I hope it's taken seriously. I've been kick boxing and firing weapons to get ready for the role. It's a great movie—I'm the only thing that could screw it up."
When country singer Ty England was a member of Garth Brooks's band, he nearly drew the attention he does now as a solo act with a hot single, "Should've Asked Her Faster." "Garth always referred to the way my jeans fit," says England, 31, whose debut album is due in August. "Onstage, he'd say, 'You could bounce a quarter off those jeans.' It sort of became my trademark. When I had my driver's-license picture taken, they asked me to turn around so they could photograph me from the back. More people know me walking away than walking towards them."