MORNING THICKNESS, ALL DAY
Andie MacDowell couldn't help gaining more than 20 pounds while filming Unstrung Heroes, the bittersweet family drama in which she plays a mother dying of cancer. "I was pregnant during the entire shoot," says MacDowell, 37, whose daughter Sarah Margaret is now 11 months old. (MacDowell and her husband, model-turned-rancher Paul Qualley, have two other children, Justin, 9, and Rainey, 6.) "I was so bloated. Each day I could see the horror on the producers' faces. But it was a blessing in disguise. It really helped in [portraying] her illness because of the type of medication she was on. I felt nauseous, which was convenient. I felt tired, which worked. I was more emotional. I was in a deeper, special place, which made it all better and easier for me. But I think it scared the film people to death."

MUSIC MADE QUEASY
The John Larroquette Show's costars Alison La Placa and John Larroquette get a lot cozier this fall. First, he pops the question in the season opener Sept. 30, then she buys the bar next to the bus station that he manages and converts it to a jazz club so that she can sing—off-key—in it. "They say that in order to sing badly you must first sing very well," says La Placa, 35, a trained pianist and singer. "I'm hoping everyone grasps that concept." Her first run at the mike: butchering the Ray Charles classic "You Don't Know Me." "There's no real pressure," says La Placa, "since anything that goes wrong I can use."

ET TUTU?
Morgan Freeman tackles a deadly numbers game when he and Brad Pitt play cops tracking a serial killer whose slayings involve the seven deadly sins in the new thriller Seven. Does he have a lucky number? "I'd say it's 1964," says Freeman. "That's the year I was working as a dancer in this big show at the World's Fair in New York City. It was my first big break." Yes, folks, before Glory, Driving Miss Daisy and Unforgiven, the 58-year-old actor strutted his stuff onstage. "Hey, I studied ballet, tap and jazz," says Freeman, who later appeared on Broadway in Hello, Dolly! with Pearl Bailey. "I could do all the moves. And I had singing lessons. I can do it all. I am show business!" Not that he'll ever return to the chorus line. "Dancers are the lowest paid, the hardest working," says Freeman. "In this business and life in general, I think the harder you work, the less money you will be making."

IT'S LONELY BEING BAD
Doug Savant, 31, who plays gay social worker Matt Fielding on Melrose Place, turns up as a rapist and murderer in the NBC-TV movie Fight for Justice: The Nancy Conn Story (airing next Mon., Oct. 2), which is based on a real case. "My greatest hope is that I'm unrecognizable," says Savant, pictured in character above. "I've been the moral conscience on Melrose for years, so I wanted to play a man without one." To portray the brooding killer, currently serving time in a Georgia prison, Savant grew a beard, lost 15 pounds, adopted a southern accent and wore his hair long and greasy. "The women on the crew were actually frightened of me. One said, 'You're creepy,' " he says. "To become as hateful and self-loathing as my character, I spent all my time alone. You can't chat it up with the crew when you're shooting rape scenes." His costar Marilu Henner recently joined him to do publicity. "I was clean, pleasant, sans beard," says Savant, "and Marilu said, 'I feel like I'm meeting you for the first time.' "