TO LIVE & SHAKE IN L.A.
Kevin Bacon, 36, did hard time on behalf of Hollywood for Murder in the First. "I spent months naked and shackled to a wall," says Bacon who lost 20 pounds while playing a convict confined to a dungeon in Alcatraz for three years. "My wife [actress Kyra Sedgwick] was glad when this movie ended. I was not a happy person to live with." He also endured an earthquake that rocked the set last January. "We were filming a big trial scene, and I had just gone back to my trailer when the ground started shaking. Like a fool, I stood in the doorjamb of my trailer because they say to stand in a doorway. I don't think they meant to stand in the door of an aluminum can."

AARON'S NEW ANGEL
Traci Lords, the former porn star whose first major movie role was in 1990's Cry-Baby, has taken up residence through February on Melrose Place. To ease into her role as new roomie of the twisted Sydney (Laura Leigh-ton), Lords asked reigning queen of mean Heather Locklear for advice. "She said the key to her acting was all in the skirt," says Lords, 26, who knew what she meant. "I went to Aaron Spelling's Christmas party," she says, "and as I walked in, some paparazzi shouted out, 'You look like a Spelling girl!' I looked at my skirt and thought, 'They're right, it's so short. I could be Farrah Fawcett in another second.' "

GETTING IT RIGHT
One day after Ellen DeGeneres signed to star in Mr. Wrong, a dark comedy about a dream date gone sour, she was home peddling madly on her exercise bike. DeGeneres, whose sassy ABC sitcom Ellen is in the Top 10, is shaping up for the movie's sex scenes. "I hear it came own to me and Sharon Stone," jokes DeGeneres, 37, who will shoot the movie during Ellen's spring hiatus. "Actually most parts come down to me and Sharon Stone. Originally they were going to call my show Sharon." Her parents were underwhelmed by their daughter's news that she was going to be a movie star. "My dad asked me if it was a big part," says DeGeneres, "and my mom asked me if they'd be serving jumbo shrimp at the premiere party."

STAR CHAMBER
San Francisco 49er and National Football League MVP Steve Young has already set his sights on another passing mark. Win or lose in the Super Bowl, Young, 33, plans to take the California bar exam this year after earning his law degree last April from Brigham Young University (named after the quarterback's great-great-great grandfather, Mormon leader Brigham Young). Has he ever been tempted to file assault charges against the defensive linemen he has faced on the field? "The NFL's been fining everybody for hitting," says Young. "They do a better job policing than the legal system could. You're not presumed innocent in the NFL; you're presumed guilty."