PENNY MARSHALL'S TEST TUBE
Playing Laverne for seven years on the series Laverne & Shirley (1976-83) may not be her most distinguished accomplishment, but it proved vital for PENNY MARSHALL. "I think television is an invaluable experience because you're under the gun every single week," says Marshall, 48, who, with Big and Awakenings on her résumé, is now considered one of Hollywood's more bankable directors. "You never have time. You're running for your life. After TV, as a performer, you can do anything. That's why I like working with television actors. They're fast. They walk and talk at the same time."

JEREMY IRONS'S ROLE CALL
JEREMY IRONS, who won a Golden Globe (at right) and an Oscar for his portrayal of Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune, says people are always suggesting that he play his hero, SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER, in a film bio. "I suppose that's because there's a physical resemblance, but he was much more flamboyant," says Irons, 42, adding emphatically that he's not interested. As for those who knock Olivier for taking roles in bad movies (Clash of the Titans and The Betsy) during his final decades, Irons says, "He was never a rich man. He received only a pittance for the bulk of his theater work, and his early movies weren't commercial giants. I believe he knew that he had only a few years left, so I don't blame him for simply trying to make as much money as he could. He deserved at least that much."

SUSAN ISAACS: BOOKED SOLID
Best-selling novelist SUSAN ISAACS, whose latest work is Magic Hour, has no interest in Sly career moves. Isaacs, 47, says that when her previous novel, Shining Through, was about to be sold to the movies (starring MICHAEL DOUGLAS and MELANIE GRIFFITH, the film version is due this fall), "My agent said, 'Do you want to do a Stallone?' I thought it had something to do with my pectorals, but what it means is what Stallone did with Rocky—attaching yourself to a project and saying you can't do this movie without me. I didn't want to do a Stallone, simply because, although I love writing screenplays, I get far more satisfaction out of my novels. In writing a novel, you're God, even though what you're creating might be a third-rate universe. In writing a screenplay, you're collaborating."

THE BOZ: FOOTBALL? HE'LL PASS
Don't look for former Seattle Seahawk linebacker BRIAN BOZWORTH to take time out from his new career as a movie actor to give motivational talks to football players. After shoulder injuries hampered his playing, the controversial Boz left football behind last year and now says, "Football is so barbaric. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking by playing it. I feel almost like I escaped from boot camp." Bozworth, 26, who stars as an undercover cop in Stone Cold, an action flick opening May 17, adds, "Football is not a life I'd go back to again. With Seattle, I had my shoulder operated on and I was back out there the next week. As a football player, you get into this mind meld. You think, 'I'm Superman. I'll always heal.' But you wake up the next morning, and it's not like that."