Going gonzo
With roles in the new movies Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Opposite of Sex—as well as the upcoming films Buffalo 66, Pecker, Desert Blue and 200 Cigarettes—is 18-year-old actress Christina Ricci reeling from overwork? "I did all of them in the last year. I graduated high school [in Manhattan], and it gave me a chance to do one film after the other," says Ricci. "It's kinda like when you have a list of chores and you get to the end, you're like, 'What now?' " Ricci says she had read Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas long before signing to do the movie with Johnny Depp. "I must be one of the only people who didn't like the book," she says of Thompson's drug-addled escapades. "It made me feel really icky. Of course, I read it when I was 10, so I probably wasn't ready for it at that age."

No requests, please
Having appeared in six films, crooner Harry Connick Jr. has created a second career as an actor. "I hope people are still not going, 'Oh, that's the singer,' " says Connick, 30, who costars in the romantic drama Hope Floats, opening May 29. "That would be a terrible thing for them to have in the back of their minds. I never felt like I was a musician in a movie except two times when they asked me to perform. I sang a song in Memphis Belle, and I played a little piano in Little Man Tate." In Hope Floats, Connick looks for harmony with former homecoming queen Sandra Bullock, but in high school he wasn't exactly the BMOC. "No, no, no, I wasn't cool at all," he says. "I wasn't on the football team, I was always the musician. So that said it all."

Royale flush
Jackie Brown's Samuel L. Jackson has a sinking feeling that he'll lose to Titanic's Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Male Performance in the final viewers' tally at the MTV Movie Awards, held in Los Angeles. "It's pretty much over for everybody," says Jackson, 49, who hosts the awards show on May 30 (taped to air June 4 on MTV). "In a popularity contest, Leo wins, hands down." Still riding his notoriety from the 1994 hit Pulp Fiction, Jackson says fans continue to engage him in dialogue from the movie. "The most quoted line is: 'Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France?' " he says. "But that's actually John Travolta's line, so I'll say, 'No. What?' I've only had maybe three guys do the next line, and we ended up doing the whole scene. So people should know if they say that to me, I'm going to start to do the scene with them. So know the whole scene—or don't start it!"

Basic instincts
Since Gwyneth Paltrow has paired up with such hot young Hollywood hunks as Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck offscreen, did Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas experience any performance anxiety playing her husband in the thriller A Perfect Murder due June 5? "Performance anxiety? Me? No way!" says Douglas, who, at 53, is 28 years Paltrow's senior. "Older men date young ladies all the time." But then, a puckish Douglas comes up with his own question: "Was it odd being romantic with someone when I'm a friend of her parents' [producer Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner]? Ha! I sort of take pride in the fact that most of the actresses I work with are pretty comfortable during the whole process, no matter what their age."

Gamesmanship
With Public Enemy having reunited to record the soundtrack of Spike Lee's basketball drama He Got Game, Chuck D has reclaimed his position as rap's elder statesman. "I'm like the Julius Erving of rap," says Chuck, 37. "I'm as much as 20 years older than the kids coming in. Whatever they're going through, I've been there. But it's not like I'm decrepit." In other words, he still got game. "Having game is being able to deal with whatever is thrown at you," explains Chuck. "You're not looking from the outside in—you're in. And I'm in."