In & out
Although Dawson's Creek creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson is gay, actor Kerr Smith says he hasn't felt any extra pressure since his character Jack McPhee, came out in February. "There's a little bit of Kevin in each one of the characters on the show," says Smith, 27, who joined the WB teen drama at the beginning of the season. "My character just happens to represent his sexuality." Still, he says he has been careful to play against stereotype. "Jack's not going to start talking different all of a sudden; he's not going to start dressing different," Smith says. "He did change his hair, but we needed that. I was not happy with this dorky haircut they'd given me."

Hot Rod
Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night) reports that he and good pal Elizabeth Taylor are talking about collaborating on an update of The Wizard of Oz, with La Liz playing Dorothy. "It's about how Dorothy, who is 60-plus, goes back to Oz after her husband dies," says Steiger, 73, who might direct the film. "All of her friends in Oz have become human. I'll play the Cowardly Lion, who is now so tough he has become a gangster and scares everyone to death." As for whether his longtime friendship with Taylor could ever lead to romance, Steiger says, "Oh no! I've had four marriages. My romantic days are over. Now I'm just a clinical adviser on love." Of course, he adds with a laugh, "that's tough when you're as physically attractive as I am."

Swinging alien
"I wouldn't dare do an album for adults," says John Lithgow, 53, who just released a CD for kids called Singin' in the Bathtub, his first recording. But the 3rd Rock from the Sun star admits that the album, which features Lithgow crooning covers of swinging standards, has been a washout with his two teenagers, Phoebe, 16, and Nathan, 15. "They consider me the least cool parent around," he says. "But I figure that's an important role I play in their lives—to make them feel hipper than me." So does Lithgow really sing in the bathtub? "Certainly not!" he says. "I sing in my car a lot, actually. I love listening to my album and singing along with it. That's just pure vanity."

The apple and the tree
Her 19-year-old daughter, Kate Hudson, has won notices for her first major role, in 200 Cigarettes, but Goldie Hawn is no stage mom. "Kate has seen me and [longtime love Kurt Russell] working all her life," says Hawn, 53, who costars with Steve Martin in the comedy The Out-of-Towners, opening April 2. "But when it came to her acting, I stayed out of it. When she was in high school, she wanted to get an agent. I said, 'No, 100 percent no. Absolutely no. Finish high school.' She did finish and then went and auditioned on her own." Nor does Hawn take credit for Kate's talent: "She's my daughter, but she's also my mother's granddaughter. She's got more of my mother in her than of me."

Wild attorneys
Having been one of the prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson trial, Christopher Darden didn't need a whole lot of practice to play a divorce lawyer in three upcoming episodes of the NBC soap opera Sunset Beach. But which is more sordid—soap opera or real life? "In my experience, real life. I know a lot of sleazy people," says Darden, 42. "Lawyers are beasts—vicious and aggressive and freaky. Some of them are borderline mental cases. Many of them live for the opportunity to take someone's life apart and don't care." As for his opinion of TV's legal eagles, he says, "I don't watch a lot of legal dramas because I can get that at the office. But I like The Practice and I just think that Ally McBeal is totally huggable."