British charmer Hugh Grant agreed to make the quirky new ensemble comedy The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain before Four Weddings and a Funeral opened and made him an international box office attraction. Does he now yearn to pick up his pace and star in a big-budget, shoot-'em-up, action-packed thriller? "If you mean a big Hollywood film, I did Nine Months," says Grant, 34, who stars with Julianne Moore and Tom Arnold in the domestic comedy due July 14. "That was very expensive and very Hollywood. But as regards car chases and firing guns, I've always sort of fancied the idea of myself with a gun in my hand. However, I don't know if I could bring it off." Confesses the actor: "I'm frightened of bangs."
TOPPING THE TERMINATOR
Denzel Washington's vivid performances in such rousing historical dramas as Malcolm X and Glory cut no ice at home with 11-year-old John David Washington. "My son told me, 'Dad, do something hip instead of those old-man movies!' " says Washington, 40, with a chuckle. "He said he couldn't get any respect at school because I was doing Philadelphia and The Pelican Brief." With his current movie, Crimson Tide, a high-tech military drama, and his next film, a virtual-reality thriller due this summer called Virtuosity, in which, says Washington, "I'm running, jumping, shooting," the actor hopes to make John David happy. "He said, 'C'mon, Dad, they're telling me that Arnold Schwarzenegger could beat your butt any day of the week.' I said, 'He's not as fast as me, son. He's stronger, but his hand speed isn't as good.' "
For four seasons on thirtysomething, Patricia Wettig and her real-life husband, Ken Olin, played characters married to other people. In fact, when the two get steamy on Nothing but the Truth, a CBS movie airing this Tuesday (May 23), it will be the first time they've expressed passion for each other in roles since appearing 13 years ago onstage in A Streetcar Named Desire. "We met then, fell in love, got married, and I got pregnant," says Wettig, 43. "Our plan is, once we're in our 50s, we're thinking of really dating each other. We're going to travel and do all those things other couples do because we didn't before. We were just so on a path to have a family." Their two children, Cliff, 12, and Roxy, 9, watched their parents' joint venture, but, says Wettig, "we fast-forwarded through the love scenes because Roxy didn't want to see them."
PROPPING HER UP
"If I ever get married, and that's a big if, I would probably just elope," says bachelorette Crystal Bernard, 31, who finally weds Joe (Tim Daly) on the season finale of NBC's Wings (May 23). Certainly the actress doesn't need a hope chest, not with a fairy godmother like Debbie Reynolds watching over her. "Since she played my mother on Wings, I we've become really good friends," says Bernard. "I call her my adopted mother. I bought this enormous home, and it had no furniture in it. She has a museum in Las Vegas with all the old costumes and furniture from movies like Gone with the Wind, and she invited me to pick through it! I filled my entire home with all this unbelievable furniture I could never afford. I've got Cleopatra's throne! Isn't that to die for?"