How did Bridgette Wilson, 21, a former Miss Teen USA from Gold Beach, Ore. (pop. 1,585), wind up playing opposite Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone's biopic Nixon, due in December? Simple. She auditioned. "It's a small part," says Wilson, whose credits include Mortal Kombat and The Last Action Hero. "When I auditioned, my scenes weren't even written. Oliver said, 'Why don't you try to loosen up and come on to the casting director?' So I walked over to her and made the most of the situation." Playing at seducing a woman paid off. She was cast as an exotic dancer who tries to "loosen up" Nixon before a benefit. "The scene shows how uncomfortable he was making small talk," she says. Not so Mr. Hopkins, who plays Nixon. "He's so genuine. After every scene he'd say, 'This is really fun, isn't it?' "
YOU LIKE ME! YOU REALLY LIKE ME!
John Travolta will be staying alive with three new movies this year: Get Shorty, White Man's Burden and Broken Arrow. But he still mists up when talking about the response to his last comeback, in the 1994 hit Pulp Fiction. "I felt such good will," says Travolta, 41. "People wanted to see me survive, which is so rare in Hollywood that I've been touched to tears." But his success has been tough on his friends. One of his buddies recently helped a young actress move into a new apartment. "All of a sudden," Travolta recounts, "this girl pops in the Pulp Fiction CD and starts to do the dance I do with Uma Thurman. This girl was auditioning for my friend, whose face went white with this whole weird scene."
FROM HERE TO INFINITI
Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce, 48, picked up this year's best actor award at Cannes for his portrayal of Englishman Lytton Strachey, the openly gay Bloomsbury Group scribe, in the upcoming drama Carrington. He has also won the Olivier and Tony awards for his stage performances in Hamlet and Miss Saigon, but most Americans know him as the debonair pitchman for Infiniti. "I was in a crowded elevator, and a man said, 'You look like the guy from the car commercials.' I said, 'People often tell me that.' But another guy in the elevator sprang to my defense, announcing, 'He also does a pretty good Hamlet.' "
FREAKS NEED NOT APPLY
Danny Bonaduce, former child star and ex-drug abuser, promises to keep it clean on his new daytime talk show, Danny!, which airs in syndication this month. "Some of the talk shows forget that no matter how seriously they treat a guy who is sleeping with his rottweiler, it is just a freak show," says Bonaduce, 36. "People like that will not be on my show. They should be in some sort of therapy. I'm lucky to have a job; how can I help them?" Bonaduce, who has spent the last two years as a Chicago disc jockey, could learn from the masters. "I was at a showbiz convention," he says. "The Friends people were in one corner talking to the Seinfeld people, the drama guys were over there. I see all the daytime talk show hosts in one group—Jerry Springer talking to Jenny Jones and Montel. I had to join in. Geraldo comes up to me and says, 'Bonaduce, they just can't kill you, can they?' Then he walked away. I thought that was so cool."