In To Die For, a black comedy directed by Gus Van Sant that opens Sept. 27, Nicole Kidman plays a TV weatherwoman with murder on her mind. She says her character's mischievousness came easily. "I identified totally because I was pretty naughty when I was growing up," says Kidman, 28, who was raised in Australia. "I went through my rebellious teenager, turn-my-mother's-hair-gray stage. I stayed out all night; I was a terror. I know I'm going to get paid back for that now with my own daughter." Kidman, who has two children (Isabella, 2, and Connor, 6 months) with husband Tom Cruise, is ready. "I'm going to be really strict," she promises. "But I can't yet see myself saying, 'You're grounded.' "
This past year has been a blast for Gary Sinise, who earned an Oscar nomination for Forrest Gump, played a grounded astronaut in Apollo 13 and now stars in the HBO biopic Truman, airing this month. But back in 1979, when he first tried to crack Hollywood after helping found Chicago's Steppenwolf theater group, it was another story. "Casting directors were mostly uninterested. One said, 'You go get some acting lessons, Honey,' " says Sinise, 40. "I was so miserable, I shut myself in my room with my guitar and pretended I was a character called Hideous Man, a 400-pound man who was too fat to get out the door." He even recorded Hideous Man singing and sent a tape to Steppenwolf colleague John Malkovich in Chicago. "Malkovich put the tape on while he was driving along Lake Shore Drive and had to pull over to avoid having an accident. He sat there howling with laughter at how pathetic I'd become."
ENTER THE DRAG'UN
As Noxeema, the funky drag queen in the new movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Wesley Snipes is hell on heels, gleefully shaking his prosthetic posterior and snapping manicured fingers. "Honey, I'm some kind of woman, something close to a woman, but I'm not Every woman," says Snipes, 33, when asked for a few beauty tips. "I can't tell y'all nothing that you don't already know." But wait, there is one little thing. "That mascara and that eyeliner stuff really is bad for you," he says. "But the shaving was easy. I'm not a very hairy guy anyway." Did anyone compliment him on his great gams? "Nah, but let's not bring up depressing things." As for what he kept in his purse while filming, Snipes answers coyly, "No phone numbers, that's for sure."
DON'T TELL PAPA
Teri Hatcher, who plays scrappy Lois Lane on ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, makes her entrance in next month's erotic, big-screen thriller Heaven's Prisoners by strolling onto a balcony and sipping a martini as homicide detective Alec Baldwin watches from below. Oh, and she's naked. There was talk early on of cutting the scene from the script, but Hatcher, 30, argued to keep it. "I told the director [Phil Joanou], 'My father will kill me for fighting for a nude scene.' But I felt that it just nailed this manipulative character I play on the head." And everywhere else. "Hopefully I look great," she says, a tad fretfully. "The only thing worse than being nude in a movie is being nude in a movie and not great-looking."