updated 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Sandra Bullock admits she's aptly cast in Speed as the motormouth driver who, with Keanu Reeves, careers around L.A. in a bus with a bomb strapped to it. "When friends call and say, 'Let's go on a road trip,' I'll go, no hesitation," says Bullock, 26. "Once I heard this voice outside my door at 2 a.m. saying, 'Help me!' I opened the door wearing just a T-shirt, and there were all my friends hanging from trees. We raced off, broke into a private condo community and went skinny-dipping in their pool. I just went with the flow." The moral of the story? "In Speed, they needed a character who was willing, and that was me."

Next on Donahue: Why don't more men fight the battle of the bulge? The reason, according to Mario Thomas, who starts her morning exercise routine with a 40-minute workout on a treadmill before her personal trainer arrives, is that "men don't see what they need. They wear suits and bulky sweaters and they think they can hide it better than women. They even hide it from themselves." Thomas, 55, who recently finished Reunion, a forthcoming mystery movie on CBS, adds that even her own husband, Phil Donahue, doesn't share her morning sweat ethic. "He just tells me, 'I admire you for working so hard,' then he rolls over and goes back to sleep."

Pierce Brosnan was stirred but not shaken by the 300 journalists who jammed a London news conference to see the new James Bond. "It was trying, but everyone seemed so genuinely pleased," says Brosnan, 41, who'll be the fifth actor to play 007 since Sean Connery donned a dinner jacket for Dr. No in 1962. Goldeneye, a saga involving an arms deal with Russia, begins shooting this fall and calls for the return of top spy M, gadget wizard Q and Miss Money-penny. Brosnan, now in New Guinea filming Robinson Crusoe, a TV movie, has a short wish list regarding his as-yet-uncast leading lady. "I'm partial to Madeleine Stowe," he says. "I think she's a very lovely lady."

Sinbad didn't have to do much research to play Phil Hartman's unexpected visitor in the forthcoming comedy Houseguest. As an unknown comic in 1983, he embarked on what he now calls the Poverty Tour. "I wanted to find out real fast if I was funny, so I took off on the Greyhound with no direction, just a list of comedy clubs," says Sinbad, 37. "I would go onstage with my suitcase and say, 'Hey, after I get through here, I have no place to live,' and people would take me home. I didn't have money, so I'd fix stuff like the plumbing. I always leave a house better than I find it. I still don't believe in bringing gifts to people's houses. As long as you clean the bathroom, that's all that matters."

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