updated 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

He did assume leadership of the free world in Air Force One, so you might expect Harrison Ford to command respect for his political views. In fact he has joined wife Melissa Mathison, who wrote the script for the upcoming Tibetan epic Kundun, in taking up Hollywood's latest cause célèbre. "I have advocated the cause of the Tibetan government in exile on a number of occasions," says Ford, 55, who spoke with Bill Clinton on the subject (but elects to keep their talk top secret). "We discussed it, but I don't want to represent the President's views." Ford, who next year shoots the Bosnian drama The Age of Aquarius, hasn't been aligned with message movies in the past. "More often than not, films about issues present a movie ending," he says, adding diplomatically: "That may be sufficient for a movie, but not for life."

Pixieish actress Winona Ryder suits up for battle against big, bad space slime in the fourth Alien installment, Alien Resurrection. "When I heard they were talking about casting me, I thought 'Wow, it's like they found the skinniest girl in all of Hollywood and said, 'Let's let monsters chase her around,' " says Ryder, 26, who teams up with a resurrected Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the new film. But the Little Women star didn't take her action-heroine duties lightly. "When I got the role, I figured I better go into some sort of physical training to build muscle," says Ryder. "I started to run and swim and do some rock-climbing. Then I got to the set the first day and I found out that my costume had long sleeves. Oh, well, I needed the stamina anyway."

Tony Danza was quick to hail his former Taxi costar Carol Kane to reprise her Emmy-winning role as Simka on the Dec. 3 episode of his new NBC sitcom, The Tony Danza Show. "To have her on the show sort of legitimizes me and makes me feel better about the whole works," says Danza, 46, who hops a cab ride from Kane's character. "Carol fell right back into There's still a bit of Simka in there, baby." Danza says he could really gear up for a garage reunion with Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner and the rest of the crew from the 1978-83 sitcom. "What I would like is to do another episode of Taxi to see what happened to all those people," he says wistfully. "If everybody came back to play those parts again, it would be a fantasy camp."

Meg Ryan doesn't see much of a resemblance between herself and the title character whose voice she provides in the animated musical Anastasia. "Just some of the bad hair days," says Ryan, 36. "When she is walking around in that raggy coat with the spiky hair, I think, 'That is me going to the supermarket.' " Ryan's son Jack, 5, with husband Dennis Quaid, is having more trouble making the distinction. "We were passing a billboard for the movie," she says, "and Jack goes, 'Is that you?' He doesn't get it." But he likes the fringe benefits. "I am very popular with his little girlfriends because I gave them Anastasia dolls," says Ryan. "Last summer Dennis had a Bowen doll from Dragonheart, and Jack would walk around calling it Daddy Bowen. So now there's Mommy Anastasia."

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