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updated 12/15/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/1997 01:00AM

SCARLET FEVER
"I like scary movies, but I hate the scary parts," says Courteney Cox Arquette, 33, who reprises her role as tabloid TV reporter Gale Weathers in Scream 2, opening-Dec. 12. "I've seen the original Scream three times, and I still close my eyes at all that bloody stuff. There is no way I can look. I was there. I had that blood poured on me during the takes, and enough is enough." But what really makes the Friends star scream isn't a killer plasma attack. "Bad drivers make me yell," says Cox. "You'd think I was a 300-pound man who goes to Gold's Gym every day the way I scream at people when I'm behind the wheel. I'm horrible." Still, Cox is careful not to provoke any highway slashers. "I usually scream with all my windows up," she says. "I could never have a convertible."

CLINT'S NOTES
John Cusack, who last starred in Con Air, did not pick up John Berendt's bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, until he was cast in director Clint Eastwood's big-screen adaptation. "I didn't want to read the book, get all jazzed and have Clint go with another actor," says Cusack, 31, who plays the narrator. "So I just read the script. When the offer came, I started the book." Working with Eastwood had an impact on Cusack. "It's great when you get to work with some of these older icons, and they're doing it right," he says. "Instead of becoming miserly or paranoid, they're gracious. It's the right use of power." Cusack could handle a little more Hollywood power. "I always wanted those number crunchers to say, 'We want him in our movie.' Then Con Air made 200 million bucks. Those are the movies that put you up in Brad Pitt land."

BRAWN BEFORE BRAINS
British actor Daniel Day-Lewis had no motivational problems whupping himself into shape to play a prizefighter-turned-IRA-member in The Boxer, a drama opening Dec. 31. "I've been training to play a fighter since I was a boy," says Day-Lewis, 40, who suffered a few black eyes and bloody noses during filming. "I was always the skinny boy who got beat up at school. Maybe this movie is my way of getting even." Having won an Oscar for his cerebral turn in 1989's My Left Foot and a nomination for 1993's In the Name of the Father, Day-Lewis says his image as the thinking woman's sex symbol is just a lot of raging bull. "God had a sense of humor when he gave me this nose," he says. "It goes with a face that looks like it's capable of profound thought—when I'm really thinking, 'When can I get on my bike?' "

LONELY HEARTS CLUB
Her debut album, Pieces of You, may be seven-times platinum and counting, but folk-rocker Jewel Kilcher says she has been stone out of luck wrhen it comes to meeting men. "I'll be doing a show in Paris and see all these beautiful guys and know that I'll never get to talk to them because they'll never find me," says Jewel, 23. "They'll never talk to me, they'll never come up to me. It's okay, though it is kind of ironic." Prospective Jewel suitors can get some insight into her pop psyche when both the book of poems and memoir-scrapbook she has signed to write are published next year. "My thoughts aren't that original, my emotions aren't that original," she concedes. "Everybody has thought what I've thought. It's not like I'm harboring some hidden human emotion that no one else has had and I better keep it to myself."

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