"It's great. I loved it," deadpans Helen Hunt, 37, about weathering media reports in August on her split with husband Hank Azaria. "Everything has a downside, and there are things about being famous that are great and things that are really hard." Hunt, who hits screens in two Christmas films—Mel Gibson's comedy What Women Want and Tom Hanks's drama Cast Away—realizes that not all celebs are as weary of living in a fishbowl as she is. "I don't love it, but people might like it more than me," she says, adding, "It would be hard to like it less than me."
William Petersen isn't worried about succumbing to the pull of Sin City while he's in Las Vegas filming his hit CBS drama CSI. "I stopped gambling quite a while ago, so it's not a temptation to me, but I can't promise that the grips won't be over there at the tables," says the film veteran, 47. Petersen's heavy workload—he is also a producer on the forensics show—isn't pleasing his handlers, who are itching to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the fall's highest-rated new drama. "My agents are like, 'Okay, what are we going to do next?' " he says. "I said, 'We're going to do this.' I'm 24/7 till June, and I'd like to see my family and return some telephone calls at some point."
I've Let Go My Ego
Bruce Willis insists that, contrary to public perception, his string of hit films and S20 million paychecks haven't gone to his shaved head. "I work every day on not taking my fame seriously," says Willis. "Fame is just your subjective opinion of who I am. Whatever you read about, whether it's Bruce Willis the troublemaker, or Bruce Willis the family man, it has little to do with who I am as a man or as a father." The Unbreakable star, 45, also dismisses reports that he is snooty to fans. "I like to talk to people," he says, "and I talk about other things besides how famous I am."
Alec Baldwin was as nervous as a seventh grader walking into his first locker room when he worked with Sarah Jessica Parker on the comedy State and Main, due Dec. 22. "I had to take my shirt off in a scene with her," says Baldwin, 42. "And she was describing this one actor she I worked with who really had bad B.O. So for the rest of the day, I was obsessed, like, 'Oh my God, I wonder if I smell!' " Baldwin, who has been lobbying for a chance to guest star on Parker's HBO series Sex and the City, doesn't want to wind up in a deodorant commercial instead. "I wonder if Sarah Jessica is going to be like, 'What was it like working with Alec? Well, he smelled kind of bad.' "
Chicago native Chris O'Donnell had an
edge over his castmates while filming the mountain-climbing thriller Vertical Limit in New Zealand. "Everyone was complaining about how cold it was, but I've felt worse weather in Chicago," says O'Donnell, 30, who didn't mind the Southern Alps' frigid conditions. His cliff-hanging adventures didn't faze wife Caroline, who had her own challenge to cope with: Their daughter Lily, now 15 months, was born during filming (their second child, Chris Jr., arrived Oct. 24). "I was more nervous about the pregnancy, the baby and her," he says, "than she was nervous about me strapped on the side of a mountain 3,000 feet in the air."