updated 04/02/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/02/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT
"I am Mr. HBO lately," says Steven Van Zandt, 50, who plays mobster Silvio Dante in the cable network's hit series The Sopranos. He also appears with his former gang on the channel's Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, a concert tape culled from the group's recent reunion tour, airing on April 7. "With the E Street Band, it was even better the second time around," says Van Zandt of the group, which had disbanded in 1989. "So I'm telling you right now, the day that The Sopranos ends, whenever it comes, I'm going to be thinking, 'We'll take five years off, and we'll come back.' Why not? We've broken every rule in the Hollywood playbook with this show, so we'll break another one. I can't relate to great things ending."
"It's right out of a corny movie," says Don McLean, 55, whose 1971 hit "American Pie" was just declared the fifth-best song of the 20th Century. (Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" topped the list released by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America.) "I'm not Mickey Mantle, but maybe I'm Roger Maris. You don't have a sensational career, but you are definitely in the book." Yet the honor is lost on his two kids, ages 8 and 11. To them, the coolest thing Dad ever did was work with song parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic, who spoofed "American Pie" in his Star Wars-themed cult hit "The Saga Begins." "My kids get asked about their father at school because of the song," says McLean, "and that's a thrill."
With no toy merchandising planned for her new drama The Tailor of Panama, opening March 30, Jamie Lee Curtis is stuck with her figurine from the 1999 flop Virus. "It was fun at the time, although it was such a bad movie," says Curtis, 42, of the sci-fi thriller about killer aliens. "The idea that the doll is associated with that is pathetic. It's not like Star Wars, where the action figures go with some cool stuff. My figure, sadly, is about as lifelike as a Barbie doll, but you can swivel the parts around and have the butt be in front. It's fun to have my butt in front." Better yet, says Curtis, who's married to This Is Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest, "Spinal Tap now has action figures, so Chris and I could probably take pictures of our action figures together."
Rachel Weisz got down and dirty to play a soldier in the World War II film Enemy at the Gates. "I called it the make-down trailer," she says. "There were boxes of dust. Before a take, Jean-Jacques [Annaud, the director] would take some mud and put it on you. It was very liberating." Weisz, 30, also loosened up for an awkward love scene with Jude Law, which takes places in a bunker while the pair are surrounded by sleeping soldiers. "If you're in love with a man during a war, you're not alone," she says. "Where do you take an intimate moment? You can't go outside. There was no Motel Stalingrad."
In both X-Men and Someone Like You, his upcoming romantic comedy with Ashley Judd, Aussie actor Hugh Jackman can't seem to keep his shirt on. And now, with the help of Meg Ryan, his costar in the comedy Kate & Leopold, currently filming in New York City, he's found a new way to keep his abs ready for a closeup. "Meg's really turned me on to yoga. I'm becoming a fanatic. I may end up like Sting," says Jackman, 32, explaining that a pal sat behind the yoga-obsessed rock star on a recent flight to London. "All [my friend] could see was two legs sticking up in the air. He looked over the seat, and there was Sting doing yoga—for hours! So if you see long, hairy legs on a plane, it could be me."