It may be the millennium of the nip and tuck, but Susan Sarandon says beauty is all about attitude. "It is a reflection of intelligence, curiosity and openness," says the actress, 54, who offers some sage advice on aging in the new anthology Fifty Celebrate Fifty. "I don't see anyone on the cover of Vogue who is necessarily what I consider sexy. I don't think in those terms." So how does she stay positive about aging? "I don't live in Hollywood, and that makes it easier," says Sarandon, who makes her home in New York City with longtime love Tim Robbins and children Miles, 9, Jack, 12, and Eva, 16. "And I don't walk around always feeling 100 percent accepting of myself. There are days when everything about me is gray." She gets an emotional lift on the rare occasions when her daughter, an aspiring actress, allows her to help navigate the entertainment biz. "The other day Eva was going through the process of getting an agent," says Sarandon, next starring in The Banger Sisters with her daughter. "And for once I did know something more than she did."
Not the Master of his Domain
In his new comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, Josh Hartnett plays a technogeek who gives up all sexual contact with girls—including hugging and kissing—for Lent, a feat the actor decided to attempt before filming began to get into character. "I set aside a little time to do it for myself," says Hartnett, 23. "It wasn't fun. I wasn't shaking and delirious as it manifests itself in the film, but I felt kind of trapped. People don't realize how much contact they have with someone. Like, hugging girls is second nature to me. it's not something I thought about an awful lot until I couldn't do it." His castmate Shannyn Sossaman didn't make sticking to his pledge any easier. "She dragged us to a strip club," says Hartnett, who also stars in Black Hawk Down. "It was right in the middle of my own personal vow.. so she thought it would be funny." How did he do? "I didn't track it exactly because I knew I wouldn't last 40 days giving up something that extreme, but it was a couple of weeks. I lasted as long as I could before I was like, 'This is sadomasochistic.'"
Going to the Chapel
Mel Gibson was so nervous about meeting the Vietnam War hero he portrays in his new drama We Were Soldiers that, like many men on the battlefield, the first thing he did was pray. Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, remembers his unusual first meeting with the Oscar winner. "I got a call saying, 'Come to Mel Gibson's house in California,'" says Moore, 80, who, like Gibson, is Catholic. "The first thing we did was go to mass in his private chapel, and it was in Latin. Then he took me to his favorite mom-and-pop barbecue joint. It was basically the perfect day." Gibson confesses he wanted to meet Moore in his oratory for one simple reason. "I was so nervous that I didn't know what to do in order to impress this man," says Gibson, 46. "I needed a little divine intervention."
Dos and Don'ts
According to Bo Derek, tonsorial history should never repeat itself. "What you wear once in fashion when you are young, you shouldn't wear again," says Derek, 45, whose cornrow braids in the 1979 comedy 10 helped make her a sex symbol. But she breaks that rule to play herself in Master of Disguise, Dana Carvey's comedy due Aug. 16. "It's brutal on your looks, that hairdo," says the actress, whose new memoir is Riding Lessons. "It's harsh and unforgiving. You don't get away with anything because it reveals everything. It really surprised me that it caught on." While filming Disguise, she had to wear cornrows for two weeks. Says Derek: "I wanted to wear a sign on my head that said, 'Honestly, I am not going through a midlife crisis,' because I definitely looked like it."
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