"Being an actor is easier than being a mother," says Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon, 36, who is expecting her second child with her longtime boyfriend, photographer Danny Mozer, later this year. "When I go to work, people wait on me. They bring me food. It feels more like a vacation than being at home trying to get dinner on the table, getting my house clean and keeping my daughter [Samantha, 5] entertained." And how is costar Sarah Jessica Parker, whose first baby with hubby Matthew Broderick is due this fall, managing to teeter around in her infamous mile-high heels? "I'll let you in on a secret," says Nixon. "Manolo [Blahnik shoes] has sent Sarah some slightly lower heels. I'm sure the minute she wears them, they'll be flying out of the stores."
Say My Name, Say My Name...Correctly
You know you've reached megastar status when you need only a single moniker (think Madonna, Cher, Shaq). The problem for Beyoncé Knowles, 20, the lead singer for the girl group Destiny's Child, is its constant mispronunciation. "As a kid, I hated my name," she says. "I ran around screaming, 'Fools, it rhymes with fiancée.' " Better get used to it, since the pop princess is poised to become a movie star with her debut film role as Foxxy Cleopatra, the sexy secret agent in Austin Powers in Goldmember. "I'm getting scared now. I'm seeing posters and realizing I'm in the movie for real," says Beyoncé, who found plenty of fringe benefits playing Austin's 70s-style shagadelic babe. "I had the best shoes, even though they hurt and my skin was ripped off around my legs. And the bras! They were serious."
Raising the Bard
No matter how much prep work Robin Williams does for his comedy routines, sometimes the best shtick comes from the audience. "A guy in Dallas yelled out, 'Robin, have you been to the book suppository?' " says Williams, 51, who spent most of the spring doing stand-up, his first tour in 15 years. "I said, 'No, I prefer books on tape, baby.' Then I started to riff on Shakespeare suppositories: 'Learn while you sleep.' " Williams thrives on the exchanges. "I get a surge of energy," he says. "It's like doing the long program in the figure skating without the French judge. If you get to the end, there's this roar and then you leave."
Filming his role as a submarine captain in K-19: The Widowmaker wasn't without hazards for Liam Neeson. "The first few weeks I did a real good head bang five times a day," says the 6'4" actor, who had trouble adapting to the low sub ceilings. It's not the first time he has worried about his noggin. Two years ago Neeson had a near-fatal collision with a deer while riding his motorcycle in Upstate New York. "My biggest worry was that my head wasn't going to be okay," he says. "I was so happy that I was alive." But Neeson, 50, needed metal pins inserted in his broken pelvis and shattered heel. "If you saw my X-rays, inside I look like Herman Munster," he says. "I can barely get through an airport. They want to interrogate me because I set off every single alarm." His wife, actress Natasha Richardson, hasn't noticed much of a change in the grateful actor, however. "She says that I'm still the same grumpy bastard I was before," says Neeson with a sigh.