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updated 06/02/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Gall in the Family
In the comedy The In-Laws, Albert Brooks plays a mild-mannered father of the bride whose world collides with that of the groom's CIA-operative dad, played by Michael Douglas. In real life Brooks knows about going to extremes to bond with in-laws. "My father-in-law is a surgeon," says Brooks, 55, who wed Dr. Leonard Shlain's daughter Kimberly, 37, in 1997. "Three weeks before the wedding, he took out my gallbladder. I joked, 'Open me up and take what you want. It's a gesture.' Later he called Kimberly and said, 'I've seen everything. You can marry the guy.' "

Uneasy on the Eyes
Renée Zellweger shed a few tears as a lovelorn '60s author in Down with Love, but they weren't tears of emotion. "I'll tell you, they weren't thinking about comfort in the shoe department back then," says Zellweger, 34, who costars with Ewan McGregor in the romantic comedy. "I also have an allergy to false eyelashes, but every day we had to put fake ones on. I'd pry them off and my eyeballs would swell up." The irritations made the actress see the present more clearly. "I thought about Marilyn Monroe and the ingenues of the day," says Zellweger, "and I'm glad that I do not have to do that every day."

Prehistoric Chic
British comedian Eddie Izzard knew he was a transvestite when he was 4, but it's taken him a lifetime to find his dream shoes. "I just bought a $1,500 pair of Prada heels," says Izzard, 41, a Tony nominee for his role in Broadway's A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. "They're simulated crocodile skin, they're 3½ in. high, and they're the first pair to make my calves work. I'm actually built for hunting mammoth." Of course, if Izzard were a caveman, he's sure that his fashion sense wouldn't devolve. "I'd put charcoal around my eyes and say, 'I just think it makes my eyes kick more when I hunt,' " says Izzard, who's set to start a 16-city North American comedy tour this August. "If the others say, 'Well, the mammoths are going to see you coming,' I'd say, 'No, they'll just think I'm stylish.' "

Like Mother, Like Son
Although he and his wife, actress Jennifer Connelly, 32, are expecting their first child together, a son, in August, Paul Bettany has no fears of fatherhood. "Everyone was saying, 'You're going to freak out when Jennifer's four months pregnant,' " says Bettany, 32. "We're at six months now, and I've been really calm. I even bought a brilliant onesie that said, 'Make poo, not war,' which I adore." The British actor, who will costar with Russell Crowe in the high-seas drama Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, hopes his son draws more from Mom's gene pool than dear old Dad's. "Clearly, I'd like for him to have a penis. Apart from that, I hope he thinks and looks like his mother and inherits none of my traits," says Bettany. "Otherwise he'd get my pasty pale skin."

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