Insider

updated 08/18/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/18/2003 01:00AM

The South of France is the hot place for Hollywood stars this summer. Too hot, as it turns out. Last week a vacationing Lisa Kudrow, along with husband Michel Stern and their son Julian Murray, 5, had to evacuate themselves from their rented villa in the port town of Sainte-Maxime after brushfires surrounded the village. The Friends star and her family took refuge on a nearby beach. But even at night, in blacked-out conditions, Kudrow couldn't escape the spotlight. When local teens spotted the actress, they immediately asked for autographs. "She didn't expect to be recognized," says an eyewitness. "She was very surprised."

Will Gwen Stefani's stage presence hold up onscreen? Martin Scorsese thinks so: He has cast the No Doubt lead singer as '30s film legend Jean Harlow in The Aviator, his biopic of Howard Hughes starring Leonardo DiCaprio. "I'm already getting really bad stomachaches," says Stefani, who begins filming the role next week in Montreal. She hasn't taken any acting lessons but has been studying Harlow's old films. One positive sign: The name of Harlow's character in 1931's The Public Enemy was Gwen. Says Stefani: "I thought that was so cool."

Love is not just a score on the men's tennis tour. This week at the Tennis Masters Canada, in Montreal, Mandy Moore, Minnie Driver and Tara Reid are cheering on their beaux. Moore, of course, is dating Andy Roddick, while the 33-year-old Driver is seeing 20-year-old American ace Robby Ginepri. But the newest mixed-doubles team is Reid and Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis. I hear they met last month in L.A. at a party pals threw for him to celebrate his unexpected run at Wimbledon. Maybe they'll all show up at the U.S. Open—Moore, Driver and Reid, that is.

Jennifer Tilly got an engagement ring more than a month ago, but she didn't actually get engaged until recently, she tells me. Confused? Well, so was Tilly when her boyfriend of eight months, hotel and restaurant designer Dodd Mitchell, bought her a 4.5—carat canary-yellow diamond ring—but didn't propose. "Let's just take it for a test run," he told her, suggesting they get used to the idea. Finally, over dinner a couple of weeks ago, Dodd popped the question. Says Tilly, who is divorced from producer Sam Simon: "I swore I'd never marry again, but the minute I met Dodd I wanted to marry him because he makes me so happy."

FAST TAKES

Julia Roberts tagged along to husband Danny Moder's Aug. 2 Malibu West Burnout Reunion, held for people who grew up in the beachside enclave....

Despite reports of their engagement, Austin Powers's Verne Troyer (Mini-Me) and his 6'2" girlfriend, yoga instructor Genevieve Gallen, have actually split up....

Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly, who recently broke off their engagement, "are still together," a source close to the actress says....

Michael Vartan, Jennifer Garner's Alias costar, visited her in New York City, where she is filming 13 Going on 30, fueling rumors of a romance.

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