11/15/2004 at 01:00 AM EST
When the opportunity presented itself to have a one-night stand with Jude Law
, "every woman in Hollywood wanted to do it," says Nia Long. She got lucky. Cast as an object of lothario Law's affection in Alfie
, Long racks up the movie's steamiest scene as a game of pool with the charming playboy turns horizontal. Alas, her character already has a love interest—Alfie's
best friend. Long isn't so easily seduced. "There are Alfies out there," she says, but "I'm at a place in my life where I know what I want on all fronts."
And she's getting it. In addition to Alfie
, Long, 34, has regular gigs as a cop on NBC's Third Watch
and a single mother to her son Massai, 3, a whiz at soccer and scrubbing sinks too. Says his mom: "I'm anal about having a clean house." Not to mention a solid home. Herself raised by a single mom, artist Talita, amid the gang violence of South Central L.A. (the subject of her first major film, 1991's Boyz N the Hood
), Long was taught by her family that "you don't have to become your environment" After turns in movies such as Boiler Room
and Big Momma's House
, her environment in Manhattan suits her fine. Massai is close to his father, Long's former fiancé Massai Dorsey, 33, a businessman. "He's a great dad," says Long, who's now unattached. And "the security I have with my Third Watch
family is priceless." If only so many scenes weren't shot outside in the patrol car. Says Long with a laugh: "The New York winter kills me."