updated 12/22/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Hard to Kill
Alicia Keys has a hard time passing up mementos from her gigs. "The first time I did The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I saved the nameplate that said 'Alicia Keys, which they slide in the door. I saved the one from the Apollo too," says Keys, 23, who's featured on the Sessions@AOL compilation CD. "I have beautiful scrapbooks from fans when I've gone to different states and countries. I definitely save those." The Grammy winner has also suffered the downside of fame—someone else's, that is. "I once saw Steven Seagal perform at the Hard Rock Cafe. He was so into it, he would not get off the stage," says Keys. "I was closing the show and ended up going on at 3:30 in the morning."

Crossing a Feline
Ewan McGregor was careful not to rile one costar in the drama Big Fish: a lion. "[After hearing about Roy Horn], I consider myself very fortunate," says McGregor, 32, whose character briefly joins the circus. "They're wild animals. Even if they're bred in captivity, a part of their brain must say, 'Rrowrr, f—-off!'" The actor even puts his noggin inside the lion's maw. "They built a prosthetic lion head for that. But in the next shot, there's a real lion sitting right behind me," says McGregor. "The trainer told me, 'Don't annoy it in anyway' But [director Tim Burton] wanted it to roar. So I was busy not annoying it, while a foot behind me [the trainer] kept tapping it on the head with a stick to make it roar."

Sitting This One Out
Riffing off his infamous persona in Something's Gotta Give, a romantic comedy about an inveterate womanizer who dates ladies half his age, Jack Nicholson became a bit nostalgic. "A younger woman is not necessarily for me," says Nicholson, 66. "I'm pretty old, so almost everyone is younger. I won't pretend that I haven't been a rogue most of my life, because I have and would still be if I had the energy. I sat in a restaurant recently, and I could've knocked off 2,000 of them—every age, and their mothers too. Bight now, though, I just can't do the dance. And if I bother, they've got to be a good dancer."

Stuck on Two
Having recently played a homicide detective in Out of Time, Eva Mendes turns up in the dumb blonde role in the new comedy Stuck on You. "I was so happy not to have to hold a gun or give the smoldering look. I got to be a goofball," says Mendes, 29, of matching wits with costars Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, who play conjoined twins. "The sarcasm kicked in, and we started offending each other within five minutes. There weren't any quiet moments. Some actors isolate themselves, but after a scene, they wouldn't go back to their trailers. Then again, I guess they couldn't because they were attached."

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