The fifth season of The Sopranos, which kicks off March 7, may provide viewers with metaphorical Kleenex: "It's so well-timed with Sex and the City leaving the air. We're helping people out of mourning," jokes Edie Falco, 40, who watches the Mob drama on Sunday nights with pals. "We film the show in segments, so the only way I see an episode is to watch it like everyone else. The toughest thing is my friends begging to know what happens. My parents are the absolute worst. They'll say, 'Honey, we won't tell anyone. We promise.' But they'd be on the phone in two seconds, saying, 'Do you know what Edie told us about next week?'"
Tub of Lard
Getting whupped on a regular basis didn't stop Omar Epps from eschewing a stuntman for his fight scenes in Against the Ropes, the ringside drama costarring Meg Ryan. "We wanted it to be authentic, so I took some lumps, bruises and rib shots," says Epps, 30, a boxing fan who trained five hours a day for six weeks. "The first day we shot I had aches and pains, but I thought, 'If you give in to this now, this is going to be one hell of a long shoot.' So I went on an adrenaline rush and didn't let myself relax until I was sure that we had no reshoots. Then I got cheesecakes and a big, fat keg of beer, sat in the tub, took the phone off the hook and nursed my wounds."
Michelle Rodriguez no longer thinks that wearing real fur is a big deal. "At first it was a conflict for me. I used to cry about animals being killed," says Rodriguez, 25, who costars in the upcoming thriller Control. "Then I said to myself, 'What's the difference between a cow, a bunny and a chinchilla? One's cuter than the other? One's edible and one's not?' I'm not about fashion—I'm about what feels good. We throw away millions and millions of pounds of food a year. I figure one of each type of skin in my lifetime is not going to kill me. It won't make me evil."
Best Supported Actors
The awards season hasn't been easy for expectant mom Marcia Gay Harden, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in Mystic River. But the twins seem to enjoy their prenatal red-carpet outings. "The more people yell, the more the babies move. They're not insulated in there," says Harden, 44, due this spring. (She and husband Thaddaeus Scheel, a filmmaker, also have a daughter, Eulala, 5.) "They hear sounds, but it's very distant." The twins have been getting clearer signals at home. "My friend Ellen Burstyn gave me these two speakers the size of quarters you attach to your belly," says Harden, "so I can play the babies CDs. Then they wiggle around a wee bit."