Michael Vartan's Alias Sneak Peek

Michael Vartan's Alias Sneak Peek
Michael Vartan
KATHY HUTCHINS /HUTCHINS

updated 12/07/2004 at 10:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/2004 06:00AM

We caught up with Michael Vartan (he was finger-painting. Yes, really. More on that later ...) and got a special peek inside Alias, returning Jan. 5.
What can we expect this season?
A lot more drama. All of the characters are definitely all going through something that's a lot more traumatic – and a lot of action. We've been shooting a lot of great action scenes and fight scenes.
Are you having fun doing the fight scenes?
Yeah. But it gets to the point where it's kind of like, 'All right guys,' because fighting, as fun as it is to do for the first hour, when you're on your 14th hour and it's 6 a.m. on a Saturday, you just want to go home. But it's fun. It's kind of like when you're a kid (and) you dream of being James Bond.
What are you doing to prep for the fight scenes? Are you working with trainers?
No, not really. I play a lot of sports so I'm kind of always in relatively good shape. Our fight coordinators are so good and they make fights on camera that look so elaborate that they are actually pretty easy to do. And we have great stunt doubles when things get a little too complicated. Like, on Monday, I'm fighting this guy who's 6'6", 240 lbs. and, in real life, he could crush me with his hand. But I'm going to take him out and throw him across the room and it's going to look real – well, relatively real.
Has this made you feel like you could take someone on in real life if you had to?
No. The one thing, if I ever get into a fight, is I run very fast. You know, I'm 36. My testosterone levels are lowering. Fighting's just a waste of time. Best case scenario, you don't get hurt and you don't get arrested, right?

So, back to the finger-painting. Vartan, along with Jennifer Garner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Kline, Fred Durst, Sean Hayes and Donald Trump, painted 40 donated Gibson electric guitars, which the Pediatric Epilepsy Project will auction off to benefit UCLA's Pediatric Neurology Department.

Cause Celeb
Bruce Willis broke out of his tough guy persona and showed his tender side when he greeted 40 foster children at the John F. Kennedy community center in Washington, D.C., this week. "You guys are the stars here today," said the Whole Ten Yards actor, in town to announce Fostering a Future, a partnership between the National Foster Care Fund (which he founded) and Capital One. Willis, appointed the national spokesman for children in foster care by President Bush in 2002, said an inspiration for getting involved in this issue is his three daughters, Rumer, 16, Scout, 13, and Tallulah, 10 (with ex-wife Demi Moore). "They are my three favorite people in the world," said Willis. "I like the better man I've become for spending more time with my daughters." He also praised celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Cedric the Entertainer and Jamie Foxx for their efforts promoting the issue. "There are over 500,000 children and youths in the foster care program that need help, and the only way we're going to let people know that they need (it) is by having knuckleheads like me get up here and talk to cameras," said Willis.

Now That's a Focus Group
Makeup artist Mally Roncal isn't testing her new makeup line on animals – in fact, she's trying them out on her celeb clientele, like the ladies of Destiny's Child. "When I started getting samples of my new line, I knew that the people who would really tell me the truth were my clients," says Roncal, who tried out her new lip glosses on Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams at this fall's Fashion Rocks concert at Radio City Music Hall. When Roncal asked her test models what they thought of the look, "Beyonce said, 'I love it!' " she says.

Shall We Dance?
Tim Robbins kicked up his heels and danced flamenco during a recent night out at Madrid hotspot Cafe de Chinitas with Bad Education director Pedro Almodovar, who is co-producing Robbins's latest project, The Secret Life of Words. Almodovar took Robbins just to see some of the flamenco dancers, and the actor decided to give it a go. "He's so spontaneous – he's really up for anything, so he decided to try it," Almodovar tells us. "He was up there dancing with the gypsies." The Secret Life of Words, also starring Sarah Polley and Julie Christie, is filming in Madrid and Northern Ireland.

• By DANA MELTZER, KENNY BROWN, KC BAKER and COURTNEY RUBIN

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