Stephen Miller

Ben Kingsley's Triumph

It didn't take much arm-twisting for Ben Kingsley to star in Clare Peploe's gender-bending romantic comedy Triumph of Love. He plays crotchety 18th-century philosopher Hemocrates, who's anti-women and decidedly anti-love — that is, until tricky co-star Mira Sorvino seduces him. Hemocrates falls hard, which is what made Kingsley fall in love with the part.

"Coming from the theater, I thought, 'Do I really want to do another play on film?'" he tells TV Guide Online. "[But] the script read beautifully and I really liked my character very much. He was very empowered, and then he loses all his power, then gets it back by learning something."

Naturally, the Oscar read more

Mira Sorvino's Sexy Sex Change!

Set in the 18th century, director Clare Peploe's Triumph of Love stars Mira Sorvino as a princess posing as a young gentleman. In this gender-bending comedy — opening today — she must charm the pants off co-stars Ben Kingsley, Fiona Shaw and Jay Rodan, slipping in and out of male/female personas to get her way in a royal intrigue.

To get a leg up on her character's seductive, macho alter ego, Sorvino turned to an "enterprising" TV hero for inspiration. "I have to say the most prevalent persona in my Phocion character is read more

MTV Stud Knows No Boundaries

Troy Hartman is "outdoorsy" alright. A world-ranked skysurfer, skier, snowboarder and X-Games champ, he's also done extreme stunts on MTV's Senseless Acts of Violence. So the 27-year-old Californian daredevil is perfect to host the WB's No Boundaries (debuting March 3).

Here's the sitch: With $100,000 and a brand new SUV at stake, 15 thrill-seeking strangers embark on a 30-day, 2000-mile trek to the Arctic Circle. Every 48 hours, the group designates a new leader — who not only navigates his or her team through the day's perils, but must also boot off one team member. "I hated to see any of them go," Hartman says. "It was always kind of a bummer."

That Survivor-esque twist aside, Hartman denies that No Boundaries will thrive on the typical villainy and treachery so common in reality TV. "It's really an upbeat, leadership, teamwor read more

LL Cool J Unwraps

He's a founding member of rap and hip-hop, but there's a tony club into which emerging thespian LL Cool J is eager to be rushed. "I want to be in the fraternity of actors," he tells TV Guide Online. "I want to be accepted by the media and the other actors as a person [who] really does act and does his job as an actor. Right now, my dream and my focus is to one day be on the A-list."

Well, the 33-year-old Queens, N.Y. native is about to take a step closer to joining the ranks of the Hollywood elite. After landing supporting roles in such films as Any Given Sunday, Deep Blue Sea and In Too Deep, LL moves front and center in the family dramedy Kingdom Come (opening Wednesday). "This was the biggest stretch that I've made as an actor, and the biggest step that I've taken," he says of the pic, which also stars Whoopi Goldberg, Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox.

Even though he hasn't abandoned his music career — his read more

Marlo Thomas: A Woman of Independent Means

Much like her That Girl alter ego, Ann Marie, a young and prescient Marlo Thomas knew about "Girl Power" long before the Spice Girls hit the scene.

"I remember thinking at a very early age, 'I'm always going to know where I'm going,'" she says in a Lifetime Intimate Portrait airing tonight (7 pm/ET). "Nobody's ever going to say to me 'What does she know? Where is she going to go?'"

As the single-minded daughter of legendary entertainer Danny Thomas and a junior member of Hollywood royalty, where Thomas went was straight into the family business. And in the early '60s — buoyed by a breakout performance in the London stage production of Barefoot in the Park — television beckoned.

"The head of ABC at the time called me in and, just like the old story, said 'Kid, you can be a TV star. I'm gonna find a series for you.'" Unfortunately, he didn't have a concept — but Thomas did. "There [was] all this stuff happening in t read more

Unrest in the Nest

Park Overall, who played feisty, opinionated and down-home nurse Laverne Todd on the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, says she squawked and ruffled quite a few feathers during the show's seven-year run (1988-95).

"I was extraordinarily difficult," Overall admits in a Lifetime Intimate Portrait, airing tonight (7 pm/ET). "But [executive producer] Paul Witt was able to handle me."

Overall let it be known from the get-go that Laverne would not be portrayed as yet another stereotypical Southern country bumpkin. "I had a hard time with what I call "not reality-based stuff" — things that [the writers] would make me do that were just hillbilly stuff, which drives me completely over the edge. I would fight to keep some integrity to the kind of character I was playing and keep it from being Hee Haw, which I did. But it wasn't easy."

Her tenacity paid off, and Laverne emerged as one of the show's most beloved characters — Tennessee acce read more

Lopez Talks About Man Troubles

When she's not on location shooting a film or in the recording studio making an album, Jennifer Lopez enjoys chilling with her homegirls. And what do they talk about? Well, men of course.

"When girls get in a room all they talk about is relationships," says the girlfriend of Sean "Puffy" Combs. "Just so you know guys, that's what we do all the time. You know that's it for us — guys, relationships, problems and stuff."

In fact, the booty-licious star of The Cell reveals that the tracks on her sophomore album, A Passionate Journey, due to hit stores in October, are inspired by those all-girl, bare-all share fests.

"I realized when I'm working and then when me and the girls get together, that's what we do," she says. "We complain about this, she tells me about her thing, I tell her about mine. The other one's happy because she got roses, whatever. So the album is going to be about girls talking and stuff like that."

Lopez says Jou read more

John Travolta Stays Tuned

Celebrity pilot, hubby, father and busy actor John Travolta fesses up that when he's not navigating the friendly skies to unwind, one of his earthly pleasures ? besides eating whatever he wants ? is manning the controls of his TV's remote, surfing shows that would make any good "sweat hog" proud.

"Sometimes Kelly will catch me watching a Spanish station that I don't understand. Not music or anything, but a talk show in Spanish," Travolta reveals in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping, referring to his wife, actress Kelly Preston. "I don't know why I like listening to a language I don't understand, but I do."

He goes on to say he's also gotten channel-busted by his wife in the midst of watching programs produced domestically in his native tongue. "She'll find me tuning into those odd home shows on public television that teach you how to do something at home that you're never going to do."

Travolta further feeds his boob-tube habit by admitting to b read more

Malcolm Mom's Toilet Tale

Perhaps the reason Malcolm in the Middle's Jane Kaczmarek is so convincing as a harried mom on the Fox series is because she herself grew up in a family with four kids ? and one toilet.

"Until I was finished with sixth grade, we grew up in a house in Milwaukee, with four kids and my mom and my dad," she tells TV Guide Channel. "We had one bathroom, which is what the family in Malcolm has, which [we] never thought was odd. There was a toilet in the basement. You learned to really function very cooperatively with one toilet, and it just seemed like the most normal thing in the world.

"I love that that is the case on Malcolm, because I think a lot of people grew up that way," she says. "There's a certain familiarity about that."

Kaczmarek recently did double mom duty on Malcolm and Felicity, playing the mom of Julie (Amy Jo Johnson) on the teen drama. "I'm addicted to Felicity," she says. "I think Keri Russell read more

Flakes Flock Biggs

Ever since Jason Biggs got intimate with an apple-filled treat in American Pie, women don't strike up a conversation with the baby-faced up-and-comer by asking "What's your sign?" when he goes out in public. Some of the come-on lines he's heard are flaky and downright pie-eyed.

"A girl came up to me in a crowded bar and actually said, 'I'd love to be your apple pie tonight,' " he tells Maxim. His response? "Frankly, I was too stunned. I wish I'd said something cool back to her, like 'Well, OK, you got any ice cream?' "

Biggs takes the jokes about baked goods ? plain or à la mode ? in stride, however, no matter how stale they get. "I'll be at a restaurant and some guy will totally crack himself up by saying, 'Hey, did you order the pie for dessert?' They expect me to convulse with laughter, like 'Wow, no one's ever said that before.' At the same time I understand, because he can tell his buddies, 'I met the American Pie read more

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