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Dean Cain, the steely star of ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, looks great in tights, but he also cuts a mighty fine figure packing heat. That’s what he did this summer playing an ex-Green Beret in the action-adventure movie Independence, due next spring. “I got to stalk someone, drive a bus, shoot a lot of guns. I’m the arms expert, the gun carrier,” says Cain, 30, of his first major feature film role. “I get to clean house in one scene, firing off 25 or 30 rounds in a matter of seconds, moving back and forth between guns. Boom, boom, boom, boom.” How did he feel, wielding all that firepower? “Very comfortable,” says Cain. “It’s more comfortable for me than putting on the cape, no question about it.”


Valerie Bertinelli is a lesbian fighting her own mother (Vanessa Redgrave) for custody of her son in Two Mothers for Zachary, an ABC movie airing Sept. 22. Playing another martyred mother figure gives Bertinelli, 36, a sense of déjà vu. “We’re going to have to count,” she says with a laugh, “to see how many children I’ve lost in my career, starting with One Day at a Time, where I couldn’t have children.” One Day’s Barbara Cooper suffered from infertility, but Bertinelli’s TV movie characters have lived through much more. Her son was kidnapped in Rockabye (1986), custody of a daughter was revoked in Taken Away (1989), and a nephew was rescued from his murderous father’s family in In a Child’s Name (1991). Finally in February, Bertinelli, who in real life has a son, Wolfgang, 5, with rocker-hubby Eddie Van Halen, gets off the mommy track in Night Sins, a CBS-TV movie. “I’m not playing the woman that the child gets taken from,” she says. “I’m playing the cop that tries to find the woman’s child.”


When Lea Thompson’s producers of NBC’s Caroline in the City suggested to the star that she get a zippier hairdo for the new season, starting Sept. 17, Thompson, 34, happily chopped off her shoulder-length tresses. “It’s easier to fix,” she says of her short bob. “I look better when I’m just grunging around at the grocery store.” But her daughter Madeline, 5, took one look and said, “Well, it will grow back.” Mom—who’s married to Grumpier Old Men director Howard Deutch—is preparing the pint-size critic for this season’s shows. “She doesn’t like it when I kiss other guys. It really makes her mad,” Thompson says. “I had to explain to her that I would be kissing a new guy on the show this year. I say, ‘Mommy loves Daddy, but this is her job.’ ”


Drag queen RuPaul, 35, is living his 1993 cult hit song “Supermodel (You Better Work).” Currently the spokesmodel for chic M.A.C. cosmetics, he also plays a guidance counselor in A Very Brady Sequel and, next month, launches a new album, Foxy Lady, and a late-night chatfest, The RuPaul Show, on VH1. His interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, Eartha Kitt and Dennis Rodman (“He is a good kisser; let’s leave it at that,” says RuPaul, who exchanges a lip-smacker with the Chicago Bulls star) are already in the can. As for his costuming, the notorious cross-dresser doesn’t think he’ll confuse anybody with his sequined sheaths and high heels. “I never feel that I dress as a woman,” he says. “I dress as a drag queen because you know women don’t dress the way I dress. It’s too uncomfortable.”