Chuck Arnold
June 15, 1998 12:00 PM

Sailing on

A year after the critical and commercial shipwreck of Speed 2, the tide has turned for Sandra Bullock. “Last summer I was in a film that really stunk, and this year I’m in a film that I’m really proud of,” says Bullock, 33, of her new romantic drama Hope Floats. But even in retrospect, the actress insists she would still sign up to board Speed 2. “Absolutely,” she says. “I had the best life experience on Speed 2. Even though the outcome wasn’t what we expected, I’d do it again.” As an executive producer of Hope Floats, Bullock had an easier time keeping her head above water. “I’ve been producing short [films] and theater for so long that the luxury in producing this was that we had the money,” she says. “So you get what you want to get instead of begging for free things.”

Tooned in

Having starred in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit and costarred in 1991’s Hook, British character actor Bob Hoskins has captivated many a child’s heart. “Once I was at a hotel in Hollywood and this little kid was just standing there in the gift shop,” recalls Hoskins, 55, who teams up with Jessica Lange and Elisabeth Shue in the period drama Cousin Bette, opening June 12. “He followed me in for breakfast, and I said, ‘Do you want to sit down?’ So he sat down in complete silence. The kid just kept staring at me. Eventually his father came over and said, ‘Look, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to see it from his point of view. You’re the only person who has been two places he’d love to go: Toon Town and Never Never Land. He’s hoping if he gets close enough to you, the next time you’ll take him with you.’ ”

TV turn-ons

In The Truman Show, Oscar nominee Ed Harris plays the creator of a hit series that has televised the entire life of an unwitting insurance salesman, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey, see page 35). Could this really happen? “I don’t think it’s that farfetched because people would watch it,” says Harris, 47. “People would love it because we like to watch other people. I think that’s because there are a lot of frightened people on this planet. And it’s much easier to sit down, look at the tube and deal with someone else’s life than to deal with your own.” Still, Harris doubts he’d count himself among The Truman Show’s fans. “I hope I’d have better things to do,” says the costar of 1983’s The Right Stuff and 1995’s Apollo 13. “Like watching shows about space travel.”

Rock on!

Rocker Lenny Kravitz reaches a personal milestone on his fifth album, aptly titled 5. “In this era five albums is a lot,” says Kravitz, 34. “Careers come and go so quickly now. I give thanks that I’m still here.” If 5 is life-affirming, it could be attributed to the 1995 death of Kravitz’s mom, actress Roxie Roker (Helen Willis on The Jeffersons), whom he eulogizes on “Thinking of You.” “It’s a song about somebody passing on, but it’s a happy song,” says Kravitz. “I just wanted her to know that I’m keeping her alive, and that she’s keeping me alive.” And he has a long way to go before hitting the oldies bin. “I’ve only been doing this for 10 years, and already people are like, let’s hear the classic stuff,’ ” says Kravitz. “I’m like, ‘How’d I get there?’ ”

Say goodbye to the road

“It’s time for me to move along, let the young’uns have it,” says Billy Joel, who, in the midst of what he says will be his last tour, teams up with fellow piano man Elton John for an HBO concert, “Face to Face: Live in Vienna,” airing on June 20. “I can’t do the job as well as I used to,” Joel admits. “The body doesn’t work the same way. And here I am singing songs at 49 that I wrote when I was in my 20s and 30s. It’s not the same. And I don’t want to become a parody of myself.”

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