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Call of the wild

Alicia Silverstone, who busted the bad guys as Batgirl in last year’s Batman & Robin, strikes a blow for endangered animals as host of Wildlife Vet, airing July 12 on TBS. The actress filmed part of the special in Zimbabwe, where she was in her element. “I wasn’t scared of any animals, I’m only scared of humans,” says Silverstone, 21. “Plus, I’m not a very glamorous girl. No makeup, no froufrou stuff. I loved it.” Silverstone also prefers roughing it to winging it in her rubberized Batgirl costume. “I hated that thing,” she says. “It was painful, painful. I never want to get in that thing again.” Not that Silverstone is ruling out a future Bat-sequel: “Maybe I’ll wear a little thin cotton dress this time.”

True believer

His second novel, the No. 1 bestseller I Know This Much Is True, has made him only the second author to be selected twice by Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, but Wally Lamb hasn’t made any dedications to the talk show queen. “I’m very grateful to Oprah, but I haven’t named anything after her,” says Lamb, 47, with a laugh. Now there may be another windfall in the Lamb household, thanks to Winfrey. “When she called the first time in regards to She’s Come Undone, she left a message on my machine,” says Lamb. “And my son Justin was bringing all of the kids in the neighborhood in to hear Oprah‘s voice. I told her about it, and she got a kick out of that. Then the next time she called, she also left a message for Justin. She said, ‘You know, I think you should start charging money. You should get 50 cents from the neighborhood kids to listen to this one.’ ”

Strip tease

So what happened to David Duchovny’s much-ballyhooed butt shot in the hit movie version of The X-Files? In fact, the big scene “was hardly a nude scene,” says X-Files creator and chief conspirator Chris Carter, 41. “He got out of his hospital bed, his hospital gown flapped open, and you saw his white butt. The camera that captured that was at a bad angle—not for David’s butt, but for storytelling—so the shot got cut out of the movie.” Even so, Carter hopes that a still of the lost shot may become a valuable asset one day. “I actually have a picture of that framed, given to me by one of the editors,” he says. “I don’t know why he gave it to me. It’s not something I’d put on my wall.”

Saving face

Costarring in the big-budget asteroid flick Armageddon was a humbling experience for unlikely action hero Steve Buscemi. “I tripped and I had a swollen knee for a while,” says the Brooklyn-born Buscemi, 40, who plays an oil driller turned astronaut. “It was a case of an overzealous actor getting the chance to do something physical and trying too hard. You know, we were saving the world.” Saving his hometown image was an even bigger mission for Buscemi. “When I saw my movie poster, I called my manager and said, ‘Could we maybe not have these put up in Brooklyn?’ ” he says. “It’s just too embarrassing to see myself on a bus shelter. And I don’t want to have to see my face graffitied.”

Brace yourself

Ben Stiller really sank his teeth into his role as a thirtysomething writer still hung up on his high school sweetheart in the romantic comedy There’s Something About Mary, due July 15, To play his character at 16, Stiller endured the adolescent angst of getting braces. “They found an orthodontist who makes this plastic biteplate with fake braces to show kids what they’ll look like,” says Stiller, 32. “I had to sit there in the waiting room with three 12-year-old kids.” Stiller, who never wore braces as a teen, says the experience left a bad taste. “It was disgusting,” he says. “The makeup artist soaked them in dental fluid between takes because they tasted gross.” But the prop helped Stiller feel his character’s pain. “The braces totally change how you talk,” he says, “so you don’t have to really act—you just talk with the braces in. They were like a gift from the Teenage Awkward God.”