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Back to her future

In the NBC miniseries A Will of Their Own, airing Oct. 18-19, Caroline in the City’s Lea Thompson ages from 17 to 88, thanks to the wonders of makeup. “I play a good old lady—I’ve got my future all set up for that,” says Thompson, 37, who also wore aging makeup to play Michael J. Fox’s mother in 1985’s Back to the Future. “When I’m old, I still look like me. But it would be scary if I couldn’t take the makeup off. It’s scary to my daughter [Madeline, 7]. She tells me, ‘Makeup is supposed to make you look better, not older.’ ”


Dan Aykroyd, who provided the voice of a love-struck wasp in the movie Antz, says there are pluses and minuses to that kind of work. The good news: “You don’t have to worry about weight loss—or gain,” says Aykroyd, 46. “You’re really able to hide behind the character.” The bad news: You have no control over how you look. Regarding his own transformation into an insect, Aykroyd is bugged by only one thing: “I thought they made my stinger too short.”

Fit for a Queen

So how did Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, acquire her regal moniker? “It was a custom for kids in my [East Orange] New Jersey neighborhood to take a new name,” says Latifah, 28, who costars with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the romantic drama Living Out Loud, due Oct. 30. “We were never satisfied with the names our parents gave us.” The rapper-actress pulled Latifah from a book of Muslim names. “The description said ‘delicate and sensitive on the inside’—that’s me,” she says. “I chose the Queen part because I wanted to be a rapper and I didn’t want to be MC Latifah.” So if Titanic director James Cameron is King of the World, what does that make her? “I am definitely Queen of the Universe, but I’m not so sure James Cameron is the king,” she says. “I prefer to think of that role being filled by Denzel Washington.”

Foot soldier

Retired Army general and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell has earned an unusual honor: his own action figure. His 12-inch-tall counterpart, one of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Classic Collection Historic Commanders Assortment, will hit stores next month at about 50 bucks a head. (Powell, 61, has directed that his share of any profit be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.) “It looks pretty darn good, although the stars are a little bit larger than they ought to be,” says Powell spokesman Col. Bill Smullen. “Everything had to be to scale as much as possible and had to be uniformly correct in terms of what badges and insignia are displayed and their placement on the uniform. We did it according to military standards.” Okay, but what we really want to know is whether G.I. Colin can outgun the Spice Girls dolls. “I don’t know if I could compare the two,” says Hasbro’s Holly Ingram. “But General Powell has a lot of fans.”

Growing pains

Sixteen-year-old actor Brad Renfro, who made his screen debut in the 1994 legal drama The Client, learned firsthand about the long arm of the law when he was arrested in June for cocaine and marijuana possession. “I’m glad I got arrested, because it taught me a lot,” says Renfro, who costars with Ian McKellen in the Stephen King thriller Apt Pupil, due Oct. 23. “I’ve had several months of being sober—I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad it happened when I was 16, not 36.” Renfro agreed to a plea deal under which he submits to random drug tests and, if he stays out of trouble for six months, will likely avoid trial and a juvenile record. As for his advice to teens about drugs: “If you’ve never done it, don’t. If you have done it, pray. Then get some good sober time. Once you have that, you’ll have a natural high.”