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Battle Fatigue

Mel Gibson sometimes had to accept defeat while filming his new Revolutionary War epic, The Patriot. “There’s a scene where we’re running up a hill in boots and hats carrying 30-lb. muskets,” says Gibson, 44. “I think I did it about seven times, and I’m thinking, ‘Any minute now I’m going to have an aneurysm.’ So I took a breather and said, ‘You know what? I’ll let the stunt guy do it in the wide shots. He’s 10 years younger than I am.’ ” As for battling the British, having already led the Scottish charge against England in 1995’s Braveheart, the Aussie actor says, “The English are cool about this. A lot of English people worked on The Patriot. I’m an Anglophile. Hey, somebody’s go to be the bad guy.”

Waiting for Oscar

After failing to get Oscar nominations for his critically acclaimed performances in 1998’s The Truman Show and last year’s Man on the Moon, does Jim Carrey think the Academy has something against him? “They’re bastards!” quips Carrey, 38, who costars with real-life leading lady Renée Zellweger in the new comedy Me, Myself and Irene. “But you know, I gotta be careful what I say about the Academy, ’cause sometimes my jokes don’t translate directly.” In fact, he’s kept his sense of humor about his snubs. “Of course, I’ll probably have to accept my Oscar from my seat by the time I get it,” Carrey muses. “I’ll have to get somebody [else] to go up there as I slobber over myself. But that’s okay too. It might be better that way.”

Rhymes and Reason

Rapper Busta Rhymes took a musical approach to memorizing his lines for Shaft, the hit update of the 1971 detective flick. “I applied the same method I use to remember songs,” says Rhymes, 28, who just released his fourth album, Anarchy. “I record all of my lines to a track, like it’s a rap. I say it to a beat. And then I ride around in my car all day and listen to my movie part.” Playing Samuel L. Jackson’s sidekick in the film, Busta needed to be a quick study. “I respect the man’s legacy,” he says. “I looked at him as a guru. I don’t get opportunities to be around dudes like that, so I was definitely a proud apprentice.”

So, How’s Work?

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, who got married in May, are already separated: He is in L.A. filming the next as-yet-untitled Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo) movie, she’s in London shooting the action flick Tomb Raider, based on the video-game heroine. “The funny thing is that Billy is playing a barber in his new movie,” says Jolie, 25. “I’m off training to kill. He’s going to clipping school.” At least, she says, the two manage to talk multiple times a day. “On the phone at night, he’s like, ‘I learned how to powder a neck.’ I’m like, ‘This Uzi I got today was great,’ ” says Jolie. “Billy says, ‘You know, when you use a straight razor, it’s better.’ I’m like, ‘When in doubt, kick-box them in the gut’ ”

The Perfect Role

“I play Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend, which was the best job on the set,” says Diane Lane, 35, who remained on dry land during the filming of the disaster flick The Perfect Storm. “I would hear all the horror stories about filming on water from the guys like Mark and George Clooney. And all I had to do was make out with Mark for eight hours. It’s great work if you can get it.”