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Superheroic Effort

Donning a wraparound visor to play laser-beaming mutant Cyclops in the hit action flick X-Men presented a unique acting challenge for James Marsden. “Usually when I act in movies, I only act with my eyes. And they took that away from me,” says Marsden, 26. “So it was very difficult. Well, that coupled with wearing very tight black leather suits that I couldn’t move in. I felt like I could never be a superhero.” At least Marsden didn’t have to suit up in the blue-and-yellow spandex costume Cyclops has worn in the Marvel Comics version of X-Men. “It would have been more comfortable, but it would have looked silly,” he says. “You don’t want to see me in yellow spandex.”

Making a Space Case

In Space Cowboys, Clint Eastwood plays a retired pilot who is cleared for liftoff with three of his former Air Force buddies (Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland). The actor says that the sci-fi flick was launched before astronaut John Glenn’s return to space in 1998. “I think that when NASA found out that we were doing this film, they decided to send Glenn up,” jokes Eastwood, 70, who also directed Cowboys. “I was [working] on the film long before Glenn went up, but I must say that it was convenient of him to call attention to older people. It did prove that a person in decent shape at 77 years old could go up there and perform.”

Scare Tactics

Michelle Pfeiffer had no problem scaring up enthusiasm to appear in the hit horror flick What Lies Beneath. “When I was really little, I was addicted to Frankenstein movies,” says Pfeiffer, 42. “And I would live for Fright Night on TV. I would stay up until 2 in the morning scaring myself to death and then looking inside all my bedroom closets for the bogeyman.” Even as an adult, Pfeiffer says she still gets frightened by things that go bump in the night. “Ask my husband [TV producer-writer David E. Kelley],” she says. “I’m such a good target at horror films. I’m so gullible. I’ve actually been the only one in a crowded audience to let out a blood-curdling scream.”

Building Character

“I was hired for my physique!” says slender actress Anne Heche, who at 5’6″ and 105 pounds admits that it’s a stretch to see her as a Marine captain in the Showtime military drama One Kill, airing Aug. 6. “I told all my friends that I was going to play a Marine captain, and they laughed and said, ‘It’s a comedy, right?’ ” says Heche, 31. “Nobody hires me to do movies that have a lot of action.” Even so, Heche says that she didn’t back down from the role’s physical challenges. “I was so determined to do that stuff by myself,” she says. “I only had three weeks to train and pump up, but it was a blast. I couldn’t wait obstacle-course day!”

No Comic Relief

While his sitcom Just Shoot Me is in reruns, David Spade’s new prime-time animated series Sammy premieres Aug. 8 on NBC. The comedian, who serves as an executive producer, found that animation offered a lot of creative freedom. “I could get away with more—more sex, more drinking,” says Spade, 36, who voices the title character and his son. “I still got into big battles with the censors though.” If Sammy, loosely based on his life, is a success, Spade isn’t sure if he can juggle two series. “I hope [for], and fear, a long run,” he says. “It takes forever to make these things, and I’m not a workaholic. I like writing jokes, not spending half an hour on a conference call deciding what color to make some cartoon character’s barrettes.”