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The Old Man and the See

“It’s fun to do something new, but I thought, ‘Gee whiz, I’m 63, why couldn’t they have done this when I was 30?’ ” says veteran actor Chad Everett—a heartthrob as Medical Center’s Dr. Joe Gannon in the 1970s—about performing his first nude scene for his new USA Network series, Manhattan, AZ. “But people my age are in much better shape now. We’re running, we’re gymming, and we’re watching what we eat, so I think the reason you might see more nude scenes from guys my age is that our belly isn’t hanging eight inches over our belt.” And what kind of reaction is Everett, whose character does tai chi exercises bare nekkid on the Aug. 27 episode, anticipating? “Well, I’m not exactly looking to attract the group in their 20s,” he jokes. “It’s a comedy, so if I make people laugh, that’s fine, that’s what I’m looking for.”

When Words Fail

Oscar-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive), who blasts off with Clint Eastwood in the sci-fi flick Space Cowboys, used a few tricks to get the astronaut lingo down. “It’s very seldom that the camera will see both you and the instrument panel [in the rocket ship],” says Jones, 53, “So you can rip out a page from the script and tape it on the instrument panel. It looks like you are looking at a dial or twisting a knob, but cheating is what you’re doing, basically. You can also write things on the back of your hand because sometimes your hand is not in the shot, so you won’t see it in the movie.” Then again, he adds, “you might end up seeing it in the DVD.”

The Old College Try, Part II

It took 15 years, but Elisabeth Shue finally earned her Harvard University degree in June. “I’m done with that question forever,” says Shue, 36, who first left Harvard to film 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting. “Every time I did interviews, people asked, ‘How come you haven’t graduated yet?’ Now I’ve got the answer.” Shue, now starring in Hollow Man, had no problems reacclimating to college life this spring, when she completed her degree in government. “It felt so good to be learning,” she says. “Everybody was really nice and accepting. The competition at Harvard is not how well your movie is doing but how smart are you and what do you have to say.”

Like Mother, Like Daughter

If Kim Basinger has any say, her daughter Ireland won’t follow in the family business. “God, I hope not!” groans Basinger, 46, who admits that her 4-year-old daughter with husband Alec Baldwin is already demonstrating a theatrical bent. “She is a clown. She’s a little mimic. After we rented Madeline, Ireland started speaking French.” Basinger, who costars with Jimmy Smits and Christina Ricci in the supernatural thriller Bless the Child, is frightened by the prospect of activist hubby Baldwin entering the political arena. If he runs for office, she promises, “then I’m running the other way. I’m not kidding, Alec. I hope you read this, hon!”

Superhero Worship

Halle Berry, who plays weather-controlling mutant Storm in the hit movie version of X-Men, has joined the legions of fans of the Marvel comic series. “I’ve become really obsessed with them,” says Berry, 33. “Before I got involved, I knew nothing. Now I go on the Net and I read what the real die-hard fans have to say.” Her X-Men role has also earned her that pop-culture Oscar substitute, her own toy action figure. “I was still mad I hadn’t gotten a doll from The Flintstones,” says Berry, whose character in that 1994 film, Sharon Stone, was denied plastic immortality.