Ericka Souter
November 18, 2002 12:00 PM

Claus Encounters

Tim Allen couldn’t escape the hordes of starstruck fans on the set of The Santa Clause 2: namely his young costars, the 300 children, hired to play his elves, who thought they were working with the real Santa. “I would walk in, and these little hands were all over me,” says Allen, 49, who reprises his role in the sequel to his 1994 hit. “Some kids would just stare at me. So I played it like Santa was taking time to make a movie, because that’s what they thought was really going on.” Not that the actor was always in a jolly mood. “I had 41 lbs. of padding on. I was so grumpy and hot,” says Allen. “The kids understood three words: ‘Don’t touch me!’ ”

The Fame Game

Actors having trouble adjusting to stardom might take some advice from Owen Wilson. “I’ve coped with fame by recognizing that there are well-defined levels to it,” says Wilson, 34, who costars with Eddie Murphy in / Spy. “The first level is people saying, ‘Didn’t I go to school with you?’ The second one is, ‘You’re in a TV show or movie.’ I’ll [name] a movie and inevitably they’ll say, ‘Yes, but I don’t remember you in it.’ The next level is when someone actually remembers my name. But that’s a little odd too. If someone says, ‘Hi, Owen,’ it sort of freaks me out because I’m thinking, ‘Wait, did I go to school with this guy?’ ”

Biker Girl

Jennifer Aniston was on a roll long before she starred on Friends. “I was a bike messenger in New York for about three months,” says Aniston, 33. “I wasn’t the most coordinated person on the bike, with the cars and everything, but I loved it. I thought I looked cool. I didn’t do it very well, though. I got fired.” Now that her career has taken a turn toward the maternal—she plays a single mom on her hit sitcom—is she craving her own bundle of joy? “I already wanted to have a baby before,” says Aniston, who celebrated her second wedding anniversary with Brad Pitt in July. “When Friends is over, I’ll think about having a baby more seriously. Right now I want to finish that chapter of my life and then move on. The good news is that because of Rachel having a baby, I’ve read all the books. By the time I have a baby, I’ll be a diapering pro.”

Dropping the Butterball

“I don’t know why people think Canadians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” says Edmonton, Alta., native Jill Hennessy, 33, currently starring in the new drama Love in the Time of Money. “We celebrate it in October. I can’t get enough of Thanksgiving.” The Crossing Jordan star may want to leave the holiday’s culinary treats to a more steady hand, however. “One year, as I was taking the turkey out of the oven, it fell on the floor. I had witnesses, so it was hard to hide it. My dad and my sister couldn’t stop laughing,” says Hennessy. “I did the quick rinse-off and made it to the table. I was like, ‘We give thanks that the turkey wasn’t completely destroyed on the linoleum.’ ”

Nude Awakening

When Taye Diggs learned he had landed the part of the young lothario in 1998’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the actor, who was starring in Broadway’s Rent at the time, was so elated he ran through the theater in the buff. Success hasn’t changed Diggs’s penchant for exhibitionism. “When I order Chinese food, I’ll answer the door with no pants on just to get a reaction from the delivery man,” says Diggs, 31, now starring in the film Brown Sugar. What kind of response does he get? “It’s always different,” he says. “One dude just stared at me, one dude ran away, and one dude laughed.”

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