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Garage Banned

Although her character in Little Black Book snoops through her boyfriend’s belongings, Brittany Murphy says that’s not her style. “God forgot to give me the jealous bone. I’ve been in situations where the ex-girlfriend called all the time and delivered presents to his door,” says Murphy, 26. “I was naive.” But the actress has learned an important lesson. “I make sure new people in my life see that the old [flame] isn’t around. I had one relationship with someone I was on a billboard with [Ashton Kutcher, her Just Married costar]. I have a poster of it, but I keep it in the garage with a towel over it just in case someone I care about sees it.”

Time Traveler

To prepare for his role in the 19th-century thriller The Village, Joaquin Phoenix and his costars took a crash course in doing assorted farm chores, such as plowing fields, shearing sheep and lighting fires from scratch. “I was there for 24 hours rubbing sticks together. Everyone else had gone to dinner. Finally, I just took out my lighter,” says Phoenix. “We realized how difficult everyday life was back then.” What era would best suit the 29-year-old actor? “The only period I’m fascinated by is the late ’60s and ’70s,” he says. “That was the best time in film and music, two things I love. I wish I’d seen the Beatles play, and Zeppelin and Hendrix. I desperately wish I had been born 20 years earlier.”

Country Boy

Handling the announcing chores for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens is a tricky balancing act, says NBC’s Bob Costas. “It’s part United Nations Security Council meeting, part Macy’s Thanks-giving Day parade. Therefore, it should really be done by [U.N. Secretary-General] Kofi Annan and [Entertainment Tonight host] Mary Hart,” says Costas, 52, who will be cohosting the coverage with Today’s Katie Couric. “There are [a zillion] nations coming in. Katie and I don’t want to play tidbit ping-pong, ‘You take Pakistan, I’ll take Peru.’ It’s just too much.”

Details Become Her

Meryl Streep credits her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, for keeping their marriage together for 26 years. “He’s the glue. He’s a great man, and we agree on most important things,” says Streep, 55, now starring in The Manchurian Candidate. “But we disagree on the little things. Like keeping track of phone numbers and calling people back. Not writing it on a paper towel and then coming in the kitchen saying, ‘Did somebody throw that out?’ Little things really drive me crazy.” So what would Gummer say is her most annoying habit? “Overweening attention to detail,” Streep says. “If we’re going on a road trip, I’m plotting it for weeks. Beyond that I can’t talk about him, or he’ll be appalled.”



“I think it’s a major mistake. I wish I could sit down and advise her. She has performed for me in various [venues]. I really like her, but this will haunt her forever. She was with another guy [Jason Alexander] who she married for [55 hours], and frankly I thought he was terrific. He was so nice that he let her out of it and didn’t take her to the cleaners. She should have stayed married to him.”