November 05, 1990 12:00 PM

SPADER: BIG, BIG LOVE

While auditioning for their new film, White Palace, JAMES SPADER, 30, and SUSAN SARANDON, 44, had their share of pregnant pauses. “It was funny,” says Spader of the scene they rehearsed. “It was a complete washout. I showed up in New York and walked in the door and there was Susan 8½ months pregnant and huge [with Tim Robbins’s child. Jack, born last year]. I mean, every line was such a joke. She had one that went, ‘What would you do if I fell all over you?’ You know, probably scream and call an ambulance. The one high point was that my wife [Victoria] was almost eight months pregnant, too, so we could sit down and talk about breast-feeding and stuff.”

BASIL WALLACE: IT HASTA BE RASTA

As a deranged Rastafarian drug lord in the new blockbuster Marked for Death, BASIL WALLACE learned to dread his locks. “I had to keep [the woven-in extensions] on off-camera, and I learned a lot about how people perceive you,” says Wallace, 37. “Some people were intrigued and some wanted drugs. They assumed that I had ‘herb,’ and I’d say, ‘I don’t know, try an herb shop. Or in bars they’d ask if I knew where the ‘smoke’ was, and I’d say, ‘Yeah, in the smoking section over there.’ ” On keeping the coif, Wallace is negative. “There’s not much work for rastas in this town,” he says, “so I don’t think I’d be able to eat.”

BARBARA WALTERS’S SOB STORY

After doing 58 celeb specials since 1976, BARBARA WALTERS admits her future may not always lie in the stars. “I have one coming up in November,” says Walters, 59, “and two out of three interviews I found great fun. I’m tired of asking celebrities what arc to me the same questions. But that doesn’t mean somebody else shouldn’t do it.” On the almost obligatory sob segments of her specials that have been the butt of several parodies, she adds, “I said in the introduction [of the forthcoming special], ‘I promise you I didn’t make anybody cry. If one more person cries on my special, I’m going to throw a pie in their face.’ ” As for the jabs she has received about her mild speech impediment, especially from the late GILDA RADNER, Walters says. “I always wanted to be called Babs Elliot. [The Baba Wawa spoofs] wouldn’t have happened if my name had been Babs Elliot. I would have been a whole different person.”

SHIPP SHAPE

The star of the CBS series The Flash, JOHN WESLEY SHIPP, 35, is quick to point out that he wasn’t always well suited for the role. “The first thing I said to my agent when I saw the costume was, ‘What did you do to me?’ I was guaranteed that I wouldn’t have to wear red tights, “he laughs. “I was also told that the show would have me in the costume no more than 10 to 15 percent every week, and so far they’ve kept their word. Still, it takes 45 minutes to zip it on me. “On the plus side, the studio is doing its best to keep Shipp cool. “The suit now has a vest in it and tubing throughout, “he says, “so that when I’m not on-camera, I can go hook up to this machine and have ice water pumped through to keep me cool.”

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