Thora Birch, 13, who played Harrison Ford’s spunky daughter in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, grows up to become Melanie Griffith in Now and Then. Thora herself is in no rush to grow up. “I like the idea that someone else is making my bed,” she says of staying in hotels while making movies on location. “I’m slave labor at home. Vacuuming, dusting, taking out the trash. My parents aren’t strict, but the chores I could live without.” Birch lives with her parents and younger brother on a ranch outside L.A., where she attends junior high and dreams of someday owning a restaurant. But there’d be no designer greens in the salads. “I hate endive,” says Birch. “Call me old-fashioned, but when I start cooking, things will be different.”

  • Seinfeld worrywart Jason Alexander, 36, puts on more than a happy face to play a lead in ABC’s three-hour remake of Bye Bye Birdie (airing Dec. 3). As Albert Peterson, manager of Army-bound teen idol Conrad Birdie, Alexander also sings and dances. According to actress-dancer Ann Reinking (All That Jazz), who choreographed the cast of seasoned performers, including Vanessa Williams and Chynna Phillips, “Jason was game for anything. He used to do gymnastics and wanted to use some of the techniques. We were dancing on a dock, and I told him to jump up on the railing, which he did in one leap. It was stupendous. Then he jumped from piling to piling, and he ended up doing a diving roll off the railing. People may think he used a double, but everything you see, he did.”


For George Stephanopoulos, senior adviser to President Clinton, attending a recent Washington screening of The American President, the new comedy about a first-term Democrat (Michael Douglas), seemed like another day at the office. “The White House was uncanny,” he says. “It was so close to the real thing. Even the paintings and the clocks were exact.” Did he see himself in the President’s domestic policy adviser played by mop-topped Michael J. Fox? “Well, the hair was similar, and we’re about the same size,” says Stephanopoulos, 34, who is slightly taller than the 5’5″ Fox. “I’ve had dinner with him, so he knows about my job. It’s pretty intense and stressful. You worry about things like making sure you don’t get sent to prison. That was the movie’s funniest line.”


Helena Bonham Carter, 29, the English actress who has come to personify the romantic heroine of Merchant-Ivory films, tried love American-style as Woody Allen’s wife in his comedy Mighty Aphrodite. When it came to filming her love scenes with him, Carter told London’s Evening Standard, “he didn’t just keep his clothes on under the sheet. He kept his shoes on too. When I asked him why, he said it was in case there was a fire. Weird, I thought…. Even when he kissed me, he had a way of twisting around so I couldn’t see his eyes. He was never intimate. I felt like a character from The Purple Rose of Cairo, and he had stepped down from the screen.”

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