March 11, 1996 12:00 PM


Bill Pullman sees himself as the Imelda Marcos of male movie stars. “I hate to admit it, because it makes me sound weird, but I’m Mr. Shoes. I own over 30 pairs,” says Pullman, 42, currently giving Ellen DeGeneres the romantic heebie-jeebies onscreen in Mr. Wrong. “Some of the shoes I have are from movies—I have my workman’s boots from While You Were Sleeping—while others are shoes I’ve had forever. I like to wear my dad’s shoes to auditions as sort of a lucky thing. I feel like I’m on solid ground.” Pullman, a size 10½, says he’s not the kind of guy to just tie one on. “I’m a very discriminating shoe shopper,” he says. “I only look for something special. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever bought two pairs at the same time.”


If you think you’ve been seeing a lot of John Travolta, just wait, because hot on the reels of Get Shorty, White Man’s Burden and Broken Arrow comes Phenomenon, a fantasy, due this spring. Currently, he’s in Austin, Texas, shooting Michael, a romantic comedy with Andie MacDowell. Then he heads to Paris to make The Double, based on the Dostoyevsky novella, with director Roman Polanski. “After all these movies, I might go away again,” says Travolta, 42, who spent nearly a decade as a less than hot property before his comeback in 1994 with Pulp Fiction. “It seems to work for me. People like having me gone so they can welcome me back.” In fact, fans get a double dose of Travolta in The Double, since he also plays his doppelgänger. “I negotiated to get paid twice as much,” he jokes. “I get twice as many meal breaks, and I’m asking for two trailers.”


“It’s hilarious that I’m playing a principal, because I used to be a holy terror,” says Olympia Dukakis, 64, the high school principal of Mr. Holland’s Opus (who grandly intones, “Mr. Holland, it has come to my attention that you are teaching the students rock and roll!”). Dukakis, who grew up in Massachusetts, can back up her claim. In grammar school, “I poured paste in the other kids’ hair,” she says. “I talked constantly. I would pick fights. If a girl had really long hair, I’d walk up quietly with my scissors and cut it all off. I mean, I didn’t fool around. And for age 10, this was heavy stuff.” Certainly she has mellowed. “Mellowed?” cracks Dukakis. “I’m still cutting people’s hair. Just kidding.”


Sultry R&B singer Jody Watley, 37, who just released a Greatest Hits album, is one hot mama, with the emphasis on mama. (She has two children—Lauren, 13, and Arie, 3—with her ex-husband, musician Andre Cymone.) “Lauren, who’s in eighth grade, said to me, ‘The boys in my class all think you’re fine. They want to marry you when they grow up.’ I remember at that age wanting to have the cool mom, so I’m happy that I turned out to be the cool mom.” Cool enough to have three tattoos—a body embellishment she hopes Lauren won’t imitate any time soon. “If she does want one, I’d tell her to pick something she’s not going to mind as time goes by. When I’m 70, for instance, the cherub tattoo on my upper arm will probably have saggy buns.”

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