July 22, 1996 12:00 PM

IT’S A BIG WORLD AFTER ALL

This Friday (July 19), Celine Dion will sing at the opening ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympic Games, an event expected to draw a worldwide TV audience of 3.5 billion. “Three billion people watching you is pretty frightening,” says the Canadian chanteuse. “This moment is coming very fast now, and I have goose bumps thinking about it.” Dion, 28, will sing “The Power of the Dream,” a song by David Foster, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Linda Thompson, which was commissioned for the occasion. And like the 10,000-plus athletes who will compete, Dion has to get it right the first time. But she, at least, will be sharing the stage with 100 musicians and 300 backup singers. “I’ll have people surrounding me, supporting me,” says Dion, “and making sure I’m not forgetting my words.”

SHOOTING FROM THE LIP

As the object of John Travolta’s affections in the romantic fantasy Phenomenon, Kyra Sedgwick gives her costar a very seductive shave (and a haircut). “It took all day, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., to do that scene,” says Sedgwick, 30. “There was a kiss at the end, but they cut it. It’s much better without it, too, because you want them to kiss, and they don’t.” But the tender kiss she gave Helen Mirren, her costar in Losing Chase, a Showtime drama beginning Aug. 18, did not end up on the cutting-room floor. “I kissed a guy and I kissed a gal,” says Sedgwick of the two films shot back-to-back, “and my lips couldn’t tell the difference.” As for working with her spouse, actor Kevin Bacon, who directed Chase, Sedgwick says, “I don’t think I got any extra help because I was sleeping with the guy. There aren’t that many good directors around, and you take what you can get, even if you happen to be married to him.”

A TIME TO THRILL

The Texas-born actor Matthew McConaughey is enjoying what may be his last days of anonymity. After supporting roles in the 1995 movie Boys on the Side and the current Lone Star, he’s being talked up as the next big thing once A Time to Kill opens on July 24. “Somebody came up to me the other day in a men’s room and said, ‘Hey, saw your trailer!’ That was kind of cool,” says McConaughey, 26, who costars with Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson as a Mississippi lawyer in the courtroom drama based on John Grisham’s novel. McConaughey, who next teams with Jodie Foster in the sci-fi adventure Contact, says steady employment means finally having some spare change in his pocket. “Now that I have some money, I’ll be able to lose golf balls and not care. I want to buy some bongos. And I’m looking for a 1982 [Camaro] Z28 with T tops—the sports car of the ’80s.”

YO, SLY, RESPECT THIS

Juilliard-trained actor Ving Rhames is on a roll. After smaller turns in earlier hits such as Dave and Pulp Fiction, he’s high in the credits this summer as the computer genius who helps make Tom Cruise‘s Mission: Impossible possible and in Striptease as the strip-club bouncer who befriends Demi Moore. “I’m earning more money, but I’ve never lacked for what I really want, which is respect,” says Rhames, 34. “It’s a funny thing. Now everybody wants respect. The superstars get $20 million a picture, but if they walk into a room and they don’t get respect, they know there’s something missing. Who gets more respect, Robert Redford [at $10 million per film] or Sylvester Stallone [at $20 million]? That makes up for a lot of millions.”

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