March 03, 1997 12:00 PM

WOULDN’T IT BE LAVA-LY

Pierce Brosnan, the hero of the volcanic thriller Dante’s Peak, got his toughest review from an unlikely critic. “I brought my 3-week-old baby, Dylan, and he slept through the whole thing,” says Brosnan, 43, who took his son and Dylan’s mother, TV correspondent Keely Shaye Smith, to an early screening. “Lava is exploding. Fire is falling from the sky. And the baby was out like a light. I had to tell him, ‘Son, it’s okay this time, but in the future there will be no sleeping through Daddy’s films.’ ” Maybe it’s better Dylan didn’t see a huge volcanic rock fall on Daddy’s truck. “I was a bit of a wimp,” says Brosnan of filming that scene. “I have claustrophobia, and at one point the camera got stuck in my escape route. I just thought, ‘Breathe, breathe, breathe.’ ”

ARSENIC’S FOX HUNT

Vivica A. Fox must have taken Arsenio Hall’s refrain—”Let’s get busy”—literally. Since running for her life as Will Smith’s stripper girlfriend in last summer’s sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day, Fox followed up with roles in Set It Off, the new safe-sex comedy Booty Call and the forthcoming Batman and Robin. Meanwhile, Hall himself got busy tracking her down, hoping he could woo her to costar in his new sitcom. “The meeting was on my birthday [July 30], and he gave me a birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ It was just fabulous,” says Fox, 32, who agreed to be Hall’s wife in Arsenio, premiering March 5 on ABC. Was Fox a big fan of Hall’s late-night talk show, which ran from 1989 to 1994? “Oh, definitely,” she says. “You know I was up there barking with everybody in the dog pound.”

JACK BE NIMBLE

Initially Jennifer Lopez‘s role in the new thriller Blood and Wine called for a steamy love scene with costar Jack Nicholson. But when they finally did wind up in each other’s arms, it was as dance partners. “Jack thought it would be sexier if we did a little salsa dancing,” says Lopez, 26, a former Fly Girl dancer on TV’s In Living Color. “He had never salsaed before, so I had to teach him. And you know what? He never once stepped on my toes. He’s a good dancer.” Lopez had to stay on her toes playing the title role in Selena, the biopic about the slain Tejano singer opening March 21. “Selena meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and I had to do a good job for her fans,” she says. “I think we pulled it off. By the end of filming, I could look in the mirror and really see her.”

PLANET ZIGGYWOOD

Flame-haired David Bowie, the space oddity known as Ziggy Stardust in the ’70s, turned 50 this year. Currently touring for his new album Earthling, Bowie doesn’t waste time reflecting on his golden years. “I’m not big on nostalgia,” he says. “But I’ve still got everything—all the costumes, all the original Ziggy clothes—in storage in Switzerland. I’ve even got the miniature stages designed for each show I’ve ever done. I’m a real hoarder.” Does he ever sneak into the storage rooms to revisit his ’70s self? “I don’t,” says Bowie. “That’s a bit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, isn’t it? Frankly, I don’t quite know what to do with the stuff.” He pauses, then adds, “I see theme restaurants.” Only kidding. We think.

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