November 02, 1998 12:00 PM

Reel love

Costarring with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing in the new witchcraft comedy Practical Magic, Aidan Quinn was practically the only guy on the set. “The prospect of working with Sandy was why I said yes,” says Quinn, 39, who plays Bullock’s love interest. “Like most of this universe, I’ve always had a thing for her,” But Quinn’s wife, actress Elizabeth Bracco (The Impostors), may get a little twitchy about seeing him in Bullock’s arms. “I get the death grip from my wife when she watches me in a love scene. I even get an elbow to the stomach,” he says. “My wife will say, ‘Can’t you kiss like they did in the ’40s?’ I say, ‘No, it’s my job to make it look realistic’ ”

Unlucky Seven

Inquiring Star Trek fans want to know: How does it feel to get beamed up? “Actually, you just stand there and they count, ‘One, two, three.’ Then it’s over,” says Jeri Ryan, who plays Seven of Nine, the bodacious Borg on UPN’s Star Trek: Voyager. “Your molecules don’t shift or anything.” Although Ryan’s addition to the cast last year injected some va-va-voom into the series (which celebrates its 100th episode on Nov. 18), the actress finds herself most frequently spotted by fans when she’s in an unpolished state. “It’s a little disheartening,” says Ryan, 30. “I get recognized more in real life when I look really, really bad. When I haven’t washed my hair and I have no makeup on, it’s guaranteed that I’ll get at least three people saying, ‘Jeri Ryan!’ ”

Mr. Right

As gay mayoral aide Carter Heywood on ABC’s hit sitcom Spin City, Michael Boatman finds himself in the odd position of auditioning potential love interests for his TV character. “What criteria do you go on?” asks Boatman, 34, who off-camera is married and has a daughter, Jordan, 2. “In other love scenes I’ve done, I couldn’t wait to get a look at the actress playing my girlfriend. ‘Oooh, I get to smooch some beautiful actress.’ Here it’s like, ‘Who would be really, really funny?’ ” Ultimately, Boatman had only one stipulation for Carter’s boyfriend, who will be played by Lou Diamond Phillips in an episode airing Nov. 3. “I didn’t want anybody taller than me,” Boatman says. “I’m egotistical enough to want Carter to be the larger guy. It was perfect, because Lou and I are the same height.”

Ant Sharon

Sharon Stone, who plays the mom of a perpetually teased boy (Kieran Culkin) in the drama The Mighty, says that as a kid she had plenty of firsthand experience as an outcast. “I went to a special school for kids who were ahead of their peers,” says Stone, 40. “We’re talking geek-o-rama time. I was really tall and wore miniskirts and platform shoes. Believe me, I didn’t fit in.” Nowadays, Stone’s self-esteem is much more robust; she even digs her bugged-out look as Princess Bala, whom she voices in the computer-animated film Antz. “Honestly,” she says, “I thought I was the most attractive of all the ants.”

More bugs

And speaking of insects: Thandie Newton, who plays the title role in Beloved, makes a striking first impression in the drama when she is enveloped by 400,000 ladybugs. “If you’re going to do it, you might as well go all the way,” says Newton, 25. “The wranglers just scooped them on me. I was like, ‘Come on, pour them on!’ ” Although she portrays the ghost of Oprah Winfrey’s long-dead daughter in the movie, Newton is skeptical of all things supernatural. “I’m a bit of a doubting Thomas,” she says. “Then again, I’d better watch what I say. Maybe I’m putting a challenge out there to the spirit world.”

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