By Chuck Arnold
June 28, 1999 12:00 PM

Choose your weapon

Having starred in such critically acclaimed films as Schindler’s List and Michael Collins, is Liam Neeson worried that his role as Qui-Gon Jinn, the young Darth Vader’s mentor, in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace will be his legacy? “I’m not going to die!” says Neeson, 47. “I’m a Jedi Master.” But his senior Jedi rank did not earn the Irish-born actor the honor of choosing his lightsaber before one of his costars did. “Apparently, Ewan [McGregor] got the first pick because he was working before me,” explains Neeson. “Not because he’s younger—or Scottish.”

Fair-Heather fans

As sexy sidekick Felicity Shagwell in Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Shagged Me, actress Heather Graham knew how she could keep costar Mike Myers in line. “I ate a tuna casserole that had onions in it the day before a big love scene,” she says. “For weeks afterwards, Mike would come up to me, sniff the air and scream, ‘Nice breath!’ ” In real life, Graham, 29, saves her kisses for her boyfriend, actor-director Edward Burns. And now she’s a huge hit with two of Burns’s nephews. “The boys are 10 and 6,” Graham says. “Since I’m in Austin Powers II, I’m suddenly cool. They even carry the newspaper ad to school and go, ‘You know, that’s my uncle’s girlfriend.’ We’re at family dinners, and out of nowhere the boys will look at me and go, ‘Oh, behave!’ Then they’re so shy that they get up and run away.”

The fish and the gigolo

Rob Schneider, who costarred in last year’s hit comedy The Waterboy teams up with pal Adam Sandler again in Big Daddy, opening June 25. “He actually called me up and said, ‘Hey, there’s a role in this movie for you. It’s a delivery guy,’ ” says Schneider, 35. “I read the script and go, ‘What role? There’s two lines, and the guy is Chinese.’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter. Come out, we’ll have fun.’ I was supposed to stay 10 days—I stayed 10 weeks.” The two Saturday Night Live alums will next collaborate on the comedy Deuce, starring and written by Schneider, with Sandler serving as executive producer. “It’s about a guy who cleans fish tanks for a living and lives next door to a gigolo,” Schneider reports. “I take care of his fish when he’s out of town. But then start answering the phone, and I become a gigolo. It’s going to be wild.”

120 days of nice

In the new military thriller The General’s Daughter, Madeleine Stowe joins ranks with John Travolta to investigate the murder of the title character. As a teenager, the actress was such a fan of her leading man’s that she once tried subterfuge to meet him. “My ploy was to get an interview with Vinnie Barbarino,” says Stowe, 40, referring to Travolta’s character on the ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. “I actually pretended to be a journalist. John’s publicist was very nice, but he did say, ‘John is too busy and, by the way, what publication are you from, miss?’ I’ve never told John any of this.” Even after filming The General’s Daughter, Stowe, whom Travolta picked for the role, remains impressed with her former idol. “He’s so nice that one day I was talking to him, and I was like, ‘Why don’t you just knock it off? No one is that nice,’ ” she says. “But he is. He was nice every single day for four months.”