Leo’s Tempest

Leonardo DiCaprio has navigated some rough waters since the blockbuster success of 1997’s Titanic, the biggest-grossing movie of all time. “Every day it’s a new rumor,” says DiCaprio, 25. “I’m shocked about how easily people will lie about what I do. I used to take things personally. I would want to give a press conference every five minutes.” The actor has learned to cope with his titanic fame the hard way: by hitting a few icebergs. “It’s not like they give you a handbook,” says DiCaprio, who next stars in the island drama The Beach, opening Feb. 11. “But I’m not complaining. I have been given wonderful opportunities. And I love to act.”

Nick of Time

In the horse-racing drama Simpatico, Nick Nolte plays a guilt-ridden derelict who is hot to trot for Sharon Stone. The actor says he felt simpatico with his character. “I identify with the misfit,” says Nolte, who overcame battles with booze earlier in his career. “You get to a point in your life when you realize you’re a combination of all the mistakes you’ve made.” So how does Nolte, who will turn 59 on Feb. 8, feel about approaching his seventh decade? “The good news is I don’t have a gray hair on my body,” he says. “But when it comes to my face, I’ve been able to make a distinction between deer feet and wolf tracks.”

The Heart of the Matter

“I’m very much a romantic—you can’t get too sappy a love story for me,” says former Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith, who costars with Tim Matheson in the Lifetime romantic drama Navigating the Heart, airing Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. “It’s the perfect day for it.” The actress’s designated valentine is her husband of two years, Bradley Allen. “My husband is a heart surgeon in Chicago,” says Smith, 54, who remains based in their Los Angeles home with her two children, Gaston, 17, and Spencer Margaret, 14, from a previous marriage. “But we’re always together on Valentine’s. So I’m either going there or he’s coming here.” Of course, she adds (in case you’re reading this, Bradley), “I’d prefer that he’s on the plane here!”

Ashes to Ashes

Playing the Irish mother of seven young children in the drama Angela’s Ashes was double duty for Emily Watson. “I was one part actress and one part nanny,” says Watson, 33, who costars with Robert Carlyle in the screen adaptation of Frank McCourt’s memoir. “I spent half my time looking after the little actors. That was good, because looking after children was what Angela did too.” For Ashes, the British actress also picked up Angela’s habit of smoking. But she had trouble kicking it once filming wrapped. “Then I was feeling run-down and unwell,” she says. “I saw the doctor, and he said, ‘Well, if you [wouldn’t] smoke….’I said, ‘That’s it, then,’ and stopped immediately.”

Asleep at the Wheel

After costarring in the now-canceled police drama Homicide: Life on the Streets for seven seasons, Kyle Secor returned to the scene of the series’ crimes, Baltimore, to film Homicide: The Movie, airing Feb. 13 on NBC. “I wasn’t sad to leave Baltimore when the show ended,” says Secor, 42, who has since relocated back to the West Coast. “I can have more of a normal life in Los Angeles, where I can be fairly anonymous.” Even when he lived in L.A. for seven years as a struggling actor, Secor felt right at home in the City of Angels. “It wasn’t too bad,” he says. “For years I just shuttled between friends’ apartments, or I slept at a yoga center where I taught. I only had to sleep in my car three or four nights.”

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