February 28, 2000 12:00 PM

The Big One

American Beauty’s Oscar-nominated Kevin Spacey, who next plays Danny DeVito’s salesman sidekick in the drama The Big Kahuna, due in April, says he made a sizable first impression on his costar. “I met Danny when I auditioned for a role in Hoffa,” says Spacey, 40, referring to DeVito’s 1992 directorial take on the life of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa. “We were sitting in his office at 20th Century Fox, having a conversation. Part of an old set was leaning against a wall. Suddenly, we had a little trembler or an earthquake. I was beaned on the head by this gigantic board. I was lying on the floor, sobbing. Danny is going, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve killed him!’ ”

Eyeliner Notes

Good golly, indeed. Even Little Richard can’t believe he’s still pounding the ivories at 67. “I thought I’d be long gone by now,” says the famed rocker, born Richard Wayne Penniman. “Elvis is gone, John Lennon is gone, so many of the great ones. Why am I still here?” Well, at least partly because of some clean living. “I don’t do drugs no more,” he says, “not even them messed-up cigarettes.” But Richard implies he still has a strong addiction to one substance. Asked if he has any complaints about the Feb. 20 NBC biopic Little Richard, starring Leon (Waiting to Exhale), he says, “They didn’t use near enough makeup.”

Love Object

Even celebs are fans. Here’s a case study: Jennifer Love Hewitt, who will play classic screen queen Audrey Hepburn in an ABC biopic airing March 27, says that her contemporary movie idol is Gwyneth Paltrow. In a big way. “I think she’s amazing,” says Hewitt, 21. “The night before she won her Oscar, I sent her three dozen pink roses to match her dress, and I wrote a two-page letter telling her what a role model she is to me and how much I respect her work. She sent me a letter back the following week, and I have it framed—it’s my favorite thing.” The Time of Your Life star finally met Paltrow, 27, recently. “When I was at the Golden Globes,” she says, “she came up to me and gave me a hug for the flowers. I thought I was going to pass out. I was absolutely going to have a heart attack.”

Executive Decision

“I’m just trying to spread the California gospel,” says former Full House star John Stamos of serving as an executive producer of the ABC miniseries The Beach Boys: An American Family (see review, page 27), airing Feb. 27-28. “I think I’ve been their biggest fan over the years.” So why didn’t the actor, who has toured with the Beach Boys as a guest drummer for 15 years, cast himself as one of the fab five? “I developed it for myself to play Dennis [Wilson],” says Stamos, 36, referring to the original drummer who drowned in a 1983 accident. “He’s a fascinating character that I’ve always wanted to play. But we decided to concentrate on the early years. And I realized one morning when I woke up that I’m too old to play 16,17 years old. So I had to fire myself. I left a message on my machine, saying, ‘Stamos, you’re out!’ ”

Three Sisters

Diane Keaton slid easily into her role as a successful magazine editor with two sisters—Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow—in the new bittersweet comedy Hanging Up. “I am one of three sisters. In fact, so is Meg, which is so weird,” says Keaton, 54, who also directed the film. “I liked playing the famous sister in the movie. That struck me because in a family where one person is famous, it seems the others get neglected. And the funny thing is the famous person is often the one you don’t want to be around.” Not that the actress is speaking from personal experience. “No, no,” she insists, “I don’t know anybody like that!”

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