By Jason Lynch
November 27, 2000 12:00 PM

Doing the Write Thing

Carrie Fisher costarred in the Star Wars films even though she wasn’t thrilled about the quality of the scripts. “We used to say, ‘You can type this [crap], but you can’t say it,’ ” says Fisher, 44, who now makes her living as one of the leading script doctors in Hollywood, adding jokes to movies like Sister Act and Lethal Weapon 3. “I’m hired to make the chicks smarter,” she says, “but I’ve worked on things where I had the male star frightened that I would make the female too much better, so I’ve actually been asked, ‘Don’t make her too funny.’ ” Fisher still appears in front of the camera as well. She hosts Blocked, an American Movie Classics documentary about Hollywood screenwriters premiering Nov, 18. “I generally only do stuff I think is good,” she says, “because [it] doesn’t pay as well as writing.”

  • Little Bagger
  • When Will Smith first read the script for The Legend of Bagger Vance, he didn’t think he could play the mysterious, all-knowing character who serves as a spiritual guide to pro golfer Matt Damon. “I thought it was something Morgan Freeman would do. You know, the older, mature black man,” says Smith, 32. In fact, director Robert Redford insisted that he tone down his otherwise lively personality for the role. “Robert said, ‘There is a Will Smith thing that you do that people pay you a lot of money for, but I don’t want that guy;” In real life, Smith doesn’t feel ready to be anyone’s guide. “I am a little too young to be someone’s Bagger Vance. I am a Bagger Vance in training.”

Water Bugged

Cuba Gooding Jr. took a while to get his sea legs while preparing to play a Navy diver in Men of Honor. “I kept remembering my instructor saying, ‘If you rush up to the top too fast, you could die. If you don’t keep breathing, you will die. If you don’t breathe right, you could just end up passing out underwater,’ which is never good,” recalls Gooding, 32, who also had other things to worry about—namely, his dislike of all things aqueous. “I can’t say I hate the ocean, but I get seasick when I’m on boats,” he says. “Any time I was on the ocean and someone said, ‘Look down at the vastness of it all,’ I would just close my eyes and say, ‘Urn, that’s okay.’ ”

  • Sex Appeal
  • His wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, has dated Vince Vaughn, Jon Bon Jovi and Chris Noth on Sex and the City, and Matthew Broderick wouldn’t mind a piece of the action. “There have been some parts that would have been fun for me, but I was always doing a play or something and I couldn’t do them. So it never really worked out right, but it will one day,” vows Broderick, 38, who currently stars in the drama You Can Count on Me. “I would be very happy to play a little part on that show.” Whenever Broderick finally does appear with Parker on her megahot HBO series, he’s hoping for a role that doesn’t mirror their three-year marriage. “It would be nice to play against that,” he says. “It would be more fun to be one of the men who doesn’t work out.”

Not Too Cool for School

“I feel like a tired old coot,” says John Goodman, who is juggling five film projects in addition to his new TV series, Normal, Ohio, which debuted on FOX this month. At least the work keeps Goodman, 48, from the more uncomfortable task of interacting with fans. “I’ll sound like a dork for bitching about it, but I’m not crazy about people pointing at me, whispering and giggling,” he says. “Kids are at my level. I like goofing around with them. When my daughter [Molly, 10] was in first and second grade, I used to go over to her school and read to the kids. Man, she’d be nervous, and it wound up that I’d be laying on the floor and she’d be lying on my back and all the other kids would be lying around having a ball. Sometimes I’d act like a big hick and drive her nuts. I love torturing my kid.”