By Chuck Arnold
August 07, 2000 12:00 PM

Split Personality

“I’ve gotten recognized as both a good guy and a bad guy in a 10-minute time span—that’s the record,” says Christopher Meloni, who plays Elliot Stabler, a good-hearted detective on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; and Chris Keller, the sinister convict on HBO’s critically acclaimed prison drama Oz. “Someone will say, ‘Oh, I like Elliot; he’s a family man,’ ” says Meloni, 39. “And then other people will say, ‘We love Oz! Your character is so scary!’ ” But one thing’s for sure—he doesn’t mind the attention. “Oh please,” he says. “If people ever complain about fame, tell ’em to go buy a ranch in Idaho.”

The Eyes Have It

Growing up in International Falls, Minn., Tammy Faye Messner, former wife of deposed TV evangelist Jim Bakker, had only one wish for her life. “I prayed, ‘Lord, please don’t let my life be boring,’ ” says Messner, 58, who is the subject of the new documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye. “Boy, you should be careful what you pray for. Now I say, ‘God, it’s okay. I’ll be boring.’ ” Not that Messner is cutting back on the eye makeup. “I would not have a movie called The Eyes of Tammy Faye without the mascara,” she says. “And I would hate for it to be called The Hips of Tammy Faye.”

Don’t Try This at Home

Although her nude body was painted blue from head to toe, model-actress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos says she didn’t feel exploited playing morphing villainess Mystique in the hit flick X-Men. “I felt very covered up, actually,” says Romijn-Stamos, 27. “I didn’t feel naked, even though I looked naked. It’s just how Mystique prefers to be. In terms of her morphing capabilities, clothes would get in the way. So it’s a convenience thing.” Even so, she wouldn’t recommend the costume for X-Men’s young female fans. Says Romijn-Stamos: “I’m actually trying to convince mothers not to let their daughters go out as Mystique this Halloween.”

The Forecast Calls for Jane

Count Peter Fonda among those who hope his older sister Jane will return to the screen following her split with husband Ted Turner. “The first move is already made. Jane said she was interested in perhaps acting in a great play in Atlanta,” says Fonda. “That’s just a hop and skip away from doing a film. [Daughter] Bridget and I both would love to work with her.” For his part, Fonda, 60, who costars in the kids movie Thomas and the Magic Railroad, has no plans to retire from showbiz. “I want to die hearing, ‘That’s a wrap, buddy,’ ” he says. “I want people to whisper, ‘What happened to Fonda? Oh, he died right when the curtain dropped.’ Now that’s an exit.”

Frightful Fashion

Model Amber Valletta veers off the runway to play a ghost haunting Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in the thriller What Lies Beneath. But she says she didn’t miss wearing her customary haute couture. “There have been a couple of fashion jobs that I’ve done where the clothes were so bad that I laughed down the runway,” says Valletta, 26. “I’d see my friends and I couldn’t help it. I would just start cracking up. But the twist is that it probably looked good. People were probably saying, ‘Oh, look at Amber. She’s so happy to be here in that beautiful outfit.’ Meanwhile, I was dying because I looked like a fool.”