September 10, 2001 12:00 PM

On with the Showgirls
Elizabeth Berkley, who plays Woody Allen’s gal Friday in his 1940s-era comedy The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, insists she doesn’t feel hexed by her role in the infamous 1995 flop Showgirls. “I had an amazing time making that movie,” says Berkley, 29. “I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. I challenge anyone to name a six-month period in their life where they felt like that every single day. People were so vicious about the film then, but now I hear from people who really like it. I’m like, ‘Hello, where were you then?’ ” As for people who predicted her career would be over after Showgirls, she says proudly, “Well, tell them I’m in a Woody Allen movie.”

Tufts Luck

Sometimes being Heaven-sent isn’t all it is cracked up to be, as Jessica Biel discovered when she enrolled at Tufts University last fall. “They all knew who I was: ‘Oh, the girl from 7th Heaven,’ ” says Biel, who commuted between Massachusetts and L.A. to continue her role in the WB drama. “It was like being in a mall, and you can’t get away.” Eventually, though, she became just another mall patron. “After a few months I wasn’t so special anymore,” says Biel, 19, who costars in the Freddie Prinze Jr. drama Summer Catch. “I was just another freshman with bed head and zits.”

Audition: Impossible

“It’s considered subversive that I’m not on a high-protein Zone diet,” says Janeane Garofalo of making her way in looks-obsessed Hollywood. “Say there was a new Tom Cruise movie and he needed a wife. It would be laughable if I were to audition. It would never happen. And if it did, the movie would be about that: ‘Look, this guy is married to a troll.’ ” The actress, 36, did get to smooch with David Hyde Pierce in the summer-camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer but found that there are drawbacks to having a lean love interest. “What kills me is when a man is much more petite in his shorts than I am,” she says. “It bums me out when I’m with a guy and I know I can’t borrow his pants.”

Comic Relief

Jamie Foxx is confident that he’ll make a better and funnier impression as host of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, airing live on Sept. 6, than Shawn and Marlon Wayans did with their poorly received gig last year. “I don’t bomb,” says Foxx, who revealed his game plan for avoiding the hook. “Don’t try to conquer the show. It’s not about you.” He also promises to avoid taking potshots at recent rehabbing and “resting” stars Mariah Carey, Ben Affleck and Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean. “Jay Leno and David Letterman hit them every night. Getting blasted every single day takes its toll on you,” says Foxx, 33. “We won’t be weak on it, but at the same time we’re not going to make somebody want to commit suicide at the end of the night.”

Time-Delayed Release

Starring in Pearl Harbor cemented his pinup status, but Josh Hartnett jokes that his villainous role in the new drama O, an updated version of Shakespeare’s Othello, could put a dent in his poster sales. “I don’t think a lot of people will like Hugo,” says Hartnett of his character (called lago in the play). “Now instead of getting love letters from girls, I’ll get hate mail.” Hartnett, 23. actually finished O more than two years ago, but a rash of school shootings that echoed key points in the movie kept nervous executives pushing back the release date. After his film Town & Country also underwent lengthy delays, “I was really surprised when Pearl Harbor came out when they said it would,” he says. “I expected someone to go around to ail those Pearl Harbor posters and cross out the dates.”

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