May 06, 2002 12:00 PM

Saving the Date

Cameron Diaz, who stars in The Sweetest Thing, a romantic comedy about finding Mr. Right, says a potential suitor need only follow a few simple rules. “The date has a chance of not being disappointing if I don’t have to tell someone to lighten up, be themselves and have a good time,” says Diaz, 29, who has been keeping company with actor Jared Leto (Panic Room). Her worst dating disaster? “It’s hard to embarrass me, but once I was out with a guy who was really rude to a waiter and so I left,” says Diaz. “I walked right out on him. The way he behaved just made me lose my appetite. I was like, ‘Bye, bye.’ ”

He Got Game

After 18 years hosting Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek has seen plenty of jittery contestants, but none get as nervous as celebrity players. “On our show their egos are on the line,” says Trebek, 61, who hosts episode No. 4,000 on May 15. “They are used to great writing, great lighting and being heroes. Now all of a sudden they are sweating, hoping to know the right answer.” His most memorable celebrity guests? “Nathan Lane was a lot of fun. But Cheech Marin surprised everyone,” Trebek says. “People thought he was going to be the biggest dopehead and not know any of the answers. But he won a lot of money.” The answer man would love to learn a few things about acting. “But they always cast me as a game-show host,” says Trebek, who played himself in Finding Forrester and Charlie’s Angels. “I wouldn’t mind being some evil person who tries to rule the world through superior brain power. People probably think I can do that anyway.”

Odd Lot

“I’m tired of being the girl who kissed Brad Pitt when he was a vampire,” says Kirsten Dunst, 20, who discovered the meaning of a cult following shortly after her big-screen debut as a 12-year-old bloodsucker in Interview with the Vampire. “I went to a Halloween party thrown by [author] Anne Rice. People threw flaming roses at me and asked for locks of hair off my head. One woman thanked my mother for giving birth to me. Yes, this life is surreal.” Now that she costars with Tobey McGuire in Spider-Man, won’t her fan base get weirder? “The important thing is not taking this business too seriously. I’m doing a film. I’m not doing brain surgery,” says Dunst, who manages to stay pretty well grounded. “I like to be home with my cats and just have a normal life. I like to clean and do the laundry, Both are therapeutic. I’m a big fan of Windex.”

Good Behavior

For Morgan Freeman, playing an attorney who is also a recovering alcoholic in High Crimes didn’t require as much research as some of his previous roles. “I went to jail to know what it was like to be locked up for real,” says Freeman, 64, who portrayed an inmate in The Shawshank Redemption. “Here, I didn’t have to drink to know what it was like for real. I drank a lot for a long time and then I quit. I remember one time when I woke up facedown in the closet and I decided, ‘That’s it’ ” It’s not the first bad habit he has kicked. “I even quit smoking around 49, which was hard,” says Freeman, who reunites with his Kiss the Girls costar Ashley Judd in the new drama. “But the nice thing is I always hated ashes dropping on my floor. I feel so much better now.”

Dirty Work

Nicole Kidman‘s life may be pretty glamorous these days, but she remembers her less-than-stellar start in the movie biz. “I was an usher at the Capital Theatre in Sydney,” says the Aussie actress, 34, who next plays author Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a drama due this fall. “One time the latrines broke, and I had to clean it all up. It was not fun at all. I was on my hands and knees cleaning everything up. It was disgusting.” Adds Kidman with a laugh: “I didn’t know that was in the job description.”

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