By Ericka Souter
Updated September 16, 2002 12:00 PM

The Perils of the Trade

In the prison drama Undisputed, Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames costar as convicts who duke it out in a boxing ring. Filming their face-offs resulted in j more than a few real aches and pains. “There were some elbow sprains, a crack in the jaw and a hit in the stomach,” says Snipes of the fight scenes. “It was nothing I couldn’t handle. Besides, I wanted to put on those boxing trunks and show that at age 401 still look good, damn it!” So how did the action hero celebrate the big four-oh on July 31? “I spent the day with my daughter Jua, whose birthday is also that day. She turned 1,” says Snipes of his child with girlfriend Nikki Park, an artist. “In a way, having her celebrate was a relief because the day was more about diapers and dollies than ‘Oh, Wesley is four decades old!’ ”

  • Top Heavy
  • For Kate Hudson, portraying an 18th-century English lady in the new drama The Four Feathers was a heady experience. “The wig was heavy,” says Hudson, 23, of her thick, cascading mane. “The hairpieces weighed my head down. I got some good neck muscles from them, though.” She is relieved to be shooting a lighter role this summer in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, a comedy in which she plays a woman trying to get her boyfriend (Matthew McConaughey) to dump her. “I do everything I can to get rid of him,” says Hudson, “every horrible thing a girl can do.” Such as? “Naming his penis. Buying him a dog. Bursting in on his poker night and spilling things on the felt table. I’m the girl who comes in and goes, ‘Hi, honey!’ Literally a guy’s worst nightmare.”

Ode to Bachelorhood

In the romantic drama Possession, Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park) plays a 20th-century poet who falls in love with a fellow writer portrayed by Jennifer Ehle. In real life, the dashing British actor, who has never been married, admits that it has been a while since he has been head over heels. “In the last six years? No,” says Northam, 40, of not being lucky in love. “I think I’ve given up on it now. Your juices only run a few times like that, don’t they?” But Northam, who lives in London, hasn’t lost hope. “There is a side of me that is romantic. One day I may be able to nurture something or someone close to me. I do have plants, but you know, I haven’t been home for a while. They’ve probably died by now.”

Miss Demeanor

Lea Thompson wants to be called for jury duty. “I thought it would be good research if I played a lawyer someday,” she says. “But whenever I get called, [the people at the court] are always like, ‘I know you! You were great in Back to the Future. You’re excused.’ ” Since she’s been blocked from doing her civic duty, Thompson, who plays deputy district attorney Camille Paris on Lifetime’s new legal drama For the People, has done her background work by sitting in on trials and watching a lot of Court TV. However, she says her best insights have come from the show’s adviser, former L.A. County prosecutor Marcia Clark. “I was having lunch with her and I saw she had the same belly button ring as I do,” says Thompson, 41. “When I did a love scene, the network had a big meeting and finally said, ‘Well, if Marcia Clark has one, then you don’t have to take yours out.’ ”