License to Trill
The King of Queens star Leah Remini indulged her diva side recently when she and her fiancé, singer-actor Angelo Pagan, went out with close chums Marc Anthony and his wife, Dayanara Torres, and partied at a New York City karaoke club until 4:30 a.m. “It was the best time,” says Remini, 32, who wasn’t skittish about performing in front of her multiplatinum pal. “Honey, I sang everything: Pat Benatar, Donna Summer, Laura Brannigan, Madonna. I even had the guts to sing a Marc Anthony song to him. I stretched myself over the coffee table and sang it right in his face like a lounge singer. I butchered it, but I didn’t care.”
Where’d You Get Those Peepers?
Vin Diesel will once again battle nasties from outer space in Riddick, the sequel to the sci-fi hit Pitch Black, which begins production next month. The actor is hoping that this time around, filming won’t be such an eye-opening experience. “Last time, they put prototype lenses with a reflective vibe onto my eyes,” says Diesel, 35. “A few hours later I’m in the hospital because they can’t get them out. They said, ‘They’ve melted to your eyes.’ ” An optometrist had to be flown in from a town three hours away to remove the contacts. On the bright side, Diesel says, the ordeal helped him get into character. “My equilibrium was off, which was almost good,” the actor reports, “because I no longer had the relationship with gravity that I’ve had all my life.”
Connie Nielsen’s father was a weapons sergeant in the Danish army, so playing a military captain in the thriller Basic should have been a cinch. Well, not quite. “The director [John McTiernan] had us wear boots with very heavy stacked metal soles, because they had that sturdy look,” says Nielsen, 38, who costars with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. “It was physical torture. Every day when I took them off, I felt like my legs had swollen 40 times. It made me walk like a dude. It was dreadful.” All that macho posturing has the actress itching to flaunt her feminine wiles. “Now I want to be a babe,” says Nielsen. “I told my agents, ‘I want movies where I get the guy at the end.’ ”
The Original Kid of Comedy
Steve Harvey’s 5-year-old son Wynton is already honing his own stand-up routine. “He’s not good, but he thinks he’s hysterical,” says Harvey, 46, who will host the Hoodie Awards, which he co-created to honor local businesses and community leaders in L.A., on April 5. “He’ll go, ‘Daddy, I wrote a joke: This apple fell off the table, busted open, and then an ant ate it!’ I’ll say, ‘You won’t make money with that, but nice try.’ ” Even so, Wynton has already adopted a VIP mentality. “He had the housekeeper remove his bathroom door and tack a bedsheet up instead,” says Harvey. “That’s his dressing room, and he’ll come out from behind the curtain when you announce him.”