November 03, 2003 12:00 PM

Rhythm & Blues

If you’re looking for a man with smooth moves, look further than Hugh Grant—much further. The Englishman claims his dance sequence in the new romantic comedy Love Actually has scarred him for life. “As a result of this film, I will never, ever dance again,” says Grant, 43. After shooting the scene, in which he gets caught boogying to the Pointer Sisters, “I didn’t look at the playback. I thought, ‘I better not.’ But I was hearing laughs and seeing smiley faces around the monitor. So I said, ‘Well, I’ll go and have a look.’ And I saw this slightly overweight, unhappy-looking middle-aged man dancing completely out of time. I had no idea. For all these years, I’d been thinking I’m quite groovy.”

Do’s and Donuts

Jennifer Jason Leigh is glad Christian Bale, her costar in the upcoming thriller The Machinist, will be playing Batman. Maybe it’ll improve his diet. “Our film is about a guy who hasn’t slept for a year, so Christian lost a lot of weight. I think he weighed less than I did,” says Leigh, 41. “He starved himself. He wouldn’t even drink water when we had love scenes. When he started to eat again, we warned him, ‘Start slow. Eat poached eggs and raw foods.’ We watched in horror as he started with donuts.”

Fast Feud

Grammy winner Michelle Branch and her band love their fast food. “After one show we tried to pull into a drive-through, but our bus couldn’t make the turn,” says Branch, 20, who’s featured on the new Sessions@AOL compilation CD. “A sign said, ‘No walk-ups,’ but only the drive-through was open, so we ran up and said, ‘Our tour bus won’t fit. Can we order?’ The lady said no. Then I said, ‘Do you like Michelle Branch?’ And she said no. So we ran across the street to a convenience store, found the nicest person we could and said, ‘Can you drive us through the drive-through? We’ll give you 10 bucks,’ and hopped in. We really wanted our spicy chicken sandwiches.”

Elf Life

Walking around Manhattan in a bright green costume and yellow leggings to play a human raised as one of Santa’s elves in the family comedy Elf was a trip for Will Ferrell. “There were catcalls of ‘Nice tights!’ If they didn’t see a camera nearby, they’d avoid me,” says Ferrell, 36. “The best was when I’d hug people. They’d say, ‘You’re that guy from Saturday Night Live—have you gone insane?’ ”

Dub and Dubber

Being chased around by a psycho sure can be hazardous, as Jessica Biel found while filming the remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “A spark from one of the chainsaws burned through my jeans once and I yelled, ‘Cut!’ ” says Biel, 21. “A lightbulb exploded right over my head and shards of glass were embedded in my shoulder. And I lost my voice all the time because of the screaming. My voice would just stop working, but I’d have more screaming to do. So I would strain my mouth wide open and let as much air out as I could [so they could dub it in later]. You feel really silly not actually screaming.”

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