November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

WINSLET: ONE HOT MAMA

Kate Winslet can relate to the unkempt appearance of the mom she plays in her new drama, Little Children. “I’m always the sweatiest, hottest—and I mean temperature hot—mother on the playground,” says the actress, 31, who lives outside London with son Joe, 2, daughter Mia, 6, and director husband Sam Mendes. “I much prefer playing characters who look kind of ugly and have strange clothing than to play the glamorous chick,” Winslet says. And so for this role “I was like, ‘Let’s make her look really bad!'”

Schwartzman Plumps Up

When Jason Schwartzman’s cousin (and his director) Sofia Coppola told him to gain 45 lbs. for his role opposite Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette, he went at it full force. “I embarked on a one-man weight-gaining mission,” says the actor. “I would do little tricks, like put doughnuts next to my bed and set my alarm for 3 in the morning, then wake up and power them down, wipe the jelly off my cheek and go back to bed. I stopped all physical activity and drank beer.” Alas, when Schwartzman, 26, began filming in France, costumers fit the clothes precisely to his new frame and gave him a warning. “They told me, ‘You put on 2 more pounds; you have to lose it,'” says Schwartzman. “I thought, ‘You can’t ask a train to stop dead in its tracks!'” C’est la vie.

Virginia Madsen: FALSELY ACCUSED

Virginia Madsen has noticed a pattern: Some actors are never too old for potty humor. “Inevitably a fart machine shows up on every set,” says the actress, 45. “The men find this hilarious because they’re really all 10-year-olds.” While filming A Prairie Home Companion (now out on DVD), Madsen says, “Kevin Kline and John C. Reilly got me in the middle of a take, then laughed with glee.” Madsen’s other costar, Lindsay Lohan, was apparently too young to target. “She was the kid of the set,” says Madsen. “So they were a bit nicer to her.”

“Halloween is a night for amateurs. I dress up and feel dark and moody all year, so I never wear a costume on Halloween. I never go out that night. I just stay in and wait for all the posers to go home.”

MARILYN MANSON, on his low-key Oct. 31 plans, at The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D premiere

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