Double Exposure

“It’s not just how good his work is,” says Jon Avnet, producer of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (opening Sept. 17), “it’s so much fun with him.” That must mean Hollywood will be whooping it up this fall because Law is showing up in an impressive six films. He plays a daredevil pilot in Sky Captain; a department store exec opposite Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin in the offbeat comedy I Heart Huckabees (Oct. 1); and a womanizer trying to determine what it’s all about in a remake of the 1966 comedy Alfie (Oct. 22), costarring his offscreen love interest Sienna Miller. In the drama Closer (Dec. 3), he cheats on Natalie Portman. What else? He stars as Errol Flynn in The Aviator (Dec. 17) and narrates Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Dec. 17).

The actress reteams with her Talented Mr. Ripley costar Law in Sky Captain. The film also brought her together with her longtime pal, fashion designer Stella McCartney (daughter of Paul), who created the movie’s 1939 noirish costumes. “Gwyneth was very involved with Stella in designing the clothing,” says Sky Captain producer Jon Avnet. “Gwyneth knows what she likes. She has really impeccable taste.” Paltrow also stars in Proof (Dec. 24), an adaptation of David Auburn’s Pulitzer-winning play. Reuniting with director John Madden (their last collaboration, 1998’s Shakespeare in Love, won Paltrow an Oscar), she plays a woman grieving over the death of her mentally unbalanced father (Anthony Hopkins), while fearing she’ll follow in his footsteps.

The adventure-loving actress bounds between land, sea and sky in a trio of upcoming roles. In Alexander (Nov. 5), she’s Olympias, the ruthless mother of Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great (Colin Farrell). Working with director Oliver Stone, “everything is just from the deepest part of your gut,” says Jolie. Far less grueling was her work on the animated Shark Tale (Oct. 1), in which she sends up her screen persona as a fishy femme fatale. “Lola is Angelina—I have to credit her with inventing the character,” says codirector Vicky Jenson. And yes, that’s Jolie sporting an eye patch in Sky Captain.

To return as the Helen Fielding heroine in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Nov. 19), the actress put the pounds back on (she gained 20 for the 2001 original) and took her Britspeak out of mothballs. “It didn’t matter what we talked about, she always used her English accent,” says the sequel’s director, Beeban Kidron. “I got so used to it that the minute we wrapped, and she started talking to me properly, I did a double take.” Zellweger does plenty of those herself in The Edge of Reason, the follow-up to Bridget Jones’s Diary (and, like its predecessor, based on a Fielding novel). “The first film was about the fantasy of relationship,” says producer Eric Fellner, “and this one is about the reality of it.” To that end, stuffy Colin Firth and caddish Hugh Grant return to make Zellweger’s life, as Jones herself might write, v. v. complicated. Zellweger’s relationship foibles continue in the computer-animated Shark Tale (Oct. 1). The actress voices Angie, a fish who quietly pines for her best pal Oscar (Will Smith).

Don’t expect to see much of Roberts’s famous smile in director Mike Nichols’s Closer (Dec. 3), based on Patrick Marber’s harrowing look at the intertwining relationships among two couples. Roberts plays Anna, a photographer who becomes involved with a writer (Jude Law, in yet another movie!), who’s cheating on his girlfriend (Natalie Portman). Having inherited the challenging role from Cate Blanchett (whose pregnancy caused her to drop out), Roberts “brought everything she had, and then some,” says producer John Calley. “We were knocked out by her.” While shooting Ocean’s Twelve (Dec. 10), Roberts herself was pregnant. No problem: So is the feisty Tess, a character Roberts reprises in this sequel to 2001’s hit caper Ocean’s Eleven. Costar George Clooney is also back as her love interest, along with his partners in crime Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.

Good thing she seems to have found love with Marc Anthony. Onscreen, there’s no romance for the diva. In the comedy Shall We Dance? (Oct. 15), Lopez is a ballroom dance instructor who teaches Richard Gere all the right moves—ultimately to the delight of his wife, played by Susan Sarandon. “She’s never played a character like this,” says Dance producer Simon Fields. “It was a challenge for her.” In An Unfinished Life (Dec. 24), Lopez is a broke widow who tries to reconcile with her father-in-law, a prickly rancher played by Robert Redford.

Jason Lynch and Michelle Tauber. Natasha Stoynoff, Amy Longsdorf and KC Baker in New York City and Kwala Mandel in Los Angeles

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