February 07, 2000 12:00 PM

Newly engaged James Woods says his “defining moment” with his fiancée, actress Melissa Crider, was when she said that she wanted to spend New Year’s Eve in a cabin alone with him. So he booked a spot at a ranch resort in Southern California and bought a ring at Tiffany to take with him. One night during the stay, at a restaurant, Woods gave his jacket to Crider, who was cold, forgetting the ring box was in one of the pockets. When she asked what it was, he fibbed that it was a camcorder battery. Later, Crider started talking about going and buying two rings and getting married. Woods pulled out the ring and replied, “Okay, here’s yours.” No date has been set.

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron were invited to join Robert Redford at the private upstairs table for eight that his trendy Zoom restaurant holds for him. I spotted the actors, who’d just finished filming The Legend of Bagger Vance, which Redford directed, coming downstairs. They repaired to the bar and were joined by Damon’s pal Ben Affleck, in town promoting his movie Boiler Room. Meanwhile, Stanley Tucci, who came to the festival to promote his new film Joe Gould’s Secret (with Sir Ian Holm), beat a hasty exit when his wife, Kate, went into labor with twins named Nicolo Robert and Isabel Concetta.

Sharon Stone has a very new do. The actress decided she wanted a Vidal Sassoon “precision” cut. So she called the salon in San Francisco and asked for someone trained personally by Vidal Sassoon to give her” the coif. Stone, who often cuts her own hair, apparently didn’t feel up to attempting this style—a perfect blunt cut.

In a scene in the new biopic about Jacqueline Susann, Isn’t She Great, Bette Midler—as Susann—is interviewed by Johnny Carson. To accomplish this, producers licensed Tonight Show footage of a real interview Carson had done with Susann in 1973. They then filmed Midler and spliced her answers into the show with Carson, who okayed the deal since she is one of his favorite performers.

During the filming of The Cider House Rules, Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom got Erik Per Sullivan (of FOX’s new hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle) to deliver his memorable performance as Fuzzy, an orphan with tuberculosis, by speaking to him in Swedish. Erik, whose mom is Swedish, bonded with Hallstrom by speaking the director’s language when they first met. Says Erik’s mother, Ann Sullivan: “At first, Michael Caine and the cast were surprised. They knew Lasse was Swedish but had no idea Erik could speak Swedish too.” Adds Erik: “It was so much fun because we could talk to each other and no one could understand.”

Fast Takes: I hear that Helen Hunt is being paid $1 million for three days’ work as Tom Hanks’s girlfriend in the upcoming film Castaway…. Christian Slater will marry fiancée Ryan Haddon on Feb. 12 at L.A.’s Four Seasons Hotel…. A source tells me Lucy Knight, Kellie Martin’s character on ER, will be killed off violently this season. Neither NBC nor executive producer John Wells would confirm or deny.

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