August 09, 2002 01:50 AM

FOUR-LEGGED: “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire will race out of the gate atop the most famous prize-winning horse of all time, playing jockey Red Pollard in the movie adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling biography, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend.” Variety reported that Maguire, 27, will be paid in excess of $12 million for the true-life Depression-era drama, with shooting scheduled to commence this fall for a winter 2003 release.

GOOD ROLE: Jennifer Aniston’s role as an unfaithful rural Texas wife in the new film “The Good Girl” is a long way from her perky Rachel Green on “Friends.” Aniston told New York’s Daily News that playing Rachel “can become a kind of thorn in your side . . . because sometimes people just identify you with that character.” And as for extramarital affairs, Aniston, who in real life is married to Brad Pitt, 39, said, “The idea that someone else is going to be your savior, that just isn’t gonna work. We all come in alone, and we’re going out alone. As long as you have someone to sit and enjoy the ride with.” HOT PANTS: On Monday, “Today” host Katie Couric, 45, held an exclusive on-air interview with Jacqueline Marries, 17, and Tamara Brooks, 16, who recounted their 12-hour ordeal of the week before of being abducted and assaulted until they were rescued by police, who killed their kidnapper. (The pair is on this week’s cover of PEOPLE.) But it turns out that a booker for the “Today” show violated the network’s news standards and bought Marries an $80 pair of pants, said the Associated Press. “Today” spokeswoman Allison Gollust labeled the purchase a gesture of sympathy and not a bribe, adding, “It’s still no excuse for violating NBC policy. Appropriate action will be taken.”

BIG ANNA: Sunday night’s premiere of E! Entertainment Television’s “The Anna Nicole Show” commanded record ratings: more than 4 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings. The critically reviled half-hour peek inside the life of the former Playboy Playmate, 34, who married well (if briefly, to a very old, very rich man, oilman J. Howard Marshall II, who died in 1995 at the age of 90), outperformed the debut episode of MTV’s “The Osbournes,” the series that inspired it.

MORE MOORE: No more taking it easy in Hailey, Idaho. Smoky-voiced Demi Moore, 39, one of the hottest stars of a decade ago, is poised to play a small part in the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels 2: Halo,” scheduled for release next summer, according to both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. The role, that of a former, now “fallen” Angel who operates on the wrong side of the law, will mark Moore’s first movie job in five years, since a self-imposed exile to raise her three daughters (by Bruce Willis, to whom she was married from 1987-2000): Rumer, 14, Scout, 11, and Tallulah, 8.

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