Body Language: It’s hard to imagine Winona Ryder as a lean, mean fighting machine. But the petite actress is going the Linda Hamilton route for her next film, Alien: Resurrection, which goes before the cameras in December. Ryder will play an android opposite Sigourney Weaver in the third Alien sequel due next summer, and she is currently training six hours a day to prep for the demands of the space-age part. ”What scares me is when they say that I’m going to have to eat differently, because I like to eat,” says the actress, who will first be reunited with her Age of Innocence costar Daniel Day-Lewis in November’s The Crucible. ”I’m skinny and I should be able to eat.” Despite the dietary hassles, Ryder says there is one way Twentieth Century Fox could make it up to her. ”They should start paying me more now — this is harder work,” she reasons. ”I’m going to look into that.”
Science Nonfiction: Textbooks and TV don’t usually mix — unless you’re trying to sell a dry medical guide. Meet The Medicine of ER, the latest in BasicBooks’ ”science of” series, which began last year with The Physics of Star Trek. The concept: Explain the world of emergency medicine while conspicuously weaving in plotlines and characters from the NBC hit (as in ”Imagine doctors such as Susan Lewis, Douglas Ross, and Mark Green transported back in time to around 400 b.c.”). ”People were saying ‘I love this show, but I have no idea what it means,’ ” says Alan Duncan Ross, a TV writer who coauthored the book, out this month, with Dr. Harlan Gibbs. ”After you read the book, you’re sort of on the inside.” But don’t bother looking for anecdotes from George Clooney: While the producers knew about the book, no one from ER had anything to do with Medicine. Up next in the edutainment series is The Science of Jurassic Park and possibly The Science of the X-Files. The books ”are a great way to learn about things you’re curious about,” says BasicBooks VP Susan Rabiner. Which must mean we’ll soon be seeing The Philosophy of Urkel.
— Kristen Baldwin
Home Remedy: It used to be a filmmaker dreaded getting slapped with an NC-17. Well, things certainly have changed. ”G is the kiss of death — even with a film for children,” says director Carroll Ballard, whose heartwarming Fly Away Home, starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin, just opened. ”The studio feels the kids today don’t want to see G-rated movies. They’re too namby-pamby. Too cutesy.” So Ballard made a few edits to ensure that his movie, about a father and daughter who guide a gaggle of Canadian geese south for the winter, earned the more sophisticated PG. ”We had to put in a swearword or two,” he says. Ballard did, however, draw the line at nudity. One scene, featuring Daniels running into a field with a bare bottom, was nixed. Says Ballard: ”Why offend people?”
Reality Bites: Who knew? Former Italian model and brand-new green-card holder Fabio believes firmly in truth in advertising. He signed on as a TV spokesman for Frosted Cheerios only because ”I eat Cheerios,” he says. ”I really eat it.” And this fall, Hollywood Showcase, a syndicated lifestyles, health, and fitness program that Fabio executive-produces, will set viewers straight about making the body beautiful. ”Every time I watch TV and I see all these infomercials…they try to sell you plastic things,” snipes the accented one. ”It’s such a rip-off.” And when he completes negotiations to be a pitchman for an as-yet-unnamed retail chain, he definitely won’t be mooching any complimentary merchandise like other retail spokespeople. ”It’s so cheap,” he says. ”I feel uncomfortable to say, ‘Okay, I need a set of sheets and a few bottles of perfume.’ I have integrity.”