HIGH OCTANE For a moment there, it seemed Vin Diesel might be seeing even more action than usual with his latest project, titled XXX. But producer Neil Moritz assures us that our minds aren't in the gutterwe're just showing our age. ''I don't think kids today know what XXX is,'' he says. ''Nothing is rated X anymore, it's all NC-17.'' (We're sure that warms the MPAA's heart.) The film, which Moritz describes as a PG-13-rated ''X-game version of James Bond,'' began filming this week, and will reunite Diesel with his Fast and the Furious director, Rob Cohen. If all goes well, Moritz hopes XXX will lead to a sequel (XXXX?), which means the producer could become his own worst competition, since he, Cohen, and Diesel are also talking about a Furious reprise. (Diesel is already committed to film Pitch Black 2 this spring, and there are hopes that his upcoming action flick, New Line's Diablo, might spawn a franchise as well.) Says Moritz of the potential scheduling nightmare: ''We'll deal with it.'' Let's just hope Diesel doesn't run out of gas.
LIEV AND LEARN For some truly risqué material, check out Kate & Leopold, a buttoned-up time-travel romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan (Kate), Hugh Jackman (Leopold), and Liev Schreiber. The Scream 2 actor flexes his funny bone as Stuart, Kate's ex-lover and a descendant of Leopold, a duke who jumps a century and meets the girl of his dreams. It's a complicated scenario thatnot to ruin anythingresults in Schreiber playing a guy who once got jiggy with his forebear. ''I said [to director James Mangold], 'I'm sleeping with my great-grandmother?''' recalls Schreiber, who helped write his part. ''He said, 'We're not getting into it.''' Roles aren't getting any simpler for the actor: He's currently playing Iago in a production of Othello, costarring Keith David, at New York's Public Theater.