Take a flying f%$#@&!

Barrymore, Spacek and Tomei debate leadership, celebrity and air travel; Jacko a film director -- "Face Off II"? Plus: Halle Berry barely clothed!

Published November 14, 2001 5:38PM (EST)

Cheer up, Drew Barrymore. Scads of other people may be on your case for skipping NYC in a hurry after taping "Saturday Night Live" a couple weeks back. But Marisa Tomei is on your side.

"I think celebrities should be allowed to make their decision to fly or not in private the same way an average citizen can," Tomei told New York gossipist Baird Jones this week at the premiere of the film "In the Bedroom," in which she stars. "Celebrities should not be held up in public for scrutiny if they choose to avoid New York or to avoid flying, while the average person isn't. When I heard Drew Barrymore was criticized for leaving New York after the attack, I thought that was wrong; that's her private decision."

Tomei makes her private decision about flying on a case-by-case basis, she says. "Flying is a big part of an actor's career ... With all the crashes, sure it's scary," she says. "For me, I try not to make up my mind whether I will actually fly until the morning I have to take the flight ... At least that way I get a good sleep."

Tomei's costar Sissy Spacek, however, thinks Barrymore should have seen the criticism coming and not wigged out quite so obviously. "Celebrities know they have to set an example," she says. "We know we are going to be judged harshly if we back out at the last minute from boarding a plane. It may seem unfair, but that is a burden of fame. We are role models for the rest of America, and it is our duty to show courage and to come to New York even if we are afraid of terrorism and to fly even if we are scared."

Spacek points out that she herself has made a point to visit New York repeatedly since the terrorist attacks. "I've tried to show leadership," she says.

Tina Louise, meanwhile, advises Drew to just sit back and enjoy the ride. "I never feel as free as when I am flying," the actress best known as Ginger from "Gilligan's Island" says. "I love the feeling of weightlessness and freedom, of rising above the land and soaring. Even with all the dangers and craziness going on now, I still look forward to flying as my most enjoyable moments."

Just dont sign her up for a three-hour tour.

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Still getting his hot rocks off

"After a certain age you have to stop behaving like a teenager, but that doesn't mean you have to have a joyless life that's boring and tired."

-- Mick Jagger on growing up without growing old -- or vice versa -- in the German edition of Elle.

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And the award goes to ...?

Oh, Oscar! Michael Jackson's calling ...

According to the Toronto Sun, the peculiar pop star is planning to co-direct his first film. Director Bryan Michael Stoller ("Undercover Angels," "The Random Factor") says he and the man without a face intend to team up to bring the world "Home of the Angels," a story about an 8-year-old orphan boy that Stoller says is "like 'Stand by Me' with a little bit of 'Oliver.'"

"Michael can relate to this because I think he feels that he kind of grew up as an orphan," Stoller explains. "Some of his favorite movies are 'Boys Town' and 'Oliver.'"

Yeah. OK. But directing? Never before has a boy wanted more.

"Michael has for a long time wanted to direct feature films," Stoller told the Canadian paper. "I don't know if you know, but he bought the Oscar for 'Gone With the Wind' ... for $1.5 million. He proudly displays it on a turnstile in his living room under glass."

But Stoller says Jackson would like a chance to thank the Academy in his own right. "He's never won an Academy Award and he feels this material could attract Academy attention."

No, I don't think it's a thriller.

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Little ditty that sounds like the other ditties

"All of these records seem the same to me. That's why I'm so surprised when people distinguish that one record is better than another. I've been writing the same way for years."

-- John Cougar Mellencamp on how all his music sounds the same to him.

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Berry, Berry naked

If you didn't see enough of Halle Berry in "Swordfish," you'll soon have another chance. The actress shows more flesh still in the upcoming film "Monster's Ball," in which she and Billy Bob Thornton go at it with a vengeance onscreen. (Don't look, Angelina!)

But at the film's premiere, Berry told USA Today she didn't want to discuss it.

"Why does everybody go there?" she asked, referring to the press's preoccupation with her nude scenes. "Don't do it to me. They did it to me in 'Swordfish.'"

Is it me, or does someone have a teensy-weensy persecution complex?

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

By Amy Reiter

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Celebrity Michael Jackson