Ellen Barkin is as feisty and outspoken as ever. She's starring in Todd Solondz's controversial new movie, "Palindromes." She talked with NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin.

Were you nervous taking on this role?

No, I was more than honored. I said yes before I read the script. He's the best director I've worked with.

Have you answered a million questions about abortion?

Yes, and I'm happy to answer more. I'm adamantly pro-choice. I guess I'm a child of the '60s, and I remember one of my friends hemorrhaging on the bathroom floor because she'd just come back from Puerto Rico. What I see ahead is Roe v. Wade being chipped away every day by this hysterically frightened society. I find it horrifying.

Let's talk about plastic surgery!


Hey, that's me. Pretend I'm a shallow gay man.

Shallow, yet perfectly keeping in the Zeitgeist.

You've been talking about it.

I have. You don't know if these actresses are 17 or 70. Some of them don't look like themselves. I think now it's f---ing terrifying. I don't get why a 38-year-old girl needs a face-lift or her eyes done. I don't think women get their real face till between 35 and 38.

There are certainly lots of descriptions of your face.

Lopsided, asymmetrical. Yeah. And I don't like them, by the way.

You don't work much anymore.

I am not terribly ambitious. It's never been important to be in a magazine. Also, I'm incredibly lazy.

So what do you do all day? Get manicures?

No! I get my hair done--a lot of haircuts from Serge Normand. I'm obsessed. I have children in my life, and I teach at the New School.

Are you a mean teacher?

No, mostly I gossip and tell them who I hated, who I didn't hate, who I slept with, who I didn't sleep with.

Willis Gets a French Toast

It could have been worse. The French government could have celebrated the artistry of Ashton Kutcher. Still, even in a country enamored of Jerry Lewis, it's hard to fathom why "Hudson Hawk" star Bruce Willis deserved to be an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. The die-hard Republican seemed taken aback to be feted by so many "Old Europe" types. "We all belong to the same artistic community," he said before adding, "Vive la France!" The French cultural minister, perhaps eager to prove this wasn't all an overseas episode of "Punk'd," tried to explain himself: "Your roles cannot be reduced to the fight between good and evil, even if you have killed a lot of villains," he said. Maybe the next honoree should be Jean-Claude Van Damme?

Completely Infantile

If you already have morning sickness from hearing all the Britney Spears baby talk, get used to it. Knowing the Britney beat as we do, we imagine we'll get an update on every crawfish-and-ice-cream craving. Here are some stories to expect as she continues expecting:

Baby names: Kevin Federline's kids, with actress Shar Jackson, are Kori and Kaleb. Will Brit spawn a Kira or a Kal-El? What about Madeline Federline?

Maternity duds: What does a pregnant girl who never covers her tummy wear? Maybe nothing: rumor has it she may do a Demi Moore and pose au naturel for a magazine cover.

The shower: Who will show up and what will they bring? Actually, does Britney have any girlfriends? Maybe Madonna will fork over one of her children's books.

Lamaze classes: Jackson says Kev's a "great" dad, but will he be there for Britney now that he's busy recording an album?

Pimp my crib: What will the nursery look like? We won't even speculate. Britney's pooch, Bit Bit, has a room with a chandelier.

It's Official: The Film Is Freakin' Sweet

Idaho loves 'Napoleon Dynamite' so much, its state legislature formally commended the filmmakers. Excerpts:

WHEREAS, Tater Tots figure prominently in this film, thus promoting Idaho's most famous export; and
WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered multiethnic relationships; and
WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics; and
WHEREAS, Kip's relationship with LaFawnduh is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho's commitment to healthy marriages...

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