Michael Douglas and Eva Longoria have more in common than starring in "The Sentinel," which opened Friday. They both had lots of explaining to do after interviews with national publications.
Gentleman's Quarterly quoted Douglas in its April issue as criticizing Brad Pitt for the Jennifer Aniston-Angelina Jolie brouhaha. He also reportedly chided Julia Roberts and Renee Zellweger for their brief marriages to Lyle Lovett and Kenny Chesney, respectively.
Longoria, "Desperate Housewives'" lusty Gabrielle Solis, discussed her relationship with San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker in an Allure interview this spring.
"The Allure interview by itself was just fine," Longoria said in a recent telephone interview. "I told Allure that I was more experienced in relationships. I'm 31, and I've been married and divorced. Tony's 23 and has had only one long-term relationship. Then the tabloids had a field day, rearranging the quotes so that it sounded like I said Tony was sexually inexperienced and I had to give him lessons.
"Tony knows what the truth is, and that's what's important. Things like that come with the territory. I try to go with the flow."
Instead of going with GQ's flow, Douglas, 61, says he wrote letters that "apologized profusely" to the celebrities mentioned and has publicly denied making the comments.
"I spent 20 hours with the GQ writer," Douglas said in a recent phone interview. "I called her and asked her to play back the sections where I allegedly made the remarks. She said she had turned off her recorder when I supposedly made them.
"Print publications are under pressure to be as provocative as they can. So they leak a seemingly provocative quote to the media a month before the magazine hits the stands, in hopes of stirring up interest."
Douglas says he may quit doing print interviews altogether. "Or else I'll record them as they interview me."
Douglas, his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their two children, 5-year-old Dylan and 3-year-old Carys, live in Bermuda most of the time. "It's wonderful for kids to grow up without paparazzi or celebrity-stalking Web sites," he says.
That intrusive technology that most celebrities rail against plays a pivotal role in "The Sentinel," in which Douglas stars as a Secret Service agent caught in a web when a plot to assassinate the president appears to come from within the Secret Service. Kiefer Sutherland plays a friend-turned-rival, Longoria is a rookie Secret Service agent and Kim Basinger is the first lady, who has her own set of secrets.
"Working with Kim is a longtime dream," says Douglas, who also produced the film. "She was our first choice for "Basic Instinct.' But she had already done "91/2 Weeks' and didn't want to become the go-to actress for erotic thrillers."
The mention of "Basic Instinct" brings an obvious question about the sequel, also starring Sharon Stone, to which Douglas gives a dutiful answer.
"No, I haven't seen "Basic Instinct 2' yet. I'm aware of the reviews. But I have respect for Sharon and wish her well."
Always vocal about his political beliefs, Douglas was appointed "Messenger of Peace" by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. There are six other "Messengers," including Luciano Pavarotti and Muhammad Ali. "Each of us has an area we focus on," he says. "Mine is disarmament."
He would have had a tough time trying to disarm Longoria. Having grown up on her father's ranch near Corpus Christi, Texas, she was the best shot on "The Sentinel's" set.
"I got lots of practice with my dad. For targets, I used cans, bottles, anything that exploded. I loved the noise."
But not everything in her early years was sunshine and target practice.
"I was definitely the ugly duckling of my family," she says convincingly.
"I was dark, and my three sisters were beautiful, fair-skinned blondes. They told me I must have been switched at birth. Now, whenever I'm on a magazine cover, I send it to them."
She says she sought the largely unsmiling role of agent Jill Marin because it's so different from "Housewives'" Gabrielle.
"Before "Desperate Housewives' ran any longer and I became totally immersed in the public's eye as Gabrielle, I wanted a change of pace. And, actually, I'm much more like Jill than Gabrielle. I love the outdoors, and I love action. Gaby is much more the indoor type.
"But Jill is ambitious and hardworking. She'll probably run the country one day."
For that, you'll have to wait to see whether there's a "Sentinel II."