• U.S.

People: Dec. 18, 2006

4 minute read
Rebecca Winters Keegan


For a second season, Michael Ealy stars as a Black Muslim undercover FBI agent in the Showtime mini-series Sleeper Cell

How does a show that deals with radical Muslims and terror plots avoid turning off viewers?

I think because we show the humanity behind the characters, as opposed to making them one-dimensional, evil people.

What made the creators think a Black Muslim hero was a good idea?

They thought it would be the most accurate portrayal of a Muslim in America, outside that of an Arab-American.

Did you really study the Koran and learn to speak Arabic?

Yes. But I’m not fluent.

So you can’t order dinner in Cairo?

No. Nor am I ready to be a Koranic scholar.

How bummed are you about not being one of PEOPLE’s sexiest men alive this year, after being featured in 2002?

I didn’t know I wasn’t. I don’t give it much weight.

PEOPLE says you and [Studio 60 star] D.L. Hughley are sexy look-alikes.

Get out of here! In what world? It’s the hair. They see two black men with hair and think they look alike.

Some former co-stars say you’re quite the kisser. What’s the secret to a great onscreen lip lock?

Communication beforehand. I like to ask women how far I can go. Most of my female co-stars have been game for whatever I’ve brought to the table. But I’ve got some new moves up my sleeve for this season of the show, and for my next movie.

A LESSON FROM THE CINEMA: DON’T TRUST MATT Two recent movies, The Departed and The Good Shepherd, share more than Oscar ambitions and a wardrobe department full of suits. Consider the similarities:

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Period thriller set against a backdrop of a secretive New England society known for its barbaric rituals: Yale University’s Skull and Bones THE DEPARTED Profane thriller set against a backdrop of a secretive New England society known for its barbaric rituals: Boston’s Irish Mob

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Stars MATT DAMON as a CIA agent of questionable loyalty THE DEPARTED Stars MATT DAMON as a Massachusetts cop of questionable loyalty

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Directed by the guy who starred in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas: Robert De Niro THE DEPARTED Directed by the guy who directed Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Alec Baldwin delivers the film’s best punchlines as a gruff FBI agent THE DEPARTED Alec Baldwin delivers the film’s best punchlines as a gruff police captain

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Stressed-out Damon finds solace in trustworthy deaf love interest Tammy Blanchard THE DEPARTED Stressed-out Damon finds solace in trustworthy therapist love interest Vera Farmiga

THE GOOD SHEPHERD Villain Oleg Stefan is nicknamed for James Joyce’s Ulysses

THE DEPARTED Villain Jack Nicholson quotes Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


After David Lee Roth left Van Halen, upset fans took time to embrace Sammy Hagar. Likely to be more welcoming are Wiggles groupies, partly because some are still potty training. The new Yellow Wiggle, SAM MORAN, replaces the Australian kids’ band’s lead singer of 15 years, Greg Page, who left due to an illness that kept him from performing standards like Yummy Yummy and Toot Toot. The ubiquitous group has sold more than 15 million CDs and DVDs in the U.S. Van Halen has sold more, but Van Halen fans don’t have such grateful mothers.


George Clooney’s longest-running relationship with a nonfamily member has ended. Yes, Hollywood’s perma-bachelor did manage to commit, to a nearly 300-lb. Vietnamese potbellied pig named MAX, for 18 years. Max, 19, died peacefully at Clooney’s Los Angeles home earlier this month. “He got me in a lot of trouble, that pig–scared the hell out of a lot of delivery people too,” an emotional Clooney said days later at the premiere of his newest film, The Good German. Clooney first bought Max for his girlfriend, actress Kelly Preston. Preston left for John Travolta; Clooney got the pig. Max, who enjoyed relaxing at his “vacation home” in Clooney’s garage, struggled with his weight, and once cheated death when one of Clooney’s friends accidentally ran over him in 2001. Max is survived by Clooney’s agent, publicist and any number of women willing to be Clooney’s next pet.

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