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PHONE SEX What’s the 411 on the telephone numbers in Magnolia? Instead of the traditional faux 555 exchange, the film features bona fide digits, most notable among them the hotline for the Tom Cruise character’s sex-guru biz, 877-TAME HER. Dial it up and you’ll be subjected to a recording of Cruise (as Frank T.J. Mackey, of course) leading a crowd in an expletive-filled, misogynistic rant. A New Line spokesman will say only that the phone number ”had to be purchased. That’s how we got away without using the 555 number.” No doubt the film’s notoriously finicky auteur, Paul Thomas Anderson, made that call. — Joshua Rich

HUGH TURN Those Brits can be so bloody clever. The producers of Notting Hill just got the go-ahead to shoot their next film — a war drama based on the Louis de Bernieres novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — but their sly publicity campaign started months ago. In the final scene of last year’s Hill, Hugh Grant blissfully flips through a copy of…yes, Mandolin (photo). ”It’s one of those lovely little things you can do when you’re shooting a movie,” says producer Eric Fellner of London-based Working Title Films. No word on whether Mandolin — which stars Nicolas Cage and is being directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) — will plug Working Title’s upcoming movie Bridget Jones’s Diary. — Jason Cochran

DIGIT-AL REVOLUTION Talk to the hand, if you must. But these days don’t be surprised if the hand starts talking back: Puppetry, of all things, has become Hollywood’s latest obsession. On the big screen, marionettes and their handheld sibs have popped up in such recent films as Being John Malkovich; Cradle Will Rock; Girl, Interrupted; The Sixth Sense; and Man on the Moon. Meanwhile, two pooches are vying for Kermit-like status on the small screen: Late Night With Conan O’Brien mainstay Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, and the wisecracking Pets.com spokesdog, which will be featured in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial. What’s the doll deal? ”A lot of it is us looking back to the past,” says Bobby Box, associate producer at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. Or maybe, as in the case of the potty-mouthed Triumph, it’s just a good way to make poop jokes. Says creator Robert Smigel, ”Triumph gets to make fun of people like John Tesh in ways that Conan can’t do to their face.” — Brian M. Raftery