Q: In Chocolat, JULIETTE BINOCHE’s intoxicating mix of chocolate and chili powder stirs the love juices. True?
A: Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac. And the oil from chili peppers is known to cause a tingling sensation. ”You could stretch it and say the heat of the chilies and the chocolate mix to cause something,” says SUSAN FENIGER of L.A.’s Ciudad restaurant. ”Is it sexual? I don’t know, but it could be.” As long as it’s chocolate, does it matter?
Q: In Cast Away, TOM HANKS is stranded on a deserted island after his Federal Express plane goes down. Wasn’t the shipping company worried about the film’s graphic crash? And while we’re on the subject, Hanks opens FedEx packages not addressed to him. Isn’t that a no-no?
A: FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith thought the movie exposure would be priceless. ”We stepped back and looked at the script and realized that [the film] captures the essence of our brand,” says FedEx spokesperson Carla Boyd. ”At the end, he delivers the package that gave him the will to live.” As for opening boxes not addressed to you, it is against the law to open U.S. mail. But, says Boyd, ”the postal laws do not apply to us.”
Q: In Traffic, CATHERINE ZETA-JONES shows off a colorful toy made of pure cocaine that dissolves into powder in water. Is that really possible?
A: According to Jim Michie of the U.S. Customs Service, ”There is a binder that can turn cocaine powder into a solid.” He even recalls a case of dinner plates made of coke, but the druggie dishes didn’t make it past the agency’s canine unit. While Michie’s never seen a blow-based doll, he says, ”As far as we know, our canines can [still] detect it.” So much for those hashish Diva Starz.