By Andrew Essex
July 30, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT


Yes, you’re all on a roll, but this town is fertilized with actors who forgot what made them famous. Don’t let this happen to you. To keep your brilliant careers flying, you need to know your strengths, restrain your weaknesses, and keep ’em coming back for more. Remember: When you’re up, there’s nowhere to go but down.

WILL SMITH You own Independence Day. Big deal. Take a sick day from the Fourth of July and do something interesting (you actually acted in Six Degrees of Separation a few years back).

LEONARDO DICAPRIO What’s all this we hear about a fourth installment of The Godfather? That’s an offer you can definitely refuse. Your winter project, the aquatic drama The Beach, sounds interesting, as does Gangs of New York, the Marty Scorsese picture you’ve signed to do. If you ever decide to make a summer blockbuster, we recommend nixing all giant lizards and directors fresh off TV commercials. You sunk once and it worked. Don’t tempt fate and retain water.

JULIA ROBERTS After Pretty Woman made you America’s sweetheart, you embraced the dark side in somber duds like Mary Reilly. Going back to romantic comedy in Notting Hill was shrewd. As an actress, you’re still underappreciated, but there’ll be time to get serious later. For now, here’s the deal: You keep smiling, we’ll keep buying.

DREW BARRYMORE What’s with you and producing? First there was Never Been Kissed (okay, we went to see it, and the movie made some dough, but we didn’t respect you in the morning); now there’s Charlie’s Angels. A-list directors would love to work with you. So we suggest you stop flirting with bottom lines and the fickle teen market. However, if you do exec-produce that crime drama Virgin Heat, please, for the love of Lillian Gish, change the title.

JODIE FOSTER Try making a movie once in a while. Anna and the King — your upcoming dramatic incarnation of The King and I story — looks like a swell period picture, but how ’bout playing a modern woman again? You’re missing the prime years of your acting life (audiences have short attention spans). But whatever you do, don’t make the Silence of the Lambs sequel — the book bites.

SALMA HAYEK You look marvelous. Now, stay home and read a few good scripts. Playing Frida (as in Kahlo) sounds like a smart return to your Latin roots.

EWAN MCGREGOR Just because you nabbed a plum role in a prime franchise doesn’t mean you should suddenly become the ”family movie” guy. The projects you have in development — Psychoville, Disturbia, and The Hellfire Club — sound as though you haven’t lost your edge. Good (bad) boy.

JOHN TRAVOLTA You’re big enough, you’re smart enough, and for heaven’s sake, you must be rich enough! Just ’cause a producer has a $20 million check with your name on it doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. Our advice: Have your people call Quentin.