Checking In With Denzel

* Our friend Denzel Washington, in town this week for a board meeting of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, claims that his soon-to-be-released thriller, "The Bone Collector," is so good it scares him. "It had me jumping a few times, and I'm in it," he told us.

Meanwhile, the 44-year-old star has been savoring some time off while recovering from injuries suffered during the making of a movie about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. "I haven't worked for eight months," he said. "It's been good to stay home and give my body a chance to heal. I never boxed before and was in training for two years. I did a lot of damage to my knuckle and my wrist and [right] shoulder. . . . I felt like I had to learn how to box as best as I could. I wanted to look as authentic as I could. And I wanted to be in the shape that a boxer would be."

Maybe Denzel would like to go up against Mike Tyson, who has been training for a fall bout but still lacks an opponent? "Unfortunately, we're not in the same weight class."

The Dreyfuss Affair

Democrat Richard Dreyfuss, a Hollywood actor who's so serious about his politics that he employs a full-time adviser, says it's too early to announce his presidential choice. But not, apparently, to attack the GOP frontrunner.

"The chickens are coming home to roost for the Republicans and George W. Bush," Dreyfuss told us yesterday from an Amtrak train headed for Philadelphia, where the event he was supposed to emcee --celebrating a new design for the National Constitution Center--was canceled because of Hurricane Floyd. "They're going to have to live with questions about George Bush's past as long as they support legislation that sends casual drug users to prison. Bush is for welfare mothers getting their welfare taken away if they have a drug arrest. If he were elected president, he'd be on the federal dole. The only difference is: He wasn't caught."

As for Warren Beatty's alleged candidacy: "I think it's very funny to see how you journalists continue to play the story," he said. "It must be a slow news day. What are you guys up to?" Hey, pal, we ask the questions here!

Mr. Sulu Navigates TV Diversity

* George Takei, "Star Trek's" Mr. Hikaru Sulu, wants more minorities on television. "We seem to be regressing now," the 62-year-old Japanese American told us, bemoaning that the networks' diversity-free fall lineup is worlds away from the all-inclusive Starship Enterprise. "This all-white season feeds into the delusions of white supremacists. It sustains the perception that, no matter how many years we've been in this country, we're not really American."

Los Angeles native Takei, who was in Washington yesterday to pick up an award from the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, spent four years in World War II internment camps. "I started kindergarten there in the swamps of Arkansas," he said. "We'd say the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning and look out the window and see the barbed-wire fences." With such memories, the actor is taking his message intergalactic at warp speed. "True Trekkies embrace diversity," he said.

THIS JUST IN . . .

* Princess Di biographer Sally Bedell Smith responded to Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson's scorching comments in yesterday's Source. "I don't have any beef with Fergie," the author of "Diana in Search of Herself" told us, pointing out that she diligently sought an interview with Fergie and presented ample evidence that she and Di weren't speaking at the time of Di's death. "I hope she reads the book so she can offer thoughtful comments instead of shooting from the hip--and we hope it is a slim hip."

* Tennis, anyone? No? How about romance? Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi were spotted holding hands and kissing Wednesday while shopping a deux at the Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. "They looked just adorable," reports our West Coast friend Nikki Finke.

* Game show host Bob Barker came to town to lobby for elephant freedom yesterday but ended up in George Washington University Hospital suffering from fatigue. We hear he's doing fine.

* Going after the Viking vote? Senate hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton plans a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, next month for a conference on "Women and Democracy at the Dawn of the New Millennium."

* Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, who quit recently as America Online's chief technology officer, the job he took after AOL swallowed up his company, was asked yesterday what he does with all those AOL promotional disks that arrive by snail mail. "I use them as Frisbees with my bulldogs," he said during an online discussion with The Post's Shannon Henry. "They love to chase them across the yard and try to eat them . . . crunch crunch."