The Dec. 4 Reliable Source column incorrectly listed Mayor Anthony Williams among the recipients of D.C. Vote's Champions of Democracy award and omitted Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.). (Published 12/5/02)

A Nerve-Racking

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* Freshly minted movie star Derek Luke -- who was on hand for last night's Cineplex Odeon screening of "Antwone Fisher," hosted by the Casey Family Programs and the National Foster Care Coalition -- told us he was nervous when he auditioned for Denzel Washington.

"It was a little nerve-racking. It lasted 20 minutes, and while I read for Denzel, I kept my head down and didn't look up until it was over," said the 28-year-old Jersey City native, who until the summer of 2001 had acted in a couple of sitcoms ("one-line walk-ons"). That's when Washington cast him in the title role.

It's a coming-of-age movie about an anger-crippled sailor who turns his life around with the help of a Navy psychiatrist played by Washington, who also makes his directorial debut. Already there's Oscar buzz for Luke -- no slouch in the Hollywood Heartthrob department. "I'm learning," he said. "I don't think in terms of any kind of mental depression involved in being a star. I believe it's something to be enjoyed. But I also want to be protective and private -- and I don't want to be hiding from it."

Luke, who along with two brothers was raised by a single mom, had been doing odd jobs in Los Angeles -- "One time I was an usher in a theater, or what I call an 'audience coordination technician,' " he joked -- while studying acting. He eventually obtained small parts on "Moesha" and "The King of Queens." He got the acting bug as a toddler. "I remember that seeing Denzel in 'Malcolm X' made such a big impression on me that I was about to convert," he said. "But my mother almost killed me."


* Accessorizing the Candidate, 2004: Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry's $75 Cristophe haircuts hardly dominated yesterday's political news, but they sure opened the floodgates of rumor and innuendo. It was whispered that Massachusetts's junior senator -- whom cybergossip Matt Drudge mocked as "the self-described 'Man of the People' " -- also gets regular manicures and that his favorite beverage is Kir Royale, a fancy confection of creme de cassis and champagne. Our preliminary investigation indicated that Kerry doesn't receive manicures but does keep the fingernails on his right hand slightly longer than those on his left to enable him to play classical guitar. Also, while Kerry has been known to sip a Kir, he doesn't like Kir Royales, and his favorite alcoholic beverage is beer or wine. We further learned that the senator does own "a few" British-made Turnbull & Asser shirts, which range in price from $195 (off the rack) to $375 (custom-tailored). A Kerry aide advised us: "And don't forget to mention his Hermes ties."