Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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LA Daily News: Spywitness

By Sharon Knolle

July 29, 2004 -- MEAT OF THE MATTER: Stars chew on "White Castle"

"It's my first ever," admitted "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Cheryl Hines, as she nibbled a White Castle burger handed out by sexy waitresses at the "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" premiere at Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood.

The teen road trip comedy is about the search for the addictive mini-burgers, deemed the perfect late-night snack by the film's stoner pals Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn).

"We used to call them Sliders because they just slide right down your throat," said Drew Carey. "Most people order six at a time, although some guys would get a whole dozen if they're really hungry."

But there's no White Castle in LA except for the temp promo one on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Will the movie make El-Layers want a real one?

"I don't know if we need a White Castle any more than New Jersey needs an In 'N' Out, said Robert Downey Jr., who snuck in the film as the lights dimmed. "Sometimes it's nice to know there's something you can only get some places. (But if they came out here), I have a feeling they might blow up (become a craze)."

"Yeah, they might become the next Krispy Kremes," agreed "I Love the '90s" talking head Rachel Harris. "And they're low-carb!"

"We should petition Arnold (CA Governor Schwarzenegger)," joked "Law & Order" star Christopher Meloni. "Get the ball rolling!"

With no White Castle, what satisfies stars' late-night munchies?

Neil Patrick Harris, who trashes his G-rated Doogie Howser image in "Castle" playing a stripper obsessed car-jacker, admits, "I'm a mac & cheese guy. I love me some Kraft Easy Mac!"

So now you know.

VILLAIN AND HEROES: Just call him Sir Ben.

At the Los Angeles premiere of "Thunderbirds," British actor Ben Kingsley admitted that he quite likes having been knighted by his countrymen.

"The English aren't like Americans. The Americans will stop me in the street, yell from passing cars ... saying how much they enjoy seeing me. The British don't do that. But suddenly, out of nowhere, they give you a knighthood. That really makes me treasure it. The English are not very outgoing."

Kingsley is very outgoing as "Thunderbirds' " mind-bending baddie. And he sounded rather Shakespearean about his villainous role.

"The young hero has to have a dragon to slay, a mountain to pass through, the ogres to chase out of the forest, and I'm the dragon in this film. I don't have flames coming out of my mouth, but I have flames coming out of my eyes. It's a beautiful role," he said.

The film's other adults, Bill Paxton and Anthony Edwards, couldn't make the Universal CityWalk premiere. But the fresher faces were out in full force. And trust us, they are all ones to watch.

Keep an eye on Vanessa Anne Hudgens. "Thunderbirds" is Hudgens' second film. Her first movie was the controversial "Thirteen," in which she had a small role, and her co-star from that film, Evan Rachel Wood, showed up at the "T-Birds" premiere for red-carpet moral support.

Another rising star is Lex Shrapnel, whose real name sounds more like a superhero's than his on-screen moniker - John Tracy. He's been in "Nine Lives" (with Paris Hilton, no less), about nine friends stranded in a Scottish manor house, and "K-19: The Widowmaker" (with Harrison Ford).

Critics are raving over Sophia Myles, who plays the pink-clad Lady Penelope as part Nancy Drew sleuth, part Chanel-suited minx.