People: Aug. 12, 1985

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"Realism was very important to me," says Tom Cruise of his latest acting assignment. To prepare for the role of a trainee Navy jet fighter pilot in Top Gun, now filming on location at Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego, the star of Risky Business has been tagging along with actual flyers, on the ground and in the air, in a TA-4 single-engine fighter. "The maneuvers look graceful from the ground," says the actor, "but it's amazing how violent it is inside the cockpit. You are just holding on with five Gs pulling at you and the blood is leaving your brain. It's pretty intense." Cruise, 23, was impressed with the mettle of the men who fly the machines. "They certainly are a breed of their own," he says. "One instructor told me, 'There are only four jobs in the world worth having: an actor, a rock star, a jet fighter pilot and President.' " At Cruise's age, having a go at two out of four is not bad at all.

In the polls his political popularity is sagging, but the rest of him seems to be holding up very well. If French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius can harness the power of love to the love of power, then he has nothing to worry about. Why? Because--zut alors!--the balding, slightly shaggy, extremely straitlaced father of two is France's newest sex symbol. According to a poll in the August issue of French Cosmopolitan, his countrywomen rate him the sexiest fellow in France. Asked to name the man they would 1) choose as a lover, 2) consider the "King Kong of sex," 3) want to spend their "last night of love" with and 4) pick as a husband given the chance to start life over, the women of France each time voted Fabius into their fantasy bedrooms ahead of such Gallic gallants as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon and GĂ©rard Depardieu. How can this be? Those polled did not say more, and Madame Fabius said nothing. As for the fabulous Fabius, he was, said a spokesman, "amused."

Her wholesome girl-next-door looks had already led to a healthy career as a top fashion model, but Carol Alt was ready "to do something a little different." That something turned out to be a 22-in. by 34-in. poster, which started selling out as soon as it hit the stores in February. She was "uncomfortable at first" with the results, and reports that her hockey star husband Ron Greschner was a "little shocked when the actual poster came out." But Alt, 24, has no regrets about posing. The new exposure helped her land her first acting part, in the current Los Angeles stage revival of the musical Sweet Charity. "Acting and modeling are the same kind of thing," she contends. "Instead of projecting to a camera, you have to project to a live audience. The main thing is the addition of words." Right. Also, don't forget to take your bow.

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