His name might not turn heads, but once Jesse Metcalfe takes off his shirt -- as he did regularly as Eva Longoria's boy toy/gardener on Desperate Housewives -- you'll probably recognize those perky pecs. One of TV's hunkiest actors graduates to the silver screen this week in John Tucker Must Die, a clever teen comedy that revolves around Metcalfe's philandering title character. The actor and his abs were in town recently for the MuchMusic Video Awards.
Your tan is perfect. How do you get a tan like that?
I actually got it here, yesterday, hanging out by the pool for a few hours. Yeah, rough life - that's all I do, hang out at pools. I'm perfecting my life of leisure.
One of the characters in the film describes you as a cross between an Abercrombie & Fitch model and a Greek god. Accurate?
I don't think in those terms. I'm just a normal, down-to-earth guy who likes to hang with his friends, go to bars and look at classic cars. I grew up in the suburbs in Connecticut in a borderline white-trash neighbourhood.
Have you been back since?
Nah. It can go one of two ways. You either go back and are the hometown hero, or people resent you. I think I'd get the latter.
Are you tired of the sex symbol thing?
The pros outweigh the cons, because the business is very competitive and there are perks to having some celebrity status and being a working actor. But it gets old fast, especially when the first question people ask is "How does it feel to take your shirt off all the time?"
What high school clique were you in?
None. I was an outsider with maybe one close friend. I was caught somewhere between jock guy and artsy guy.
Favourite high school movie?
The Breakfast Club was the first film that made me think about film critically - it inspired me to go to film school at NYU for directing. As far as the role's concerned, I took many cues from Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's one of the best teen movies ever made. He's very much a John Tucker figure: the cool guy who does everything right who's loved by everyone. I tried to make my character as likeable, because you could easily hate him.
You've got a big scene in a thong. Hard to do?
It actually made me question whether I should take the role. But it was a rush to film. There's really only one way you can do a scene like that: full steam ahead.
Where's the thong now? You could probably sell it on eBay.
I think one of the wardrobe ladies has it. I didn't keep it as a memento. Let somebody make some money off it if they like.
Your Punk'd episode is apparently one of the best ever.
They really got me. They infiltrated my inner circle and got my manager to tell me I had an audition for Spider-Man 3. I got into a gold spandex suit and acted like a half-man, half-lizard in front of a green screen, saying the most ridiculous lines you've ever heard. The funny thing is, a lot of people say they loved my audition. Needless to say, that manager no longer works for me.
JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE (Betty Thomas) Rating: NNN
John Tucker Must Die is essentially a high school version of The First Wives Club. After nobody newcomer Kate (Brittany Snow) discovers that the school's big stud (Jesse Metcalfe) is simultaneously dating at least three girls (chosen from different cliques so they won't know about the others), those same three girls give Kate a makeover and Rules-style indoctrination so she can seduce and destroy the guy. Of course, the vengeance plot backfires and Kate ends up liking John - though she's also drawn to his slacker brother.
It's a better-than-average teen comedy featuring likeable performances (including an understated Jenny McCarthy as Kate's loser-magnet mom). The script's only unintentional howler is a reference to Dave Eggers that's more appropriate for its 30-something screenwriter than its non-book-reading teens.