June 2006 By Philip Berk
He’s 27, but Jesse Metcalfe has no trouble passing for 18 in his first starring role (in John Tucker Must Die.)
When he took his shirt off on Desperate Housewives he became an unwitting sex symbol.
Three years later he’s still being propositioned wherever he goes.
At least that’s what he tells me, at his press conference, where he is accompanied by his mother.
Mainly by older women? I ask him.
“Oh yeah. Big time. I have a lot of older ladies coming up with really aggressive lines, like, ‘I have a bush that needs trimming.’ I’ve heard that on more than several occasions.”
In what situations?
“You name it. Walking around the mall, at a restaurant, at a bar. They don’t even care if you’re with somebody.”
How old was the oldest?
“I’d say around seventy.”
Because his mom’s in the back of the room don’t for a minute think he’s a mama’s boy.
Far from it. He has a girl friend who’s almost as well known as he is.
Who is she? I ask him.
“Her name is Nadine. She lives in London. We’re kind of doing a long distance thing.”
How often do they see each other?
“Pretty often. I’ve been back and forth to London about three times in the past two months, and she was just here in L.A.”
Tell us about her?
“She’s in a pop group. It’s called Girls Aloud. They’ve had four albums, and they’re in the Guinness Book of Records for having twelve top ten hits in a row and being the only girl band ever to open #1 on the charts.”
How did they meet?
“We met in Australia. She was doing some shows there, and I was doing press for Desperate Housewives and John Tucker. We ran into each other at a bar.”
Since Desperate Housewives, he’s kept a surprisingly low profile despite being singled out by the National Inquirer as having the best body of anyone in his twenties.
How often does he work out?
“Probably five times a week. I’m really active. I play in a couple of basketball leagues. I like to go hiking. I sometimes go mountain biking. That’s how I’ve been since I was a kid. I’ve probably been working out consistently since I was like sixteen, seventeen.”
Even early in the morning (at the Regent Beverly Wilshire where the press conference is happening) he has a healthy five o’clock shadow (the envy of Johnny Depp!)
Did you have to shave twice a day to play John Tucker (a high school senior?) I ask him.
“Yeah, I did. I shaved in the morning, and then I shaved around five. It was pretty hard on my skin. Shaving’s no fun. When you’re a kid you want your beard to grow in. You’re like, ‘Dad I need a razor,’ and your dad always says, ‘Hey, once you can grow a beard, you’re going to wish you couldn’t.”
So when did he first decide he wanted to be an actor?
“Not an actor but when I was young my father would take me to the movies. The first movie I saw that made me think about becoming a movie maker was The Breakfast Club. It had a pretty profound impact on me, and from then I decided I wanted to be a film maker. I went to N.Y.U. I studied film and television. And while I was there, I had to take a few acting classes and sort of caught the bug there and soon after went to an open audition for a daytime television show called Passions. I got the part, left school in my junior year, moved to L.A., and I’ve lived there ever since.”
Did you do any acting in high school?
“The drama teacher always urged me to try out for plays, but I guess I thought I was too cool.”
So was he a jock?
“I played sports, but I wasn’t a jock. I was into music, kind of punk, dying my hair different colors and wearing concert shirts. I was really into Green Day. I’ve progressed since then.”
So how has he occupied his time in the past three years?
“I guess it was two years ago when Desperate Housewives premiered in the States. I was part of the second season, and then I shot this film nine months ago, which was a three month process. Since then I’ve been working on my social life, reading scripts, and kind of figuring out my next move.”
Will he be coming back for the third season?
“There’s talk of it happening, but I can’t give you a definitive answer.”
Did he have to campaign for the part in John Tucker?
“You have to campaign for every role. You got to tell them why you think you’d be right for the role, show your enthusiasm and excitement.”
The thong scene in the movie. Was that embarrassing?
“The infamous thong scene. It was kind of nerve racking, but it was also kind of a rush at the same time. That walk from my trailer to the set that day wearing just the thong and my robe, I was like, I can’t believe I’m doing this! And to run down the hallway in front of 50 extras, it was a combination of nervousness, exhilaration, and humiliation. It wasn’t in the original script and I had to be sold on the idea by our director. Eventually I agreed to do it because I thought it would be funny and I don’t regret it at all.”
Did he have a girlfriend in high school?
“Yes I had a really great, very close relationship with my high school girl friend. I went out with her for four years. We did a lot of really special things together. We went on a lot of different trips. I took her to a surprise trip to the Bahamas.”
That sounds unusual for high school kids?
“Well I had a chaperone. My stepfather came with us actually.”
Obviously he’s from an affluent family?
What was growing up like?
“Well, I’m an only child. I was born in Carmel (Northern California) and moved from there when I was two or three. We moved to Connecticut, where most of mother’s side of the family lived. I grew up there in a pretty suburban neighborhood. I had a great childhood. I had a lot of friends in high school. I always wanted to go to school (college) in New York City, and applied only to one school, N.Y.U.. But I’ve been living in Los Angeles for eight years now and things are going well.”
So what is he listening to on his iPod?
“I’m big into classic rock. Rolling Stones is my favorite band of all time. Sticky Fingers my favorite album. I play a little guitar myself. I write music; it’s something I’d like to do professionally in the future.”
Anyone else you like?
“Led Zeppelin. I like Southern Rock. Neil Young, Leonard Skynard. Hendrix, Iggy Pop. I just love classic rock.”
No one contemporary?
“I like Wolfmother, an Australian kind of Black Sabbath.”
No mention of Girls Aloud.
What makes Nadine so special?
“A lot of obvious things initially attracted me, but after getting to know her, I realized she has great values and is very grounded. I really feel she likes me for me, and that’s important to me.“
Not for taking his shirt off!