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Death Becomes Jesse

Hang out with Jesse Metcalfe as he cruises through the streets of Philadelphia on his way to mall appearances and radio interviews and you will be laughing. Cute guys aren't supposed to be this funny. But Metcalfe, best known as the hedge-clipping hottie from Desperate Housewives, shows off a good sense of humor as he fields questions about being pranked, getting proposals from older women, and starring in the new movie John Tucker Must Die.

The flick, Metcalfe's first, casts the actor as a popular high-schooler who sparks the fury of a trio of fellow students (Ashanti, Arielle Kebbel and Sophia Bush) when they discover he's been romancing all of them at the same time.

In real life, the 27-year-old Metcalfe (a Wolfmother, Arctic Monkeys and Rolling Stones freak) is dating Girls Aloud bandmember Nadine Coyle. He's waiting for John Tucker to open before picking his next project but, in the meantime, he's mulling an offer to return to Wisteria Lane for the third season of "Housewives."

In John Tucker, you have one scene where you're clad in nothing but a red thong. What was that like?
For the record, that thong was altered for my support and comfort. Yes, it was a long day in the thong. Walking around in front of the crew and about 50 extras was tough. It was a little tense. But after about 15 takes, I was feeling pretty comfortable.

Were you a heartbreaker back at Williams School in Waterford, Conn.?
No, not at all. I wasn't a part of the in-crowd. I was more of a self-imposed loner. I was into alternative music and the arts but I played some sports, too.

Did you ever have your heart crushed in high-school?
Actually, no. I had the same girlfriend for three of my four years, and we were crazy about each other. It was a great first relationship and even though it ended, I didn't break her heart, or get my heart broken. We still keep in touch. She's actually engaged now, which is a funny thing. It's weird that the first girl I loved is getting married. It makes me feel old.

Did you pattern your John Tucker on the John Tucker at your school?
A little bit. I took a couple cues from that kid. But my main inspiration was Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That's the quintessential cool-guy performance in a teen movie, at least for my generation. I took a couple cues from Patrick Dempsey in Can't Buy Me Love, too. And a large portion of the character is me.

When you were at NYU, you studied to be a filmmaker. What made you decide to switch to acting?
I was always really into movies, so I thought I should be a writer or a director. I had to take a few acting classes too, and I got bit by the acting bug. And then I went on an open casting call for the soap Passions. They flew me out to L.A. for a screen-test and I got the part. So, I left NYU after junior year. The rest is history.

Do you ever get hit on by Desperate Housewives fans?
All of the time. Playing that role was not too bad for my image. I still get a lot of older ladies proudly identifying themselves as desperate housewives, and dropping some racy lines on me.

What was the most outrageous thing a fan said to you?
My favorite one was: "I have a bush that needs trimming." When you're in people's living rooms every week, they feel like know you. And anything goes.

I know you collect guitars. What's your coolest one?
My most valuable one is probably my 1977 Gibson Les Paul. I love to play, and old guitars just sound better than newer guitars. A guitar gets warmer as it's played more. I have about seven guitars. I have five electric and two acoustic. Next, I want to get a Martin guitar. I've been meaning to get one for quite some time.

Are you coming back for the third season of Housewives?
There's been talk of it. It's up in the air. I'd like to see John grow up a little bit and get a bit more sophisticated. Every actor wants to play more challenging roles. And John could be a bit limiting at times considering I'm substantially older than he is. It would be good to just see him gain a bit more complexity.

And what do you think will happen between him and Eva's character?
They have a strong connection, and an explosive sexual attraction. Who knows? I'm guessing they'll probably end up in the same place we left them -- between the sheets.

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