Meet ''Oleander'''s leading man, Cole Hauser. Find out where you've seen this guy before and who his Hollywood friends are

By Clarissa Cruz
Updated October 25, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
White Oleander: Vivian Zink

COLE HAUSER AGE 27 WHERE YOU’VE SEEN HIM Stepping out of the scenery as Ray, Alison Lohman’s way-too-sexy father figure in ”White Oleander,” based on Janet Fitch’s 1999 novel. ON CHICK FLICKS Hauser wasn’t intimidated by ”Oleander”’s estrogen-heavy cast — powerhouses Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright Penn (whose boyfriend he plays), and Renee Zellweger. ”Men are secondary in the film, and that’s just the way it goes,” says Hauser, last seen as a WWII sergeant in ”Hart’s War.” ”I was just like, ‘Whoa! That’s a cast of talented women!”’ ON WHY RAY ISN’T A PERV Charming carpenter Ray falls into a romance with his teen charge. ”Things happen in this world that are not PC, but love is a very strange thing,” says Hauser. HE KNEW THEM WHEN Hauser became buds with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon when they were cast as classmates in 1992’s ”School Ties.” The pair later wrote a part for him in 1997’s ”Good Will Hunting.” ”We’ll get a film together again — it’s just a matter of finding the right one,” he says. ”We play on the screen, and that’s what makes it fun.” NEXT Reuniting with ”Higher Learning” director John Singleton and playing a drug-dealing baddie in ”The Fast and the Furious 2.”

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