Heartthrob Shane West on leaving teen flicks behind -- ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'' star tells EW.com why action scripts suck, and why it's not a good idea to make fun of Sean Connery's accent
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According to one grammatically challenged fan site, Shane West is ”the single most hottest dude in the entire world!” To the rest of us, the 25-year-old actor is best known as the guy who marries a dying Mandy Moore in 2002’s ”A Walk to Remember,” or as tortured teen Eli from the canceled TV drama ”Once & Again.”
West, who also appeared in the teen comedies ”Whatever It Takes” and ”Get Over It,” finally plays a grown-up in his most recent movie, ”The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” costarring Sean Connery and ”La Femme Nikita”’s Peta Wilson. West, who also plays guitar in the L.A. pop-punk band Jonny Was, tells EW.com about winning a Teen Choice Award, turning down big roles, and playing Tom Sawyer.
So…Mandy Moore or Peta Wilson?
[Laughs] What an awful question. Well, Mandy was underage and Peta’s older than me, so I think I’d have to mix the two. Mandy is very young, but she’s an absolute sweetheart. Peta is more adventurous and a little bit more my type. I’d have to say a draw.
What’s it like having a Teen Choice Award??
I was, like, ”Cool, the surfboard award.” Mandy and I got it for best chemistry, I think. But since I was unable to show up, I actually didn’t get one. I was in Prague shooting. When I came back I was like, ”Where’s my surfboard?” And they were like, ”Oh, sorry, you weren’t there, so we only made one.” Too bad. I wouldn’t have minded having a surfboard in the living room.
In ”League” you play Tom Sawyer as a secret agent. How come Huck Finn doesn’t become an action hero, too?
That would have been a cool thing, if we’d kept it in the movie. In a speech that we cut, you find out that Tom and Huck Finn both joined the Secret Service. And they had both been hunting down the movie’s bad guy, the Phantom, who kills Huck. So Sawyer’s whole motivation is revenge. There was a scene where Tom says ”I’ve been tracking this guy for a long time with my childhood best friend,” and there was one take where we said ”Huck.” But they cut it out. Maybe it’ll be on the DVD.
Ever feel tempted to do the ”Saturday Night Live” version of Sean Connery when he was around?
You’re not tempted to do that at all with him. He’s 6-foot-3, and even though the guy is in his early 70s he looks 50. He’s huge. His hand is as big as my head. He’s a threatening guy. As much as you’d like to make fun, as soon as you meet him you’re like, Nah, this is NOT something I want to do. Not to compare him to Mike Tyson, but I’m sure if you walk up to Tyson all the jokes are out the window, too.
What are you doing next?
When I was doing ”League” I wanted to do another action film, and I still kinda do. But, God, action scripts suck. I don’t know if ”The Matrix” was awesome as a script. But I’ve read so many crappy scripts that are all like ”Fast and the Furious Part 8,” this time on motorcycles. Like ”Biker Boyz.” I know they’re making one on a speedboat now, too.
Any worries about turning things down?
I always heard Heath Ledger waited a year after ”10 Things I Hate About You” before he found ”The Patriot.” That must have been hard, but I’d like to do the same thing.
But you’re done with teen films?
I’m done. I felt like I was done with ”Walk” — it didn’t feel that much like a teen film because it was depressing. It felt like I was doing a long ”Once & Again” episode. I would consider that a young adult film. Yes, we had Mandy Moore, but she dies of leukemia.