Five fun facts about Matt Long, the hot new star of ''Jack & Bobby'' -- and a regular Boy Scout

By Liane Bonin
Updated September 11, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Matt Long: Lester Cohen/

Even though the WB series Jack &amp Bobby (debuts Sun., Sept. 12, 9 p.m.) has nothing to do with President John F. Kennedy or his brother Robert, that doesn’t mean the title characters don’t have leadership in their genes. As revealed on the show’s first episode, one of the McCallister brothers, high school track star Jack (Matt Long) or brilliant but dweeby younger Bobby (Logan Lerman), is destined to become president in 2041. Regardless of Jack’s political future, Long, 24, clearly is a candidate to succeed such WB hunks as Tom Welling and Chad Michael Murray. He revealed to us some of the skeletons in his closet.

HE’S ALREADY DONE HIS EMBARRASSING NUDE SHOT During a college production of Pippin, Long borrowed a friend’s camera to take a picture of his naked derriere as a joke. Bad idea. ”I forgot all about it,” he says, ”and three months later we had a talent show. Someone brought this picture of a rear end, and I was totally making fun of it, trying to guess who I thought it was. Then, at the end of the evening, two of my friends called me down to the stage to play a game show with me called something like Name the Ass. Needless to say, about five seconds later I realized, ‘Oh my God, that’s the picture I took of myself.’ I looked like a complete idiot, but I laughed it off. What else can you do?” Hopefully he’ll still find that photo funny when it ends up on eBay any minute now.

HE WAS A GEEK IN JUNIOR HIGH ”I was a late bloomer in middle school,” says Long, who was born and raised in Kentucky, ”so I looked like I was four years old. I got picked on a lot. And then finally one time I stood up for myself. I’m just lucky that it didn’t end in a fight, because I would have gotten completely creamed. But it actually worked, in that the bullying tapered off after that. I still look young for my age, but now it’s a good thing for my work.”

HE WAS A BOY SCOUT ”I was a Cub Scout, a Tiger Cub, and all that stuff,” he says, ”but I quit when I got into the Boy Scouts because I didn’t want to do any of the work. Then, when I got to high school and saw how cool everything was, how many trips they went on and how much hiking and camping they got to do, I jumped back into it.” Nonetheless, he never made it to Eagle Scout. ”That’s the one thing I most regret about high school. I was just more interested in camping and hiking than doing the work. But then at 18, I became a Boy Scout leader. I loved doing that.”

HE’S NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL ”I’m not nearly the leader that Jack would be, I don’t think,” says Long. ”And oh my God, I would never want to be president.” When pressed, he grudgingly admits that he would try to do some good as chief executive. ”I guess I’d want to find alternative fuel sources. Which I say even though I drive a Jeep Wrangler, a not very fuel-efficient vehicle. But I like to go up in the mountains, and a Toyota Prius just isn’t going to cut it.” Still, don’t even think of asking him who he’s voting for. ”I’m not a political animal, really. I feel like I’m an actor and not a politician, and I should keep that stuff to myself.”

HE’S SO NOT BUFF ”I got really wiped from shooting the running scenes,” he says. ”Part of that is because it’s so many takes, so you’re doing it over and over, but the truth is, I don’t run. I hike. I walk. But running? Not my thing. I’m more of a videogame player. I like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Medal of Honor, driving games, things like that.” Not that he’s committed to staying a couch potato. ”I’ve got to get bigger. I play a 16-year-old, so it’s okay, but I need to work out more. I’m very slender, and I need to put on a little bit of muscle. I just can’t get very big because my metabolism is through the roof.”