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Tom Everett Scott
Nice Guy Finishes First

Tom Everett Scott has built a movie career playing the boy next door, the kind of guy a girl can bring home to Mom. In Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do," he was the clean-cut, slightly dorky drummer. In "An American Werewolf in Paris," he was a fresh-faced American college kid caught up in a realm of Gaelic evil.

And in the flesh he seems likethe clean-cut, fresh-faced boy next door. At the New York press junket for his latest, Paramount's "Dead Man on Campus," he entered a room full of journalists, walked over to the beverage table, and asked "Can I get anyone anything? I used to be a bartender." That's the charm of Tom Everett Scott: You really believe there's nothing he'd rather do than pour you a Coke.

In "Dead Man on Campus," Scott plays a college freshman who's in danger of flunking out. He and his roommate ("Saved by the Bell's" Mark-Paul Gosselaar) hear about the school's "dead man clause" -- if someone commits suicide all of his roommates get 4.0's. So they set out to find a likely prospect - a roommate so suicidal that he's likely to set them up for their whole college careers.

Despite the movie's macabre premise, Scott manages throughout to seem, um, clean-cut and fresh-faced. "I'm a pretty nice guy," he explained. "No matter who you play, you gotta bring yourself to it. Even if you are playing someone who is not like you, you have to find the similarities. Most of the characters I have played have been me. What you see is what you get. "

There's a role in an upcoming movie that Scott thinks would fit his onscreen persona: the hero of James Cameron's "Spider-man." As a boy, Scott loved the shy, nerdy student who suddenly gets awesome superpowers. "I used to dress up as Spider-man as a kid -- who didn't?" he said. "When my Dad wanted me to help fix the car, I was daydreaming about catching the Green Goblin. I would love that role: I'd be a great webslinger!"

-- Sean Doorly
(Written for Premiere Magazine Online)