AGE: 23. WALK MAN: West starred in last month's high-school weepie A Walk to Remember--based on the Nicholas Sparks novel--as a rebel whose reckless car accident forces him into the tutelage of a downtrodden preacher's daughter, played by mega-selling pop siren Mandy Moore.
WHY YOU'VE SEEN HIM: He plays Billy Campbell's troubled son Eli on the critically acclaimed "Once and Again," he coveted high-school hotties in Whatever It Takes and Get Over It and, in a cameo as himself, he played cards with Brad Pitt in Ocean's 11. He also fronts a three-man punk band, Average Jo. ("That's J-O. No E.") BUT BEFORE ALL THAT: West was born into a big extended Baton Rouge, Louisiana, family ("My mom was one of seven siblings--lots o' lovin' there"), but headed to L.A. with his mother and sister when he was nine so that Mom could become a lawyer. HOW SHELLEY LONG IS TO BLAME FOR HIS INCOMPLETE COLLEGE CAREER: "I was studying at Cal State Northridge and had a 3.5 when I did a Shelley Long WB pilot and missed every single final. Then the pilot, obviously, didn't pan out." SINCE IT'S MOVIELINE'S SEX ISSUE... "In Whatever It Takes, there was a scene when my character couldn't, uh, perform, and I had to be naked. Jodi Lyn O'Keefe is a little vixen. She would scratch my abs with her fingernails, whatever she could do to try and get me aroused." WE REALLY, _REALLY _HOPE THERE ARE NO SIMILAR STORIES INVOLVING YOUNG MANDY MOORE? "No, no, this movie was much more chaste. Mandy is one of the sweetest people I've ever met."