September 10, 2001 12:00 PM

Seann William Scott didn’t mind French-kissing costar Jason Biggs in American Pie 2—he just would have liked to come up for air. Director J.B. Rogers “would cut and not tell us, just to mess with us,” says Scott, 24, who also performed a comic lip-lock with Ashton Kutcher in last year’s Dude, Where’s My Car? “At least,” he says, “they’re both guys that chicks want to kiss.”

These days so is Scott, thanks to his love-to-hate-him role as Pie’s smarmy Stifler. Off-screen, though, that mile-wide smirk—also on display in the new movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back—is an innocent grin. “He’s so damn polite, he’s scary,” says Rogers.

Another departure from Stifler: “In high school I went on about three dates,” says Scott, who grew up with six older half siblings in Cottage Grove, Minn. (His parents, Bill, 59, a retired factory worker, and Pat, 54, a home-maker, recently divorced.) “I was pretty shy.” But the star football running back had nerve enough to head for Hollywood after graduation despite never having acted in as much as a school play. An avid film buff, “I wanted to make people feel the same way I feel when I see a good movie,” he says.

Scott was working at a Home Depot and struggling for small TV roles when he was cast in ’99’s Pie. Now the actor is renovating a two-bedroom stucco home in the Hollywood Hills. As for a girlfriend, “I’m really picky,” he says. But his Pie pals can vouch for his smooching skills.

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