By C. Young
Updated December 11, 2001 01:00 PM

Benjamin Bratt is the Sexiest Single Guy Alive, according to PEOPLE’s recent Sexiest Man issue, and he looked the part while doing interviews in New York for his upcoming film “Pinero.” Wearing navy slacks and a pastel blue shirt that showed off his pecs, Bratt never looked better — a far cry from his look playing the brilliant but hygienically challenged writer Miguel Pinero. For that role, Bratt, 38, donned dirty bell bottoms and greasy hair. “We were shooting down in the Village, outside (a local) hospital, and I went out on the street and started doing things in character,” Bratt told PEOPLE. “At one point I was sitting on the ground against the wall at the hospital, going through some of the poetry in my head, and I looked up and saw a woman with her hand stretched out to me, and she offered me a quarter. So I took the quarter, I was a little bit surprised, but then I went back in character and said, ‘Thanks.’ ” On the personal front, Bratt is splitting time between San Francisco and New York in this post-Julia Roberts phase of his life, and he says his No. 1 priority is family. “I come from a very large family. I want that for myself,” he said. “As to when that will happen, I can’t foretell the future. I can only remain hopeful.”