Remember Talan Torriero, the Laguna Beach cutie who enjoyed many romantic entanglements on the show (including one with bad girl Kristin Cavallari) before dropping out in season two?
The former reality star–and now actor–tells PEOPLE that those rumors about the show, and its spin-off, The Hills, being less than totally factual are, well, kinda true.
“They kind of found out who did what, who liked this person and who liked that person, and almost created characters,” says Torriero. “When you watch it, it has the dynamics of a real show. Laguna Beach was as real as all reality shows. And it was shot in a way that thought, is this real or is this fake?” The LB playboy, who appeared on a second-season episode of Kathy Griffin‘s My Life on the D-List series and has nearly half a dozen upcoming movie roles (including the comedy Senior Skip Day with Norm McDonald and American High School, with the ex-Mrs. Ian Ziering, Nikki Schieler Ziering), also talked about his former Laguna friends and costars, Lauren Conrad and Jason Wahler.
On His Pals Lauren and JasonConrad, he says, is still a good friend, whose success with The Hills is very deserved.
“I talk to Lauren all the time. She’s one of my best friends,” Torriero says. “We had a time where we didn’t really talk, because we just fell out of touch. Recently, I ran into to her and we started hanging out again. She’s a great girl . . . The Hills is humongous . . . It’s definitely not a bad thing to be in your early 20s and have your own show on MTV and your own clothing line. She has a great future.”
As for Wahler, Torriero’s high school pal and Conrad’s trouble-plagued ex, Torriero says he doesn’t “really talk to Jason . . . At the end of the day, I know that he’s a great guy just from knowing him when I was a kid. We just all have different ways of dealing with hard times.”
On Dating Cougars Torriero also talked about his famous girlfriends, rumored fling Tara Conner, who he calls a “good girl” who “inspired me a lot, because she’s a girl who was put under a microscope by the entire nation, if not the world, and she was able to overcome adversity.” As for being her current boyfriend, Torriero denies it, saying the Miss USA is “just a good friend.”
And the 20-year-old (who turns 21 on Nov. 2) also explains his appeal to “older women,” including Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, 29, and one-week fianc e Kimberly Stewart, 28.
“You know what it is? . . . I matured a lot faster than other . A lot of the girls my age, not all of them, like to play games and . . . I don’t necessarily like to do that,” Torriero says. “I think older women go on a date with me, and then they say, ‘Wait, how old are you again?’ And then they’re like, ‘Well I’m already dating you, I might as well keep dating you’ . . . I’m not necessarily going after cougars or anything. At the end of the day, it’s just about being happy.” –Kimberly Potts, with reporting by Haiwen Lu
Photo: Ramey; Steve Granitz/Wireimage