In the market for a new computer? Dude, you've probably thought about getting a Dell. How could you not given how often the company runs those commercials featuring pesky pitchman Steven proclaiming to consumers, "Dude, you're getting a Dell!" Whether you love him, hate him or love to hate him, there's no denying that he's getting the job done: Since the first of the spots were unveiled last year, Dell's profits have been climbing. Even Ben Curtis, the up-and-coming actor behind the persuasive PC pimp, has seen his stock rise as a result of the national exposure. "I got to read for [Road Trip director] Todd Phillips the other day for a stoner role," reveals the 21-year-old NYU acting major, who remains confident that fame won't be as fleeting for him as it was for "Where's the Beef?" granny Clara Peller. "I really feel like it's all just begun." Well, we tend to agree. So, in anticipation of Curtis's inevitable crossover success, TV Guide Online sat down with the Chattanooga, Tenn., native and asked, well, "Dude, who are you?!?"
HE'S NOTHING LIKE STEVEN: "I definitely don't have the energy that he does," Curtis confesses. "I definitely have more depth and sensitivity and versatility and passion about a lot more than just Dell computers."
WELL, ALMOST NOTHING LIKE HIM: "I'm pretty good at persuading people," he winks. "I wanted to be a lawyer for a long time."
HE'S A SERIOUS ACTOR: Curtis who admits that "the commercials are great, but theater is why I got into acting" recently appeared in the way Off-Broadway production of Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Buried Child. What's more, he's thinking of applying to London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. "I really want to challenge myself and take my acting to a whole new level." His dream gig? "I would love to be in Death of a Salesman."
HE'S A HIT WITH THE LADIES: "Last week I was walking home from a bar and some girl started screaming, 'Oh my God! It's Steven!' I thought she was going to jump on me." If she didn't then, she surely would after reading this: Although he's dating, he says there's no one "significant" in his life right now.
HE'S SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS: This son of an Episcopal priest says he'd like to someday "go back to Tennessee and start working on some racial awareness programs for teens. During my last two years of high school, I was a member of the diversity committee and it really got me thinking about taking action."
HE'S TRENDY: After throwing a "truckload" of his Dell dough into school and a lower-Manhattan crib, Curtis fulfilled his boyhood fantasy: "I bought myself a pair of Diesel jeans for the first time."
HE'S NOT STUPID:
"I've come to realize that Dell has one of the best deals out there," he concedes. "Everything's top-of-the-line... and cheap."