You're looking to populate the next big teen romp/gross-out comedy, and think that Nick Stahl would be a fine addition to the cast; after all, he does have the high-school fright flick Disturbing Behavior on his r&#233sum&#233. Good fit, right? Well, don't add his name to the movie poster just yet. After all, "disturbing behavior" aptly describes the types of roles to which this young actor is drawn.

"I get sent [American Pie-type] scripts all the time," Stahl reports. "But they're just not as interesting to me. I guess you've got to see the bad stuff, though, to see the good."

Such a stance hasn't stymied his career path; rather, after a promising feature debut in Mel Gibson's The Man Without a Face, Stahl went on to face gritty fare in films such as The Thin Red Line and the just-released Bully — a true story about ill-fated Florida tough guy Bobby Kent, in which he has the title role.

"Luckily, it's worked out that I've been able to play some dynamic characters faced with great adversity," he notes. "That is far more appealing to me than a typical high-school story that you can see anywhere."

To be sure, Stahl's Bully portrayal may be his darkest yet. "It was one of the most difficult roles, and the one farthest from myself, that I have ever done," he points out. "Each day, out of necessity, I had to walk away from the character and regroup. I had to begin fresh."

The Larry Clark-helmed (Kids) pic not only pushes the envelope with its violent tone, it tests boundaries with scenes of sexuality as well. "I hadn't done anything that graphic before," Stahl admits. "I thought I would be more uncomfortable than I was, actually. But, speaking for myself, it was appropriately used."

Taking the process to such extremes, says Stahl — who next appears in another dark tale, this fall's In the Bedroom — is what gives Bully a resonance felt by all who leave the theater. "Everyone is going to take something different from it," Stahl states. "I've never seen a story told like this. People should see it. It has a good message."