Although his boyish good looks guarantee he'll be the breakout brother from Mel Gibson's testosterone-fueled family sitcom Complete Savages (premiering tonight at 8:30 pm/ET), Erik Von Detten wants us to know that he's more than just another pretty face.
"How could you not take [being cast as 'the hot one'] as a compliment, right?" he jokes with TV Guide Online. "But my character is also gullible... and he's very dim-witted. At the same time, he thinks he's so smart that it gets him into trouble. I take more pride in playing [those qualities]."
Got it. In any case, we've known for some time that the almost-22-year-old was destined to be more than Celebrity Mole material. (Anybody else get chills remembering his portrayal of a preppie murderer on Law & Order: SVU?) However, as versatile as Von Detten is, even he came down with a case of the jitters auditioning for Savages' Oscar-winning executive producer (who also directed the pilot). "I had to work my way up the food chain reading for different people," he recalls. "Then Mr. Gibson was at the work session. That was intimidating!
"But," the young old pro adds, "he gave me some great input and constructive criticism."
Besides the thrill of taking notes from the Passion of the Christ auteur, the Dennis the Menace wannabe is stoked to be teaching a new generation of whippersnappers how to misspend their youth. "We will be the epitome of [mischief]!" he declares. "Kids around the world will be able to see what teenage boys can really get away with when girls aren't around." But doesn't it suck not to have any cute costars? "There are moments when I miss having girls around, but most of the time, no," he insists. "It gives us the freedom to come to work dressed as slobs and, you know, just be guys."