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54

RYAN PHILLIPPE quickly understood why his character, Shane O'Shea, was drawn to the world of 54. "He was meeting famous people, creative people and for lack of a better word, cool people," said Phillippe, "and a kid from Jersey City doesn't see that every day -- doesn't ever see it really."

If Shane was a stranger in a strange land, then Phillippe figured that much of the audience would be, too. "Shane's in situations that the large majority of the population would probably see as foreign," he observed. "But he's so simple and, initially so regular, that I think you can understand the choices he makes, whether they're right or wrong."

Before taking on the role of Shane, Phillippe played the smart-mouthed jock boyfriend of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the hit thriller "I Know What You Did Last Summer". He stars opposite Nastassia Kinski in the dark comedy "Little Boy Blue", and with Billy Bob Thornton and Hank Azaria in the action-comedy "Homegrown". Phillippe was featured in Greg Araki's "Nowhere", and made his film debut in "White Squall". He was born in Philadephia.

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