Nicholas Fonseca
October 17, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

WHY HIM He’s handsome, sensitive, gregarious…

WHY NOW … especially in The Station Agent. And he’ll hoof it in J. Lo’s Shall We Dance?

Bobby Cannavale has played his share of upstanding citizens — a paramedic on Third Watch, a prosecutor on 100 Centre Street — but off screen, the 33-year-old New Jersey native’s record isn’t so squeaky-clean. ”I got fired from my last j-o-b as a bartender on Halloween 1997,” recalls Cannavale, who appears as a blabby hot dog vendor in the indie fave The Station Agent. ”I thought I would make a lot of money, but it didn’t happen. So I stole some.” About to jet to Budapest for a big film role, Cannavale (in deep you-know-what with his boss) agreed to use his salary to pay the debt instead of being carted off to jail. ”I was a real criminal as a kid,” he admits. ”This was an eye-opener.” In five years, he hopes to have a similar breakthrough in Pamplona. ”I’ve always wanted to write a play and I’ve never been able to write a damn thing,” he says. ”I have a feeling that running with the bulls will trigger something.” Here’s hoping it’s a creative stampede.

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