KANGAROO JERRY - Maybe white men can jump

Jerry O'Connell has certain animal magnetism. He put that prowess to the test by costarring with a marsupial for the on-the-run comedy "Kangaroo Jack." "In the outback, kangaroos are like actors in L.A.," says O'Connell. "You can't move without bumping into one." The New York City native, 28, has become familiar with the Los Angeles scene since making his movie debut at 12 in "Stand By Me." He's also been in "Scream 2," "Jerry Maguire" and the sci-fi series Sliders. Now he plays Det. Woody Hoyt on Crossing Jordan (NBC, Mondays, 10 PM/ET). Here, O'Connell sounds off about how his career is hopping along. - Paul S. Katz


Any truth to the rumors of off-screen tension between you and the kangaroo?
Nope, I wouldn't risk messing with him. Even after training with Mike Tyson for a year, I wouldn't stand a chance. There's this glint in his eye that says, "Don't even try it."

Has the public finally come to accept you as a leading man?
People still say, "Hey, you're the fat kid from 'stand by me'?" When I'm collecting social security, they'll probably still scream that.

Ever see "Stand" cast mate Corey Feldman?

His band was playing at a club, and I stopped in - a spur-of-the-moment thing. We've both changed a lot. He's rockin' out, and I'm skinny!