"I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to respect her privacy. I mean, literally, I've been asked what the names of my dogs are, and I haven't told, just because, you know, let's talk about the show.""OK, fair enough. ""Well, I can't have my fingernails clipped or filed," he says deftly. So when they get long, I'll bite them and spit them out."Over time, however, he loosens up a little. "He himself lost his virginity at the age of seventeen, and he has no intention of guessing whether Kreuk, who recently turned nineteen, still has hers or not. The best thing to do is just sit back and let him take you on a ride. Fly free to Vegas for a radio interview, then party for three days.' I mean, really, in a lot of ways that's what it's all about, isn't it? One girl says to the other, ' Like, is that bald guy talking to me? "This is a pretty savvy guy," recalls executive producer Mike Tollin.Pretty soon he's able to reveal that he's both a huge Christopher Walken fan and an equally great admirer of Bob Saget ("He's rude, he's crude, he's funny! Regarding his nose, he will blow it in the shower but only picks it "recreationally." His favorite cuss word is "Damn! " Yesterday, he had the song "Somebody's Baby" stuck in his head. "I have no idea," he says loftily, "but I'll tell you this much: She's a unique soul." If he's in the mood, he'll also tell you this: The kind of girls he tends to attract are "none lately, but I've had experiences with wholesome and not so wholesome."All of which is good to know about the guy who is playing one of the greatest, most enduring of all iconic figures. ' I mean, dude, man, Gene Hackman — how do you top that? I'm just working, man."That noted, he slaps a home-burned CD into the player, sings a few lines from an old song ("You're so vain, you probably ..."), extols the musical talents of David Soul ("Remember him? He says, "I said to one of my friends, ' This is good. ' It was awful."Finally, slowing down to pull into a parking lot, he says, "I think I lost a filter a long time ago. "He walks into the room with that swagger of his, sits down and says, ' OK, obviously you guys aren't finding what you're looking for. '" Says Al Gough, another of the show's executive producers, "What we wanted was somebody like a young Michael Keaton who has energy and a charisma and humor but also a certain amount of danger, and who'd be willing to shave his head.In the WB's version, Clark doesn't wear a cape, doesn't cavort in a unitard, doesn't even fly yet.

At first, he turned them down, figuring the show would be dopey and lame. He auditioned — and the executives were bowled over.

Says Miles Millar, one of 's five executive producers, "He had innocence and earnestness and sincerity and a strength about him.

Cocking his head at the memory, Welling says, "We were at this bar, and these people scouting for an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog shoot walked up to me.

I learned they worked for photographer Bruce Weber, who is huge, so I thought, ' OK, maybe you need to take this more seriously.' So I went home for a week, then went right to Lake George, New York, to do the shoot, made a couple thousand dollars, and then I moved to Manhattan and became a model."He modeled in New York and Europe for the next two years, didn't feel especially at home in the modeling world, and in 2000 decided to move to Los Angeles to become an actor.

A., it would undoubtedly go right to their noggins.

Pretty soon they'd be hanging out at Skybar, knocking back highballs with various sluts, sycophants and shoplifters out on bail.— the WB's new series about Superman's early, formative years — don't get out much.Mostly they're stuck where they are, up in chilly, drizzly Vancouver, where the show is shot on a schedule that runs almost nonstop. "We hear it from agents and managers and publicists," says Tom Welling, who plays young Clark Kent.But such is not the case, at least not yet."We're really kind of sheltered here, which is good," Welling says one afternoon on the set."I mean, I've been working the last five Saturdays until dawn."But it kind of keeps us — well, it allows us to maintain our focus and to really just concentrate on what we're doing." saga.Also yesterday, he nearly cried after his dog Cook, a pug, ate himself sick and had to go under the vet's knife."Is Clark Kent a virgin? It rounds him out, makes him human, somewhat more than what Annette O' Toole, who plays his mom on the show, says of him, that "he's simple and pure, both as an actor and a person, and just a very kindhearted soul." But it's time for him to leave. ' And then one day, someone's like, ' Hey, you want to be Lex Luthor? When Michael came in like that, we knew we had him."Unlike most of the other ) and appeared on several short-lived TV shows.