'Joe' making most of his 15 ticks
Mon Feb 17,10:03 AM ET
Kelly Carter USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES -- Evan Marriott isn't just your average Joe anymore.
Since this hunk hit the airwaves as star of Fox's Joe Millionaire six weeks ago, the tall, dark and handsome supposed pauper has been catapulted into a celebrity stratosphere others claw to get to.
He has rubbed elbows with Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Matthew McConaughey and Patti LaBelle, yukked it up with Jay Leno, Caroline Rhea and Howard Stern, appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly three times, co-hosted Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, graced the covers of People, Us Weekly and In Touch, sat on the 50-yard-line at the Super Bowl and charmed model Lauren Bush backstage at a fashion show. (He denies slipping the president's niece his number but says he offered to drop by her sorority house and meet the girls.)
Over the weekend, he appeared on The Tonight Show and Mad TV; today, he'll appear on The View. And tonight (8 ET/PT) millions of viewers will tune in to see whether he selects Zora or Sarah and what they do when he reveals he's not worth $50 million but in fact made $19,000 last year as a construction worker.
It's been a head-spinning experience for Marriott, 28, who says he is ''very surprised'' at his overnight sensation status. At times during his 15 minutes, he has wished he were back on a backhoe. ''But the positives outweigh the negatives, so it's not often.''
Still, he realizes that fame isn't all it's cracked to be. ''And I would tell anybody that would love to be in my shoes the exact same thing,'' he says. ''It's not what you think. It's not all glitz and glamour.''
There was his ever-so brief encounter with Jennifer Lopez at the premiere of Affleck's Daredevil.
''I turned around and faced J. Lo, just to catch her eye, just to say 'Hi,' but she was looking around me,'' Marriott said. ''She didn't want to have anything to do with me. I guess I wasn't up to her caliber.''
When it's all done, will he be up to Hollywood's caliber for lasting stardom?
He says he's not sure. ''When the show is over with, it could be 'Evan who?' ''
Reality show history, brief as it is, indicates he might be right. Participants have struggled to launch acting careers. The biggest reality TV success story has been Colleen Haskell of the first Survivor, who co-starred with Rob Schneider (news) in the 2001 movie The Animal but hasn't been heard from since.
Arnon Milchan, who has produced such movies as Daredevil, L.A. Confidential and Fight Club, may be biased (20th Century Fox owns 20% of his company), but he says Marriott ''absolutely'' has a future in Hollywood.
''He has got the look,'' Milchan says. ''Like with Colin (Farrell), I first saw him and I looked at him and said, 'He's got humility and focus and he's very personable.' ''
Marriott isn't dreaming all that big. All he says he really wants is to land an enjoyable gig that pays him enough money to buy a house. If there have been any offers, he says he is unaware of them. For now he's Fox's property, and the network has first dibs.
If he has to, he says, he'll return to construction work.
''I wouldn't think twice about it,'' he says. ''I wouldn't get bummed out. I'd do it with a smile on my face. This has been a hell of an experience.''