Red-Hot Paul Walker Must Love Dogs

With Eight Below opening this Friday and Running Scared bowing the following weekend, rising cinemannequin Paul Walker will soon have twice as many movies in theaters as fading legend Harrison Ford, a sure signal that he's on the verge of the kind of megastardom that has eluded other once-promising, twice-pretty actors like American Pie's Chris Klein. Shockingly, however, the LAT notes that Walker was not the first choice for either of the upcoming films, and in an even more startling revelation, reports that his reps suggested that future employers view Jessica Alba jiggle-flick Into the Blue to get a taste of the actor's talent. As if this incredible gamble wasn't enough of an obstacle to joining Eight Below's cast, Walker then had to brave director Frank Marshall's grueling canine gauntlet to nab the gig:

"When I first met him, I said, 'Do you have a dog?' " recalls Marshall. "And he said, 'Yep.' I said, 'That's it' ...

The rest, as they say, is history, and Walker is now arguably among the first half-dozen names mentioned when budget-minded executives demand a "Keanu Reeves type, but without all the intellectual baggage."