Top Grossing Film Puts Spotlight On Kentucky Native

WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - Though he's riding high from his role in the top-grossing film "Ghost Rider," Matt Long still keeps a grounded attitude.

Long, a 26-year-old actor from Winchester and a Western Kentucky University graduate, plays the younger version of Nicolas Cage in the film, which grossed $51.5 million in its first weekend in mid-February. Long had previously starred as Jack McCallister in the WB series, "Jack & Bobby"

While he didn't work directly with Cage, who filmed his scenes weeks earlier, Matt did meet him at a dinner, the Winchester Sun reported.

"I probably drove him a little crazy," he said about asking Cage a ton of questions when they finally met. "He was very gracious, and very, very friendly."

Strangers occasionally recognize Matt on the street now, but he can't fathom ever having international fame like Cage.

"I'm so not of that world," Long said. "We don't have anything like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini."

He's already done filming his next movie, a romantic comedy starring Amanda Bynes that's currently titled "Sydney White." Long plays the president of a college fraternity who becomes romantically involved with Bynes' character, a fellow student.

"It's going to be really fun," he said about the movie, which is set for release next year.

His former high school drama teacher, Vanessa Oaks Rogers, said she thinks Long is well on his way to successful Hollywood career.

"He's got the right look," she said. " He's a very handsome young man."

"He has a great deal of genuine charm," Rogers said. " He's not fake or anything, it's just a genuine charm."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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