LOS ANGELES — Jack Noseworthy is one of those young actors who looks different each time out. He lost 17 pounds, began chain-smoking and became very scruffy in the thriller “Alive.” Then he was the clean-cut boy next door in the Hallmark TV production of “A Place for Annie.” And this fall, he takes on a totally different look in “SFW,” a movie about a group of kids held hostage in a local 7-Eleven.

“In ‘SFW’ I play this white trash, trailer park, beer-guzzling punk,” Noseworthy says with more than a hint of delight. “I dyed my hair dark and I’m drinking and I kill four people. It’s a blast. It’s so much fun to play these different people.”

Indeed, it’s Noseworthy’s easygoing, chameleon-like nature that has made him so hot in Hollywood lately. And if MTV’s record of turning young talent into big names is any indication, Noseworthy should get even hotter with his role in the network’s new series “Dead at 21.” It’s MTV’s first regular dramatic series, and Noseworthy describes it as “a cross between ‘Total Recall’ and ‘The Fugitive.”‘

In it, he plays a 20-year-old who had a computer chip placed in his brain as a child as part of a government experiment. He also is mistaken for a murderer and is on the run from the law.

“MTV is trying to find that midway between an action-adventure-dramatic series and a music video. They use the music to drive the story line,” he says. “They’ll take sections from songs to underplay scenes. And since it is action-adventure, it lends itself to having a great rock ‘n’ roll song underneath.”

Noseworthy has wanted to act ever since he appeared in his first church play in his hometown of Lynn, Mass. He went to New York to become part of the original company of “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway” and also was the last person ever hired for the company of “A Chorus Line.”

Since moving to Hollywood three years ago, he has become a true Angeleno. He has become part of the city’s easygoing life and has taken to hanging out at places like Swingers, the hip Beverly Boulevard coffee shop.

“There’s no sense of community here like there is in Boston or New York, but it’s so much easier to live,” Noseworthy says. “You enjoy life a little better — and I’ve gotten into going to the gym a little more.”

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