Over the span of two decades and change, Jerry O'Connellhas gone from kid thesp (Stand By Me) to successful TV and film veteran ("Sliders," "Crossing Jordan,"Jerry Maguire, and, uh, Kangaroo Jack) -- I mean, "Hollywood treasure" -- with an unfailing effervescence disappointingly uncommon in most Hollywood actors. So when given the chance to speak with him on the occasion of his appearance in the year's most unapologetically crass wide release, Piranha 3D, there really was no choice. I had to do it.

On hiatus from law school, which he took up last year in the evenings while working as a stay-at-home dad to his daughters with wife Rebecca Romijn, O'Connell is now prepping a new fall TV series (CBS's "The Defenders"), in which he plays, ironically, an attorney. Said show is produced by Davis Guggenheim, husband of O'Connell's Piranha 3D co-star, Elisabeth Shue. Piranha 3D also features Richard Dreyfuss, who played "The Writer" in Stand By Me. O'Connell's world is a strangely small place, but he takes the peculiar twists and turns in stride.

In fact, Jerry O'Connell may be the realest celebrity Hollywood has to offer. As evidence, I present to you the following conversation in which he talked Piranha 3D (and how his character's TOTALLY NOT based on "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis), reminisced about filming Stand By Me, shared "Gossip Girl" dish, and answered a burning question that, years later, could still very well shake the "Sliders" fan community to its very core.