BY THE THIRD DAY OF FILMING The Mummy
in Morocco last year, Israeli actor Oded Fehr was convinced that his first major movie role, as bedouin Ardeth Bay, was a bust. "We were doing a night shoot with all wide shots, so I could have been jumping on my head and no one would have noticed," says Fehr, 28. Director Stephen Sommers was watching, however. He was so impressed by Fehr's smoldering screen appeal that he had the script rewritten to give Fehr's once-doomed character the chance to ride again in the planned sequel. Thanks to Mummy
, more than a dozen Web sites popped up in Fehr's honor. He signed on to play opposite Dylan McDermott and James Van Der Beek in next summer's Texas Rangers
. Heck, even Rob Schneider noticed Fehr's appeal when the two worked together on the goof-ball comedy Deuce
, due in December. "Women go gaga over him," says Schneider. "He's got this Omar Sharif vibe: tall, dark and handsome with a mysterious quality." Offscreen, notes friend Jennifer Moyer, an assistant producer, the 6'2" Fehr is also "kind, sweet—and punctual. If he says we'll get together at eight, my doorbell rings at eight." Fehr, who is single, cultivated such manners growing up in Tel Aviv as the youngest son of a physicist and a daycare supervisor. As a child, he was teased for his "funny ears. They stuck out a bit," says the actor, who received classical training at England's Old Vic Theatre before moving to Santa Monica last May. Today, though, "there's nothing wrong with him," notes Moyer. But Fehr doesn't let the double takes go to his head. "In Israel," he says, "everybody looks like me."