updated 07/24/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/24/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Joe's fiery patriotism and his subtle needling of the U.S. (he calls Canada "the best part of North America") have captured the hearts of his countrymen. They have also made a star of Jeff Douglas, the formerly little-known actor who portrays him. "I could have been in a major motion picture and not gotten this kind of attention," marvels Douglas, 29, a Nova Scotia native who beat out 95 hopefuls for the 60-second Molson spot. The ad, which airs only in Canada, has boosted Molson the actor gigs at hockey games delivering Joe's rant. When crowds see him they go nuts," says Douglas. "It's like he's one of their own."
Capitalizing on his "Where's the Beef?" moment, the bachelor recently auditioned for the lead in the upcoming Spider-Man movie. "Everything that's happening," he says, "proves that dreams really do come true." Or at least that Canadians are really fond of beer and large, dam-building rodents.