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Jesse Metcalfe Says He ‘Wasn’t Eating,’ ‘Working Out 3 Times a Day’ for “John Tucker Must Die”

The 2006 teen comedy ‘John Tucker Must Die’ gave star Jesse Metcalfe “a lot of anxiety,” he said

<p>20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Jesse Metcalfe in "John Tucker Must Die"

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Jesse Metcalfe in "John Tucker Must Die"

Jesse Metcalfe is recalling the “pressure” he felt filming John Tucker Must Die

“You guys have no idea,” he said during an onstage panel at Epic Cons Chicago on Sunday alongside Sophia Bush and Arielle Kebbel, two of his costars in the 2006 teen comedy classic.

“I was not eating, and I was working out three times a day,” revealed Metcalfe, 45, who recalled being at the gym “anytime that I was not on set.”

Playing teenage womanizer John Tucker involved “working out and eating salmon every night,” continued the star. “I was taking it pretty darn seriously.”

Related: Eva Longoria Reunites with 'Desperate Housewives' Costar Jesse Metcalfe on 'Flamin' Hot' Red Carpet

Following his breakout role opposite Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives, Metcalfe made his first big-screen appearance in John Tucker Must Die, a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor from director Betty Thomas and writer Jeff Lowell. Bush, Kebbel, Ashanti and Brittany Snow all played love interests of high school jock John, teaming up to take murderous revenge on him.

<p>Gotham/WireImage; Paul Archuleta/Getty; Jamie McCarthy/Getty</p> (Left-right:) Sophia Bush; Jesse Metcalfe; Arielle Kebbel

Gotham/WireImage; Paul Archuleta/Getty; Jamie McCarthy/Getty

(Left-right:) Sophia Bush; Jesse Metcalfe; Arielle Kebbel

Metcalfe admitted he “had a lot of anxiety” about being the lead actor of his first major project, which motivated his diet and exercise habits while filming. “It was a lot of pressure,” he said.

Bush, 41, and Kebbel, 39, agreed that the movie’s set “was rough in terms of body image” for all actors involved.

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For Metcalfe, playing John also meant gaining confidence in pulling off the movie’s funniest scenes. “I had a complex about if I could pull off the comedy,” he said, reflecting on some of his most challenging — yet fun — moments filming.

“Running around in women's underwear in front of the entire cast and about 40 extras was humbling, to say the least,” he quipped of his character being convinced to wear a lacy thong — and making it a fashion trend among the school basketball team.

“Another one of my favorite scenes,” the On a Wing and a Prayer actor added, was “scaling the building in a towel and dropping the towel and setting myself up on the bed” in said underwear. “And the women's volleyball coach comes in and grabs me by the ear, pulls me into the hallway — amazing. That was a hilarious scene… but also one that was terrifying.”

He added, “There’s a lot of iconic scenes in John Tucker, that's for sure.”

<p>20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Jesse Metcalfe in "John Tucker Must Die"

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Jesse Metcalfe in "John Tucker Must Die"

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Almost 18 years after the release of John Tucker Must Die, Bush, Kebbel and Metcalfe also revealed at Epic Cons Chicago that a sequel is in the works. “There's a script," said Metcalfe, who added he has not yet read it. "Apparently it's amazing… I'd definitely love to be a part of it.”

Kebbel confirmed the sequel "does involve all of the OG cast," and that the titular character "may or may not get a chance to change" his ways, "which would be very exciting."

"I'm here for it,” added Metcalfe. “I can't wait to unleash this dad bod on the big screen.”

Speaking to PEOPLE last year, the actor pondered a potential follow-up. “I always thought a good way to do a John Tucker Must Die revival would be that the entire cast is younger. And then I play the John Tucker character's uncle, who grew up to kind of be a loser.”

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