An old Brendan article

Here’s an old but decent article about Brendan that appeared on Ultimate TV’s site in October. Notice the picture is captioned “Branden Behr”.

Thanks to tamara for sending in this link.

Brendan Fehr
“Roswell”

By Jessica Wallenfels

As you’re drawn into the twisted, surreal web of “Roswell” (9 pm ET Wednesdays on The WB), bear this in mind: we’re talking all black clothing in 105 degree heat.

The heat has Canadian Brendan Fehr begging for mercy. “I can’t handle it. We don’t have this stuff there. Gimme minus 40, I’ll be alright. Don’t give me 105,” the 21-year-old actor pleads. Fehr plays Michael, the best friend of Max, (Jason Behr). Part of Fehr’s job is play the heavy against Max’s sensitive yen for earthgirl Liz Parker (newcomer Shiri Appleby).

And for that emotional counterpoint, a trenchcoat is often required. For a guy raised in New Westminster, Mission, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, having to wear a trenchcoat while filming scenes in the desert outside L.A. is not considered a perk.

A week before the show debuts, Fehr is cooling out in the West Los Angeles pad he shares with two roommates. Clad in sweatpants, he gulps milk from a Spiderman cup in between bursts of enthusiasm for the show. And yes, he wears his hair spiky in real life, too.

If you haven’t already jumped aboard “Roswell”‘s hype train, prepare to be abducted. The sci-fi drama, set in Roswell, New Mexico, crosses “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” and “The X-Files,” with a dash of “Twin Peaks” and “Dawson’s Creek.”

Michael plays the heavy, constantly reminding Max that both they and Max’s sis (Katherine Heigl) could be captured, tested, and eventually killed by government officials.

“He’s very serious,” the actor agrees. “He’s the guy who wants to keep it very hush-hush…To him everything is very black and white, almost: ‘Don’t do this, you can do that,'” he says forcefully.

Behr and Heigl’s characters know they were found roadside and adopted by a nice normal couple, Michael’s backstory is a little more mysterious. Even the writers don’t know for sure. In the meantime, Fehr says he approaches the role of an alien not so much as an extra-terrestrial but “an outcast.”

And a darn serious outcast at that. Witness Fehr’s reaction to watching aliens burned in effigy in the pilot’s Crash Festival scene. As goofy as this might sound, Fehr and castmates play the reality of their otherness to the hilt.

“We all realize…that we have to believe the things we say,” Fehr explains delicately. That simple acting truth isn’t quite as easy as it sounds when you have to say things about wanting to get beamed up. “[It’s] a copout,” protests Fehr, to want to change a line that’s hard to say. “It’s part of the challenge and the fun to take a cheesy line and make it seem real, to make it believable.” Fehr’s “number one worry,” he admits, was that “Roswell” would be campy. “And that’s been just, like, eliminated,” he testifies with relief.

Fehr has already forged strong connections with the castmates he’ll be looking at for the next year of his life – particularly Behr. “We’re like the little boys in sex-ed class laughing every time the teacher says ‘penis,'” Fehr explains of their on-set camaraderie. Between-take chatter “…usually ends up being kind of perverted. Not in a really gross sense. But I mean…our sense of humor is so immature, we find absolutely anything funny.”

Fehr, Behr, and Heigl like to goad each other into friendly competition by imitating each other and mocking each other’s mistakes. Recently, after one of Heigl’s takes, Fehr took the liberty of informing the young actress, “‘That was the most horrific line reading I’ve ever seen in my life,'” but quickly explains that “you can say that because…I know she can do it great, and she knows that I know that.”

Then, director and exec producer Jonathan Frakes (“Star Trek: The Next Generation,”) “comes over and sniffs around, saying, ‘It smells like dog poo in here. What was that?’ And I was like, ‘That was her line.'” Fehr isn’t immune to barbs either, especially when his Canadian accent slips out. “They break into the ‘Gimme a beer, you hoser, eh,'” Fehr reports ruefully.

“It’s kind of amazing that they take…people from all corners of North America, and they stick ’em together, and they all get along so well,” Fehr marvels. He also notes that a “Roswell” cast and crew poll would surely vote Nick Wechsler, who plays Kyle Valente on “Roswell,” the funniest man ever. “He’s got these little things where I honestly think he’s mentally handicapped,” Fehr jokes good-naturedly. “You’re like, from what part of the brain does this come from?”

Fehr, who calls himself as “black and white” as his character on “Roswell,” saw his clear-cut thinking pay off when he decided to take up acting. At 19, while peddling his good looks as a model, an agent asked him if he’d like to be on television instead. Fehr was dubious. “I said, ‘You’re crazy,’ type deal, whatever,” Fehr shrugs. But after a quick counsel with Mom and rethinking his registration at University, (he had planned to go into math education) Fehr agreed to give it a shot. “It was going to be a good ride,” he remarks in hindsight, “and I could afford to get bucked off.”

But Fehr rode the wild industry bronco like a pro, landing a guest starring role in “Breaker High” before going on to star in the TV movies “Our Guys,” (co-starring Eric Stoltz and Ally Sheedy) “Perfect Little Angels,” and “Every Mother’s Worst Fear.” Fehr also guest-starred on “Millennium,” and appeared in the feature “Flight 180” before taking on what he calls his least favorite acting experience, a “glorified extra” role in this year’s “Disturbing Behavior.” “Acting’s not fun when you don’t speak,” Fehr states simply. His dues paid off when ‘Behavior’-turned-“Roswell” exec producer David Nutter convinced Fox to cast from Vancouver’s talent pool for “Roswell.”

After shooting the pilot in January of this year, “Roswell” got the green light and Fehr crossed the American border in June. Since then, he’s been spending his days and nights in Los Angeles’ surrounding desert areas. Watch for cracks in Michael’s tough exterior as the season progresses: “That’s the only place for the character to go,” Fehr deduces. And what could soften the edges on this hard-boiled character? Perhaps a love interest? “Perhaps…” Fehr grants, jokingly jumping on the defensive.

Could Fehr really be as cut and dried as Michael? “I like to think that there’s a right and there’s a wrong,” Fehr speculates, but “…Sometimes you got that grey area and it’s a little confusing.” Yeah. Then what? “You phone Mom,” Fehr answers quickly, his Canadian accent coming strong. “Actually I don’t even have to phone her anymore…I can just go ‘What would Mom do?’ And I know what she would do…I am a mama’s boy,” Fehr laughs, chugging more milk. And the best part is, he’s okay with that.

Squanto

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