Thanks to VanGirl for taking the time out of her Christmas morning to type this up, and post it on the board. This interview was conducted several months ago, but was played again last week on Canadian TV’s “Vicki Gabereau Show”.
Vicki Gabereau: Tonight on CTV, the series Roswell will premiere, before even hitting the airwaves, this series has been talked about as one of the big hits of the season. I’ve seen it and looks really wonderful. From Winnipeg, Brendan Fehr. You also lived here.
Brendan Fehr: I did for the past two years.
VG: You’re one of the stars of this thing, of the new television show.
BF: Me, along with Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Shiri Appleby, Bill Sadler, Majandra Delfino,and Nick Wechsler and Colin Hanks.
VG: That’s very good. And when you win an Emmy, you can say thank you to all of the people just like that.
BF: Oh. That and more. There’s a ton of people that work on the show–you know that have made it what it is. It’s one of the better shows.
VG: It’s fabulous, it’s just kinda–well I don’t know how to describe it, you?
BF: It’s not–describing it doesn’t give it justice, I don’t think. You know, it’s a cross between teens and aliens.
VG: A good combination.
BF: Which is a terrible, terrible combination generally. But with the minds behind it, David Nuter and Jason Katims and Warner Bros. the way they plugged it they have.
VG: They are plugging it.
BF: Yeah. Its turned out. Everybody putting in their two cents, and you know we got the dollar to buy the chocolate bar at the end of it. Once everybody put their two cents in. It’s brilliant.
VG: We’re going to look at a clip and you play the character, Micheal.
BF: Micheal Guerin.
VG: How old are you in real life?
VG: Right, so you’re playing a teenager?
BF: 16. It’s not that far fetched. I’m a young 21. Here we go.
SHOWS A CLIP OF ROSWELL FROM THE PILOT EPISODE.
VG: You know what I think is interesting, you’re a cynic, right?
BF: I’m a cynic?
VG: As a character, you’re a cynic.
BF: Yes. You don’t know. You just met me.
VG: No, Micheal as a character.
BF: Micheal is a cynic. He’s malcontent. The hand he’s been dealt in life is not very good and he doesn’t deal with it in a very constructive way.
VG: So far…because who knows how–it’s interesting that all aliens are white, you know, you guys are the three of you and you all look exactly the same. You know–you’d think that people might look different, who knows?
VG: Was this ever addressed?
BF: In terms of minority issues?
BF: Yeah, we got alot. Most of the tv shows this season got blasted for it by the NAACP. When you look at the show, it appears that we’re all Caucasions and become–I think it’s a little misleading. We’ve got Majandra Delfino in the show who was born in Venezuela. She’s a South American. Micheal Horse, who’s a full fledge Native American.
VG: It’s not your responsibility.
BF: And I’m Canadian you know–so we got–
VG: You really are an alien.
BF: I’m really an alien.
VG: 1947, allegedly something crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. You guys are?
BF: In 1983–’82,’83 we hatched from incubation pods, wherever, and we were respectively adopted. Me by my foster dad, and Jason and Katie who play Max and Isabelle by the Evans’.
VG: How does it work? Did you guys escape after being born in the pod, the pod people?
BF: We’re not completely sure, it’s addressed in the pilot. The other two aliens, their situation, their background are addressed more than mine–we’re going–I don’t even know if we figured out what mine’s going to be, exactly how we ended up meeting. So we’ll see. I’m not even aware of that.
VG: How many episodes have you shot?
BF: We are on number six right now.
VG: Right, so things have progressed from my point of view, I still don’t know what’s going on, if you get my drift. Because I’ve only seen one and a bit.
BF: One and a bit. Yeah, well, you understand the show, where it’s coming from?
VG: Oh, I do.
VG: I do. I like the look of it. John Bartley.
BF: John Barley.
VG: English, but from here.
BF: John Bartley is an absolute, um, he’s a genius. What he does with the show, if we had any other DP doing it, it wouldn’t look as sharp, it wouldn’t look as good. And I don’t think the buzz would be as much. I consider him one of the great DPs on television. I tell him that everyday, I say make sure you don’t make it look like a soap opera, we’re a first class show here.
VG: Listen to him, 21. Have you ever had a TV show before?
BF: No. John won an Emmy for the X-Files and he’s brilliant. The look of the show adds so much to it. I mean, it’s immeasurable how valuable he is to the show, and he’s great to work with.
VG: I believe it. That what I can’t handle is that I actually fell for it.
BF: That’s what I was worried about, you know–I read the script and I’m like alien teens, I don’t know. You have David Nuter and Jason Katims behind it, along with John Bartley and everything just fell into place. The chances of it falling into place, I didn’t think were that good. You know, it’s just the way it was written, you know, you can’t help but–you know, if you say the lines and the actors do their jobs, the way it’s written, it can’t help but come across as being honest and true, which is a pleasure.
VG: You work for Mr. Nuter. I bet he gets razzed a lot about that name of his.
VG: No? Oh.
BF: Not at all. Why? What’s wrong with his name?
BF: Now he might.
VG: Nuter–it’s in England, they’ll say in England–people will say he’s a real nutter. You know.
BF: Oh okay. Well I think Canada has closer ties to England than the U.S.
VG: You worked for him before.
BF: I worked for in “Disturbing Behaviour”, in a blink or you’ll miss it role. And he had promised me a line in the beginning and he never gave it to me. So… you know, but then this came up.
VG: Now you’re happy.
BF: Now I’m happy.
VG: A pay cheque.
BF: Regular pay cheque.
VG: Have you ever had a job?
BF: Regular? Like—yeah, a nine to five job, sure. I graduated in ’95 and I took two years off.
BF: It’s all right. I took two years off and I switched between landscaping and delivering mats around the city of Winnipeg.
BF: For businesses outside, so they can wipe their feet, take up the dirty ones and put down the clean ones.
VG: This is what you need to be to be a big star in a big Amercan TV show. Be right back with Brendan Fehr.
GOES TO COMMERCIALS
VG: I’m back with Brendan Fehr–we just can’t stop talking. He stars in Roswell which will premiere tonight on CTV. Very exciting. Are you nervous?
BF: No. I think…I think we put the best show together that we possibly could. And after that, you just kinda got to let it go. In terms of other shows and other competition and stuff like that, I don’t view it as a competition. Once you put your best out there, there’s nothing you can do about it, so if you worry about it and stress about it.
VG: Doesn’t matter because it’s already done.
BF: It doesn’t matter. Just because you’re a good television show, doesn’t mean you’ll be on TV necessarily. And just because you’re on TV doesn’t mean you’re a good television show.
VG: That’s very true. You’re so wise.
BF: You know—Well, I don’t know.
VG: You’ll get over it.
BF: Yeah. A show like “My So-Called LIfe”, it lasted what thirteen episodes and it’s considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time and Jason Katims who is the writer of our show was the writer on that one as well. But yeah, and you have shows you don’t think should be on television and they’re there every week plugging away.
VG: And they never go away.
BF: Never go away.
VG: Did you go to theatre school?
VG: Never had a lesson?
BF: I’ve had a one hour lesson to prepare for a particular script. It was “Mystery Alaska”, and I was tied up earlier on and I was very nervous about it, so I went to a teacher.
VG: Are you in it?
BF: I did not get it. I’ve never had a lesson. I choose to think I’ve had twenty one years of acting lessons, you know, with the way I’ve been raised and what I’ve been taught, the people that I’ve interacted with and you know…you know, 21 years that is very invaluable and I don’t think you can learn it in a classroom, so I think that has helped me a lot.
VG: Surely, there must be some sort of technique that you would have to know for this.
BF: I read that in an interview with Anthony Hopkins once, and they asked him about his acting, and I think he’s an absolutely brilliant actor, he does no wrong on screen.
VG: His mother’s here.
BF: And Anthony Hopkins, they asked him the question, they said what advice would you give to any young person starting out acting. He said memorize your lines. He goes, if it’s a good script and you memorize your lines, he goes, you know, the set deck–they have the set in there and the camera man will do his work and they’ll dress you in the clothes. If you memorize the lines and say them in a way that should be said, in a natural way, that’s all you can do.
VG: And don’t bump into the furniture.
BF: And don’t bump into the furniture, just memorize the lines, and i think that’s all you really need to do, and say them in the most natural way you can, and I don’t think you can do much more than that.
VG: Are you good at memorizing things?
BF: Yeah…I don’t have a photographic memory by any means, but it doesn’t take me long, I can look at a script–
VG: Do you know poems, for example, if you’re at a dinner party, can you reel off a poem?
BF: I can reel off a poem.
VG: Let’s hear it, what’s your poem.
BF: I don’t…
VG: One poem.
BF: No, no. I don’t know…I don’t read poetry.
VG: What happens in school now? You’re not made to memorize poetry?
BF: No, I’ve been out of school for four years. Give me a break.
VG: Okay, I’ll give you a break.
VICKI GABEREAU PULLS OUT A BOTTLE OF TABASCO SAUCE AND PLACES IT ON HER DESK.
VG: Why do I have this on my desk?
BF: Uh, that’s a quirk, that’s on the show, it’s a little…it’s a dietary quirk of the three aliens, um, we…
VG: Rocket fuel?
BF: I guess so, we drink this and mix it in drinks and food on a regular basis on the show.
VG: Because everything tastes kinda not like home.
BF: No, it’s explained later on. It’s not a huge secret. It’s explained later on in one of the episodes that we like things sweet and spicy, so we’ll put it on, put it in Pepsi, on cake, on chocolate bars.
VG: Is it the real stuff?
BF: I used…they asked me, they said what do you want to use for the tabasco sauce, we got V8 or some tomato juice. And I can’t stand tomato juice, it makes me gag. So I said give me the real stuff. And the reason I said the stuff, cuz when we were younger instead of spankings and stuff, I remember a lot of the time, our mom would make us stick out our tongue and she would put drops on it.
VG: Your sister is here, is that true?
BF: That was our punishment and it wasn’t so bad, I said give me the real stuff. So we’re doing this scene and I was putting the real stuff in my Pepsi and my mouth wasn’t hot, that was all right, but I was just getting red and I was sweating and my whole body temperature rose and John Bartley comes up to me and he goes, we can’t do this anymore, cuz you look terrible on film.
VG: Thanks very much.
BF: He goes it’s not working. Now we got a berry-flavoured tomato juice, which is a little better.
VICKI GABEREAU HOLDING THE TABASCO SAUCE BOTTLE.
VG: This is wonderful. This is a wonderful product. Now that we said it on air that it’s used to punish you with it.
BF: So yeah, just a little dietary quirk that we have with it. There’s a scene that’s actually cut out from the pilot, where Katie who plays Isabelle is dipping chocolate chip cookies into wasabi, which was another sweet and spicy thing, but we ended up not using it.
VG: I think this is going to be a good running gag.
BF: I think so, it actually plays, the tabasco sauce plays a big part in the pilot, in terms of people kinda, you know, people kinda getting liitle suspicious of things.
VG: Because you do such odd things. You gotta watch this. It’s very good. Thank you very much Brendan.
BF: Thank you very much.
VG: My pleasure having you here.