Brendan Fehr: No longer Alien
Thanks to Michelle for sending this in!
From: Winnipeg Free Press
No longer alien
Roswell star jumps from unknown to fan favourite
Sat, Jan 15, 2000
Brad Oswald / Reports from L.A.
HOLLYWOOD — In real life, as well as the make-believe, showbiz universe
he sometimes inhabits, the last six months have been out of this world
for Brendan Fehr.
The 22-year-old former Winnipegger is midway through his first season as
star of a U.S. network TV series — the WB Network’s spacey,
teen-oriented Roswell (which airs locally on CKY) — and in just half a
year, he has gone from being a complete unknown to full-fledged fan-mag
Fehr — who co-stars with Jason Behr, Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl and
Majandra Delfino in the popular new show about three teen aliens trying
to co-exist with human kids in the New Mexico hotbed of alleged UFO
activity — said it has been something of a surreal experience to
suddenly find himself the subject of numerous teen-magazine features and
photos, not to mention dozens upon dozens of Roswell-related websites
(including several focused specifically on him).
“As the course of the season has gone along, it’s changed,” said Fehr,
who showed up for an informal meet-the-press session on Roswell’s set
this week, clad in full grunge gear — thick-heeled boots, faded jeans,
Metallica T-shirt, hooded sweatshirt and a strategically positioned
“When I started off, I got one fan letter, from this one girl who kept
writing me, ‘I know you’re getting lots of fan mail . . .’, and she was
the only one writing.”
Draw the line
During the course of Roswell’s first season, that has changed. These
days, mail pours in steadily, and Fehr said he has his manager
monitoring activity on the Internet to see what fans are saying about
him and the show.
“Obviously, it’s all worth something, because it tells you that you’re
doing a good job and that they like the show and appreciate what you’re
doing. But you have to draw the line — if that fulfills you as a person
and makes you feel important, then you’ve got to give yourself a
Popularity north of the border hasn’t quite kept pace with Fehr’s
skyrocketing U.S. celebrity, mostly because the Canadian network that
carries Roswell has not made a dedicated effort to give it a consistent
“CTV has kind of bumped it around,” Fehr said during an interview on
Roswell’s set, located on the historic Paramount Studios lot. “It was
pre-empted for a long time by Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, so it
hasn’t really been a smooth transition. People who did latch onto the
show were constantly getting jarred around with reruns and stuff like
that, so that’s been kind of tough.”
Fehr said a recent visit to Winnipeg, to spend Christmas with his
family, resulted in only a couple of fan encounters with people who
recognized him as Roswell’s conflicted alien, Michael Guerin.
“I was in the line at the Gap on Boxing Day,” he recalled, “and there
was a girl in front of me — I think she recognized who I was; I’m not
sure — but she was, like, ‘You know, I hate that Roswell show, but I
just watch it for Jason Behr.’ My friends and I started laughing. I find
that kind of thing funny.”
Fehr, who was born in New Westminster, B.C., and moved to Winnipeg at
age 12, admitted it’s a bit of a culture shock moving from the Canadian
Prairies to the centre of the showbiz universe, but he feels like he has
made the adjustment fairly smoothly.
“It’s a different lifestyle, obviously, coming from a place like
Winnipeg and then living in Hollywood,” he explained. “But I like it —
I went back to Winnipeg this Christmas holiday, and I actually found
myself missing L.A. and missing coming to work, because this is like
going to school all over again. I enjoyed school, and I’d go back to
school in a second and do it all over again.”
A graduate of Winnipeg’s Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute who
broke into acting in Vancouver after starting out as a model (in such
august publications as SuperStore flyers), Fehr said one of the things
that helps him stay grounded in the face of sudden fame is the fact he
has found friends down here who are a lot like his pals back home.
His busy schedule doesn’t allow him tons of time for socializing, but
when he has free hours, he spends them with his fellow castmates and,
more particularly, with some of the young actors on the popular Fox
comedy That ’70s Show.
Fehr explained that he met ’70s cast member Wilmer Valderrama (who plays
Fez) at a couple of charity events, which led to connections with series
star Topher Grace and a couple of others from the throwback sitcom.
“When you come down here, you’re afraid of a lot of the Hollywood kids
who always want to go out to the bar and do this and that,” said Fehr.
“I’m not a huge bar-hopper — I go to the Pemby in Winnipeg, and that’s
about it. It’s pretty low-key. I’m not someone who wants to go out to
the Skybar or anything like that.
“And (the ’70s Show’s kids) weren’t interested in that, either. We go
bowling and we go to Jerry’s (Famous Deli) and sit there and have a
great time. That’s what my friends back in Winnipeg are like, and I was
really concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find anyone like that down
here, but I did.”
Valderamma, who was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to L.A. just
four years ago, said it somehow makes perfect sense that he and Fehr
“We became best friends automatically,” said Valderrama. “Topher Grace
and I hang out together probably three or four times a week — we get
together and play PlayStation, rent a movie or go out to dinner, and
Brendan just fits in perfectly. He’s one of the few very down-to-Earth
guys in Hollywood; I think it’s probably because he comes from Canada
that he’s such a nice guy.”
Fehr said his mother is understandably proud of his accomplishments, but
added that she’s also a bit worried about having her youngster trying to
carve out a career in a tough town like Hollywood.
He insists she need not worry about her boy.
“It’s really hard, because when you’re in this business and you make
mistakes, people blame it on the business,” he said. “But I would have
made mistakes in university, as well. You’re just facing different kinds
“The person I want to be . . . I’m going to get there, whether I go back
to Winnipeg or whether I’m here doing this. And I’m going to make
mistakes along the way, and I’m going to fall. It’s just a matter of how
quickly I get back up. And I just need to be able to make those mistakes
without anyone blaming it on Hollywood.”