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Fehr & square
His series is out of this world, but local Roswell star is still a down-to-earth guy
Winnipeg Sun

Brendan Fehr had a close encounter of the undeserved kind when he was home in Winnipeg for Christmas but the Roswell star didn’t let a fan’s objections to the show get him down.

While the conspiracy-laden teen series from The WB has been pre-empted on CTV for hit quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? a few times, Fehr, 22, says the reaction from local people who’ve seen Roswell has been mainly positive.

“Most people who watch it really enjoy it. But I was in the line at The Gap on Boxing Day on the 26th, 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 what, I hate that show Roswell but I just watch it for Jason Behr.’

“And it was funny. Me and my friends were there and we started laughing … I find that stuff funny, you know. I’m waiting for my first hate mail.”

Fehr, Behr, Colin Hanks (son of Tom) and the rest of the Roswell cast held court for TV critics on the show’s set.

While most Winnipeggers would have rated Steinbach actor Scott Bairstow’s Fox series Harsh Realm most likely to succeed this season, the net pulled that show from X-Files creator Chris Carter after just three outings last fall.

Roswell, meanwhile, has developed a devoted fan following — the median age of which is 27 — and a legion of Internet fan sites.

Fehr says he’s been impersonated online, but he does actually log on to occasionally to chat with fans. Not that he lets the adulation, particularly from teenage girls — including Colin Hanks’ sister — go to his head.

“When I started off, I got one fan letter — this one girl kept writing me and she was like, ‘I know you’re getting lots of fan mail’ and all this and she was the only one writing me,” he says.

“I’m aware that I have fans but to what extent I don’t know. If that fulfils you as a person and makes you feel important and stuff like that, you’ve gotta give yourself a head check.”

Fehr, a graduate of Winnipeg’s Mennonite Brethren Collegiate, says he had a long discussion about Hollywood values with his mom when he was home for the holidays, and his basic philosophy is that his personal growth won’t be dependent on his environment.

He says he hangs out with actors from Fox’s That ’70s Show — Wilmer Valderrama, Topher Grace, Laura Prepon and Danny Masterson — because they’re on the same wavelength.

“I’m not a huge bar-hopper. I mean, I’ll go to the Pemby in Winnipeg, and that’s about it. It’s very low-key.

“But I’m not the one to go to the Sky Bar (the latest Hollywood see-and-be-seen shmooz spot) or anything like that, and they weren’t interested in that. I mean, we go bowling and we go to Jan’s Diner and Jerry’s and we sit there and have a great time and we’re always content just to sit on a couch and do nothing.

“That’s what my friends in Winnipeg were like, and I was really concerned I wouldn’t find anyone here like that.”

Fehr moved to L.A. with his dog, Opa, a female Rottweiler, just last July, but he seems to be in his element. He has a role in the upcoming film Final Destination, about a group of teens who are hunted by Death after they skip a doomed plane flight to Paris.

But he says he was an innocent about the film business before he arrived and he was tempted to give Roswell a miss because he didn’t see it as a serious acting role.

“I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to do it, I mean teenagers and aliens, you know,” he says.

But once he read the script, he was hooked and he’s glad he bit.

“I didn’t know how hard it was to get a series. I was really naive about it and I realize now that I am in this spot where a lot of kids want to be.”