Jason Behr Blasts Off!

Thanks to Janet for sending this in!

Jason Behr blasts off in “Roswell”, new movie

By CHELSEA J. CARTER

03/06/2000
Associated Press Newswires
Copyright 2000. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jason Behr was making the guest rounds with The
WB ‘s teen angst trough – from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” to “Dawson’s
Creek” – when it all changed.

Well, sort of.

He landed the lead in this season’s teen alien-ation series
“Roswell,” a “My So-Called-Life” meets the “X-Files” drama about
fictional survivors of the alleged 1947 spacecraft crash.

“It does sound funny when you first try to explain it: Three alien
teen-agers going to high school,” he says. “In the wrong hands it
could have been a very bad Saturday morning special.”

It wasn’t. In fact, the success of the show has landed the
26-year-old Behr among The WB ‘s stable of young actors taking
Hollywood by storm.

With a best acting nomination in this year’s Santa Monica Film
Festival for the yet-to-be-released independent “Rites of Passage,”
also starring Dean Stockwell, Behr reveals he can stand up alongside
the best of young Hollywood. The film won best of show at the
festival.

But unlike many of his colleagues, he’s avoided the pitfalls of such
exposure – tabloids, paparazzi and public disputes. (Read: Jessica
Biel’s attempt to get out of her “7th Heaven” contract and the tabloid
fare of the cast of “Charmed.”)

Maybe, it isn’t Behr’s turn yet. More likely, says ” Roswell ”
executive producer Jonathan Frakes, “he’s got a good head on his
shoulders.”

“He’s got a very calm, confident, sexy, smart approach to all of
this. There’s something wiser than his years there when you talk to
him,” Frakes said. “This business is a real privelege and real honor,
and it’s not something to be taken lightly. He gets that.”

Sitting in a cubicle-sized dressing room recently on the lot of
Paramount, Behr is modest about his success despite the attention he
received of late from critics, including recently being named among TV
Guide’s “10 To Watch.”

“For people to tell you nice things or compliment you is rewarding,
but if you allow yourself to buy into the notion you are now a star
then you stop being actor,” he said. “I’m just going along with the
notion that … people who end up walking around like their shoes are
bigger than anybody else’s end up stepping on other people’s shoes.”

Born and reared in the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield, Behr credits
his stability to his upbringing by a single mother raising five
siblings.

His mother encouraged his acting from the time he could memorize
lines.

“It started out as a hobby, something fun to do,” Behr said. “My
mother was always there, but never threw me into anything. Her
attitude was always, `Whatever you want to do, Jason.”‘

At 19, Behr decided to make a go of it, hopping on an airplane with
$200 in his pocket and a promised spot on a friend’s couch.

“Major culture shock,” he said. “People have a very different way of
thinking out here. Not to say that its better or worse. It’s just
different.”

Cut off from his tight-knit family and old friends, the first couple
of years were tough.

“I wished for a long time I could do this from Minneapolis,” he
said.

But slowly, his youthful appearance, dark good looks and talent
helped land him guest spots on a variety of shows, including a role in
the 1998 if-you-blinked-you-missed-it ABC drama “Push.”

During that time his family began a “mass exodus” to California,
seduced by the warm weather.

“I can’t tell you what it means to have them here – the support,” he
said. “I’m in a very happy place in my life right now, and I want to
share it with people who mean a lot to me.”

These days he’s more at home with friends and family than making
public appearances, such as presenting at a recent music awards show
with the Irish girl band “Bewitched.”

“Surreal,” he says of the experience.

Actress Shiri Appleby, who plays Behr’s love interest on the show,
says the Midwestern charm “is not an act.”

“That’s really him. He’s really a nice guy,” she said. “He takes
what he does seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.”

When ” Roswell ” was picked up for a full season, she and Behr were
sent to New York to meet possible future advertisers.

“It was his first trip there and he lays on the floor of the limo,
looking through the (moon roof) at all the buildings,” Appleby said.
“He wouldn’t get up from the floor. He was so funny.”

The point is punctuated hours later when Behr stops an interview to
greet a visitor to the set, Appleby’s mother, with a kiss on the
cheek.

In fact, it’s hard to find anybody who has something negative to say
about Behr. The closest was “he’s a little serious,” said ” Roswell ”
costar Majandra Delfino , who counts him among her friends.

Behr is serious about his job.

His focus right now, he says, is the television show. While many
actors are scrambling for projects to do on their hiatus, he’s taking
his time, considering several independent and studio movie offers.

“You don’t have to take the first thing to be successful. Here are a
lot of people who want you to keep doing the same thing, like that
saying `If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,”‘ Behr said. “I want to be
involved in telling a good story. …If I fail because of that, I
failed my way. If I succeed, it’s going to be that much more
rewarding.”

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