Jason’s new world as a secret…ALIEN
Thanks to Marie for sending this in!
From: Sunday Telegraph TV Guide, Australia
March 11, 2000
Jason’s new world as a secret…ALIEN
Although he’s the star of one of America’s hottest new sci-fi series, Roswell’s Jason Behr has his feel firmly planted on the ground. Simone Hewett reports.
There’s a storm raging in Los Angeles which seems to be playing havoc with the telephone connection and it doesn’t help that Jason Behr speaks quite softly. But he’s friendly and eager to talk about his popular new show, which is, curiously enough, showing in the US back-to-back with another show about angst-ridden teenagers, Dawson’s Creek, in which Behr featured last year.
In Roswell, Behr plays 16-year-old Max Evans, who with his sister Isabel (played by Katherine Heigl) and friend Michael (Brendan Fehr), are survivors of an alien spacecraft that landed in a New Mexico desert in 1947.
The teenagers have been living quietly in Roswell since emerging from incubation but suddenly everything changes. While waiting on tables at her father’s cafe, Liz (Shiri Appleby) is accidentally shot after an argument.
Her high school classmate Max puts aside a lifelong pact of secrecy and miraculously heals Liz’s gunshot wound with his hand.
In saving Liz’s life, Max not only exposes himself, but also Isabel and Michael, putting all their lives at risk through discovery.
Behr describes Max as a “very careful” person.
“He’s living a life which is a secret and living this life causes him to be more aware than the average teenager,” he says.
“It’s caused him to not only grow up fast but also to be sensitive to his friends and the consequences of his acts. If everything you do is secret and though through, you’re not going to make a mistake because you don’t want to be killed.”
Yet at the same time Max feels the teenager’s urge to expand his horizons, Behr says.
“Max wants to reach out and do things, spread his wings a little, explore who he is through relationships with other people, but he can’t because of who he is,” he says.
“With that, the mere fact of his existence causes him to be very restrained, very careful. It’s a lonely and depressing existence to be that confined when you are wanting so badly to experience other things – it’s a sad kind of existence.”
Behr admits he shares some of Max’s personality traits.
“There’s always a little piece of you in your work, it’s inevitable that it’s sort of in there somewhere,” he says.
Like max, he is still trying to figure out where he is, his place in the world and who he is.
Behr would be familiar to fans of Dawson’s Creek, where he played party animal Chris Wolfe in seven episodes last year. Behr says Chris is the antithesis of Max.
“He was kind of like the troublemaker, the rich classmate who was carefree and out to have a good time,” he says “I like to think of him as free, wild, he was always trying to have a good time at everyone else’s expense. He didn’t care about stepping on a few people’s toes, didn’t think about the consequences of what he was doing.”
Behr describes his stint on Dawson’s, filmed in North Carolina, as a “wonderful experience”.
“There was so much support for everyone out there and I’d never met any of them before,” he says. “Because you’re out in the middle of North Carolina, me being the new guy, I didn’t know how they would treat me. I didn’t expect them to be so friendly, but they welcomed me with open arms.”
Behr says it’s bizarre that his old show Dawson’s Creek, which screens at 8pm on The WB in the US, is followed by Roswell at 9pm.
“I guess it’s inevitable that if the tow shows are on together, at some point, I’ll be on both,” he says.
Although at 26, Behr is 10 years older than his on-screen character, he says he hasn’t found it difficult to play a 16-year old high school student.
“Giving wedgies, shoving people into lockers, it’s an easy thing for me to do that,” he laughs. “I have a younger brother who’s just graduated from high school. But I think the overall themes about high school life are always there. Back when I was in high school and now, the themes remain the same – those metaphors of the aliens who represent alienation, self-discovery and trying to find your place in this world. Technology, pop culture, music and movies all influence how we act and our general way of thinking. The whole idea behind aliens is that they’re not so different from us.”
Asked how he prepared for the Roswell role, Behr says he had to try and imagine what it would be like to grow up in such a strange place, where you could expect to be asked every day about aliens.
“I can’t go out and talk to any other aliens about their experience, I can only read books about Roswell and watch videos about the town and imagine what it must be like to grow up in a place like that, where everything is geared up to make something out of nothing or if it’s a real big secret, shrouded in mystery and might all be true,” he says.
Behr made his acting debut at the age of five. “I was playing a flower – I didn’t actually say anything,” he says.
He did a lot of theatre work in Minnesota, which he says offers a great theatre program and courses. But on-screen opportunities were few and far between so he decided to move to Los Angeles.
“I got really lucky with my timing,” he says. He was soon appearing on such programs as JAG, Profiler and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also played the lead role of Dempsey Easton in Push. Then came Dawson’s Creek. Behr also starred in the independent film Rites of Passage, co-starring Dean Stockwell. The film made its US debut at the 1999 Palm Springs Film Festival. But Behr says his main focus is on Roswell, which is currently finishing work on the first season.