THANK YOU so much to MyrnaLynne for sending this in :)
“Starlog” Nov 2000 #280 submitted by MyrnaLynne, p. 64-66
Nick Wechsler Interview: “A Bitter Youth” by Bill Florence
Photo captions: As the Sheriff’s son, Kyle, Nick Wechsler is bitterly unhappy about the twists that romance has taken on “Roswell.”
“Although he was born in New Mexico, Wechsler never actually visited the real Roswell until landing the series.”
“Wechsler looks forward to this season, and the change to add other facets to his semi-angry young man alter-ego.”
“As the teen technowizard Trek, Wechsler (far left) was part of “Team Knight Ride” alongside Kathy Trageser, Duane Davis, Brixton Karnes, and Christine Steel.”
A Bitter Youth – Nick Wechsler looks forward to the day Kyle Valenti stops being a jerk.
Nick Wechsler is unaccustomed to being interviewed. The 22-year-old co-star of “Roswell: fears sounding pretentious as he answers questions about playing Liz’s jilted former boyfriend, Kyle Valenti. There are questions he has never considered before, questions that make him uncomfortable and questions that evoke an almost painful honesty.
For instance, Wechsler admits he is a little weary of playing a heel. “Kyle’s a jerk, and he doesn’t get over things,” says the actor, who has just arrived home after a long day on the “Roswell” set. “He went from being jealous and bothered in the beginning of the series, to getting more jealous and bothered as things continued to NOT go his way. So, he made life more and more difficult for the people around him. Characters who are just one color, who don’t go through changes, aren’t realistic. That’s why I DON’T like having Kyle be a jerk all the time. I look forward to ANY opportunity to do something else with the part.”
Frustrations aside, Wechsler is thrilled to be working on “Roswell,” just entering its second season on the WB. And he’s happy to report that some changes are in store for Kyle this year. After all, last season’s final episode, “Destiny,” saw a mortally wounded Kyle healed by Max (Jason Behr) as Kyle’s father, Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler), looked on. “I can’t talk about it too much,” says Wechsler, “except to say that there’s an interesting arc [underway] and I find it more interesting [than my rule last year] because I don’t want to do the same thing the whole time. There are some changes that Kyle goes through this season that are fun to play around with. I’m happy that they’re affording me those opportunities, and I’m looking forward to being kind of nice now and then. I would like variety – the chance to play some funny stuff and some dramatic stuff.”
Kyle’s relationship with Liz (Shiri Appleby), for instance, might be entering a new phase. “Last year, they were pretty far apart. Kyle wouldn’t really talk to Liz, and when he did, he was rude. But this season, there’s a possibility for him to NOT hate her,” Wechsler reveals. “We’ve only shot four episodes so far, and it’s not like the two characters have become best friends or anything. It’s just that there isn’t so much tension between them anymore. It hasn’t been completely addressed yet in any of these episodes, but it’s apparent that when Max saved him, Kyle understood why Liz had been acting so weird.”
What’s more, Wechsler hints that a bit of a romance could be in store for the bitter teen. “There are some chances for it, but Kyle is not central to the plot, so don’t look for something like that to be the focus,” he cautions. “I can say that Kyle is put in some situations in the coming episodes where romance IS a possibility.”
That, too, would be a welcome addition, right? “Yes, but I would be really nervous having any make-out scenes,” he notes shyly. “Imagine, you don’t know the person that well and you’re supposed to kiss her and all this…” His voice trails off with genuine consternation.
THE SHERIFF’S SON
“Roswell” obviously has picked up a loyal audience, as the 13-episode renewal for a second season attests. But Wechsler’s own report card on “Roswell” remains blank because, as an insider, he feels he has no perspective. “Our show isn’t even real to me because I’m involved,” he reflects. “It’s hard for me to judge “Roswell” for that reason. I can’t say the show is fantastic, only that I enjoy working on it. But I don’t buy it as a viewer, because as I watch, I know how many takes we did to get the scenes to work. I know everything that went into making it, because I was there. It’s a shame, really. I know where the story’s going, so I can’t be surprised or affected by it. It’s ALL fake to me.”
That sense of unreality also makes it difficult for the actor to pick a favorite episode. “In terms of acting, I had the most fun so far on ‘Blind Date,’ ” he says. “You can call that one the drunk episode. It was a little more of a stretch for me. Kyle got drunk in that one, and I had fun attempting to not overplay it.”
Wechsler confirms that this year, “Roswell” will be more action- and science fiction-oriented. “I guess the network might have felt the love stories were slowing things down,” he surmises. “There are plenty of shows out there with love stories, but what separates ours from those is the SF and the chance for action. We can cover different territory by the very nature of our subject matter. So the network wants us to explore that more.”
Along for the exploration are Sadler, Appleby, Behr, Katherine Heigl as Isabel, Brendan Fehr as Michael, Majandra Delfino as Maria, Colin Hanks as Alex, and Emilie deRavin as Tess. Wechsler thinks the world of Sadler, the lone adult in the regular cast. “He’s funny and talented and just amazing,” Wechsler says of the veteran actor who portrays his father. “He’s really cool and I hang out with him a bit. He’s sure of himself and his talent. He knows he’s capable, he has nothing to prove and he has not ego. It’s great watching him work, because you can tell he’s a professional. He’s not in this to be famous, whereas many people on teen shows are. They go to all the Hollywood parties, play it up, spend all their money and bitch about everything. That’s NOT Bill Sadler at all.”
“As for the others, I don’t really know them,” Wechsler admits. “I talk to them on the set, but that’s usually the extent of it. I know Brendan a little; we’ve spoken a few times outside of work. Katherine has a good sense of humor and she laughs a lot; I love that. She’s always smiling and she makes me feel like I’m the funniest guy on the planet. I know Shiri the least of all; she seems to be alone more than the rest of us.”
Although he’s on a show aimed primarily at teenagers, Wechsler loathes the spate of teen shows infesting television. “I hadn’t really watched many of them before “Roswell,” he says. “I don’t care for them at all, and I want the whole wave to end. But I like having a job, and I love working with the producers and writers on “Roswell.” I’m extremely fortunate to have this job.”
But Wechsler is not ready to divulge his thoughts on WHO Kyle is, other than the obvious. He prefers to stick with what viewers have seen on the screen. “I feel pretentious explaining anything else beyond the obvious things – he was Liz’s boy friend, and he’s the Sheriff’s son. Anything else is just stuff that I create or pretend I’m putting into the part,” he says. “I hate listening to actors [invent their character’s attributes]. It’s like they’re kissing their own asses about the stuff they added.”
What he will say is that he is seldom pleased with his own performance on the show. Wechsler is, quite simply, his own worst critic. “I always end up not being happy with the way I’m doing the character,” he says. “I never hate myself so often as I do when I’m acting. I feel stupid complaining about it, though. It’s easier just to think nothing. But at the same time, I want people to understand that if ever they hate my performance, believe me, I hear you! I felt that way first, so don’t think I don’t realize it.”
NEW MEXICO BOY
Appropriately enough, Wechsler was born and raise din New Mexico – but in Albuquerque, NOT Roswell. He never visited the town famous for the alleged 1947 UFO crash – not until he was living in LA and landed a part on “Roswell.” “I went there fairly recently to check it out, and it was interesting” he laughs. “That’s all I’m saying.”
He’s unsure what to think about the UFO phenomenon. While he has never seen a flying saucer, Wechsler points out that technically, he has seen a UFO. “One time I saw something that looked like it was flying, and I couldn’t IDENTIFY it, so that makes it a UFO, doesn’t it? But it could have been something on my contacts. Or I might have been drinking,” he quips. “Of course, I was in middle school at the time, and I wasn’t a heavy drinker then, so who knows?”
“But there MUST be something to it all,” he adds, waxing serious. “It would be hard to believe there is nothing to all the talk, and that intrigues me.”
Candidly, the actor admits he’s not much of an SF fan, although he “loved ‘Event Horizon.’ But I don’t think in genres. I don’t like to categorize anything. I liked ‘The Matrix,’ and my favorite TV show is ‘The X-Files,’ but not because of its genre. I like ‘The X-Files’ more than any show, including ours.”
Wechsler’s resume includes a role on the 1997 TV series “Team Knight Rider.” Reminded of that fact, he half-chuckles, half-groans. “I knew that was coming! Honestly, what I remember most about “Team Knight Rider” is the people I worked with. Anyone who has seen it knows it wasn’t the greatest show, but some people liked it. I had fun. It was a good experience. Whether it turned out well or not is a different story.”
Some day, “Roswell” will end. That’s when Wechsler hopes to land roles in feature films. “Everyone says that, but that’s what I’ve hoped for all along,” he notes wryly.
For now, he would be happy just getting more to do on “Roswell.” “I like to do it. It’s fun to pretend, and I look forward to doing it every day – even if I’m not happy at the END of the day,” says Nick Wechsler. “I just say to myself, ‘Damn it, I’ll get it tomorrow,’ and that’s kind of exciting.