“FEHR GAME” What Magazine June 2001

Thanks to Stephanie “Tetters” for this

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Talking to Brendan Fehr is at times more like watching a stand-up comedy routine. His hilarious stories and Seinfeld-esque observations make it clear he finds the whole celebrity thing rather, well… funny.

He plays the cool guy on Roswell. He’s starring in The Forsaken this spring. He walks down red carpets and gets hounded by reporters at Hollywood parties. But Brendan Fehr doesn’t take fame too seriously.
Case in point: we tell him he’s going to be on the cover of What, and the 23-year-old actor’s smiling response is, “Okay…but can you erase this zit?”
Back in his hometown to host the Blizzard Awards (for the best in Manitoba films and TV), Fehr doesn’t seen to mind that we’re keeping him holed up in his manager’s hotel room. In fact, the guy who still calls the couch in his mother’s Winnipeg basement “home” is more that happy to entertain us by telling silly stories and cracking crude jokes.
“I’m not nervous about hosting”, he confides. “I have to sing, and I don’t care if I screw up. I mean, I’m an actor, not a singer… and that’s the funniest stuff, when people screw up live.”
He quickly lets us know he’s speaking from recent experience. “At the NBA All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C., in the Slam Dunk contest… I missed all three times. I tried going between my legs like Vince Carter on one, and I didn’t even get the jump up — I tripped and fell, and everybody was laughing at me.
“It was so funny. Even why you miss, you usually get, like, a six out of 10, and I was the only guy in the history of the competition to get all zeroes. Not that I was trying to be a clown, but I just really didn’t care. Everybody got a good laught out of it.”
On the set of Roswell, Fehr has a reputation for being anything byt a cown. Cast mates say his personality is remarkably similar to his character Michael: outspoken and direct. But Fehr points out that while he many be that way at work, things aren’t always so simple.
“I’m straightforward with a lot of people, it just depends who. Like on set, if you asked someone, they would say that I’m a guy who won’t hold back. They’ll go, ‘he’ll say whatever’s on his mind.’ I usually do. But I’ve got that conscience thing, that Canadian pushover thing, where you don’t want to be rude to anyone…
“like the taxi driver — usually when you’re in a taxi, he’ll say something like, ‘I can’t believe the newspapers,’ and you don’t even have to respond. But for some reason I find it necessary to go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ Just to not make him feel bad. But I [wonder] why am I so enthusiastic about this? (Laughing) You kind of feel geeky, ’cause you really don’t even care… I just turn into that lame kid whol doesn’t know the end.
“The cool rock and roll guy would be, like, ‘just keep driving.’ You try to make some conversation and you’re like, not even interested.”
Otherwise, keeping interested isn’t a huge issue for Fehr these days. As Roswell flies through its second season, he’s faced with new challenges as the show’s characters and story lines evolve.
“In upcoming episodes, Michael and Max basically switch attitudes and way of doing things. Michael, in the scripts coming up, is a lot more mature. He’s not like a loose cannon. He seems to have all the answers. Max’s world is crumbling before him, and he starts freaking out. My character turns into a guy who tries to settle everything down — I become a great boyfriend and a good friend all that stuff. That’sn ot what he was, so I’m finding it a little bit of a challenge to do these scenes where I’m the cool head, but still maintaining [Mike’s] edge and not just making him a normal, all-American kind. So there’s a lot that’s changed, but I don’t want to change essentially who he is. That kind of keeps it fresh.”
In his spare time, Fehr makes movies. This spring, he plays a hitchiker who hunts vampires with Kerr Smith (Dawson’s Creek) in The Forsaken — a film he calls ‘”funny like Lethal Weapon, with an edge like The Lost Boys.” He also signed on for the lead in Anne Wheeler’s Wilderness Station (based on a short story by Alice Munro), being shot in Manitoba.
Fehr says he enjoyed the shorter hours and extra freedom of working on Forsaken, then jokingly laments the loss of one take you won’t see on the big screen.
“I thought we should just open the scene in the car with me picking my nose… why not? On TV, you kinda don’t go there. IN a movie, with certain characters, you can. You’re allowed to swear, or you can do stuff like pick your nose — which… actually, the director didn’t let me. I wanted to, and he was like, ‘No.'”
The image of hot teen idol Fehr diffing in his nostril on screen is not only funny — it also seems oddly appropriate. He does things his own way, bucking convention and undercutting Hollywood myths. And the guy who calls himself “more of a country bumpkin” sees the humour in what he does. Take those snazzy L.A. parties, for instance.
“They’re boring. You arrive, you walk down the red carpet, and if you’re famous — or if no one famous precedes you — everyone calls your name, snaps pictures and it’s all very exciting… very Hollywood. You think, ‘I’m going to a great part, ’cause there’s a lot of noise, a lot of buzz, and it’s all fast-paced.’ You know, you do the interviews and you’ve got stars walking behind you and in front of you, and it’s all very cool. And you walk in, and everybody just sits there.
“The big stars — you see them walking in line, and you never see them at the party. They’ve gotta have some private room that I don’t have access to where they’re all…doing something fun. (Laughs). So you really don’t go up and talk to anyone, and youjust kinda hang out with the people you went with, taking in the free drink and food and walking around going, ‘uh, yeah, this sucks.’ I’d rather go to Universal Studios and ride the rides or something like that.”
A celebrity who’d rather go to Universal Studios than do the real thing? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Fehr knows just how hilarious he is. Not that it really matters — or that he really cares.
In a time of plastic personalities, it’s funny that a guy from Winnipeg can make it big and still prefer to hang out with his high school buddies to “do nothing, like we’ve always done.” Sure, Brendan Fehr may be the joker missing the slam dunks and stuck talking to taxi drivers — but we get the impression that ultimately the joke is on Hollywood.

ALL’S FEHR [An Interview on the Side]

W: If you were a vampire, who would you bite?
BF: Well, it’s been Reese Witherspoon for the longest time. I don’t think she’s typically beautfiul… she is, but she’s more cool, and is really good at her work, which kind of makes her more appealing as well.

W: What CDs do you have in your stereo right now?
BF: Metallica and Johnny Case.

W: What’s the strangest thing you own?
BF: I own a Spiderman bicycle from 1977. It’s got a banana seat that’s yellow, with a web on it. It’s go stickers on it. It’s all red, and the thing — you know why they race BMX — the thing at the front? It’s gt Spiderman on it. So that’s pretty cool. I guess that’d be it.

W: Fave Slurpee flavour?
BF: I usually mix them all together. But Slurpees in the States and Slurpees here are completely different — a completely different texture. My favourite Slurpee in the States is actually Pina Colada. They’re very foamy. It’s not like ice, it’s almost like whipped cream. They’re a lot better here. Well, I think so.

W: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?
BF: I was gonna say something you can’t print (laughs). Hmmm… what’s surprising about me? Uh… (pauses for a few seconds) I have really thick ankles {laughs). I have no idea!

W: If you had to go out on a date with a Spice Girl, which one would you pick?
BF: (Laughs sarcastically). They all represent something so different! Oh, man. It wouldn’t be Posh. She’s out of the question. I think it would be Scary.

W: How come?
BF: She’s sexy with that accent, but…she seems like she would be the most fun. And not stupid fun. She seems pretty spontaneous. Like Geri Halliwell…she’d be sponteous but you’d be like “this is so lame.” (Lauhgs). Scary seems like she’s in a sense — sophisticated, but still fun to hang out with.

W: If you weren’t a famous actor, what would you be?
BF: Poor (laughs). Probably a math teacher.