Another Florida Interview with Jason
Thanks to Janet for sending this in!
ALIEN ENCOUNTER HE’S 26 AND A VETERAN NOW, BUT THE STAR OF TV’S
ROSWELL GOT HIS ACTING START AT AGE 5 PLAYING – A SUNFLOWER.
MELINA I. DE ROSE Staff Writer
Sun-Sentinel Ft. Lauderdale
(Copyright 2000 by the Sun-Sentinel)
Jason Behr has been practically everywhere on the WB map. Along a
rising path of TV and movie roles, Behr made stops on Buffy the
Vampire Slayer, 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek. Until, like his alien
character, he landed on Roswell .
Behr, 26, plays Max Evans, leader of the teen aliens left stranded on
Earth after the legendary spaceship crash of 1947. The aliens and
their show survived to see a second season this fall, backed by fans
who flooded the WB network with bottles of Tabasco sauce, a spicy
staple of the non-human diet.
On television, Behr’s character has stayed close to Roswell , N.M.,
the one place he knows as home. In real life, the Minneapolis native
moved to Los Angeles at age 19 after graduating from high school. As
Behr tells it, he got a call from a long-lost skateboarding buddy who
invited him to the West Coast. “So I got on a plane like a week later
and that was it,” Behr says. “It was just something that I felt I
needed to do.”
Behr makes it back to Minnesota only sporadically. But he had the
opportunity to visit South Florida recently, appearing on Fort
Lauderdale beach to sign autographs and pose for fan photos.
Q. You’re on the Monday night slot now [9 p.m., WBZL-Ch. 39] after 7th
Heaven. Are you happy there?
A. I didn’t know how it was going to pan out because it’s like the
“God and Science Hour,” you know? And they don’t necessarily agree
with each other — it’s sort of like the two-hour block of
contradictions. But … it really has been working out, and I’m glad
that they decided to keep us there.
Q. Roswell is based on the books by Melinda Metz. Have you read any of
A. Yeah, when we first started the pilot, she only had three books out
then, so I did, I read all three of them … What those books did is
they gave us a great idea and a great starting point. I mean, that
basically laid out the stage for us to tell the story. Without the
books, we wouldn’t have a show. We’ve taken it in a much different
direction, and we’re going to continue to take it in that direction. .
. Throughout the entire season, we were always trying to find that
balance between relationships and characters, and action and suspense
and mystery… And I think we found it towards the end of the season,
and we’re going to continue on with that darker, edgier, “X-Filian”
Q. Is there any risk of losing the relationships and the emotional
aspects that have been so crucial this season?
A. I hope not. I don’t think it’s going to happen. It wouldn’t be the
same show, and I know that a lot of people would not be happy… We’re
still going to have those relationships that we’ve developed in the
first season. They’re just going to become a little more
complicated… At the end of the last season, we found out [the
aliens] were actually engineered and they were put here on Earth for a
specific purpose. … I think the second season is going to be [Max’s] struggle to either continue on with the life that he’s built for
himself in Roswell and the relationship with Liz (Shiri Appleby) and
accepting his so-called destiny and responsibility, and let that take
him where it leads him. So it’ll be like the choice between being
human or being alien.
Q. What do you think of him as a person?
A. I think generally he tries to be a good person and tries to make
the right decisions, but I don’t think he always does. What I like
about him is that he does make mistakes, that he does sometimes leap
before he really looks. That moment when he saves Liz in the CrashDown
is a testament to how much he feels and cares about her, because if
he’d stopped and thought about everybody who he would be putting at
risk, that little hesitation might’ve cost her her life. Those little
character choices speak louder than words sometimes.
Q. Do you have a favorite episode?
A. The last three episodes were my favorite of the season, for me as
an actor… I really enjoyed this one that we did called “Max to the
Max,” where I got a chance to play what could’ve been a very uber-
cheesy dual role (chuckling) — by being this other shape-shifting
alien who took on the guise of Max … What I wanted to do was subtly
give hints as to who they’re watching, for people who are really
paying attention, but not just give it away, not slam people over the
head with it. So I gave [the other] Max a little different walk, he
kind of prowled. He kind of had more of a sense of purpose in his
walk, and [the real] Max was a little more tentative because he didn’t
really know what was going on… But my other favorite one was this
one called “The White Room,” where Max was captured by the FBI and
tested and abused and tortured, and I thought that whole episode in
and of itself was the strongest one because you’re seeing somebody
that you care about in pain and pretty much helpless.
Q. Do you have a favorite character?
A. I like everybody. … I don’t really have a specific character that
I like more than others, but I really do enjoy watching Bill Sadler
(Sheriff Jim Valenti) because in the beginning he was the antagonist.
He was the one searching us out, but he had a reason, he was almost
validated in his convictions. And so, to take a character like that,
that people don’t necessarily root for, and make him, not sympathetic
but understandable in his actions, you understand why he’s doing that.
You really wish he didn’t, it would be really nice if, uh, that mean,
old sheriff would stop chasing around them three alien kids, but you
Q. You got an early start in acting. Something like age 5? What kind
of things did that entail?
A. (Laughs) Not a lot of dialogue, that’s for sure. I know that at age
5, I had done some theater. I don’t know the name of the play, and
neither does my mom, but I do know I played a sunflower.
Q. That was your first role?
A. Yeah, I remember just having like a green outfit on and a yellow
headdress of some sort (laughs). But I continued to do theater pretty
much up until I left for Los Angeles.
Q. So, why acting?
A. Why acting at that young age? I think my mom was trying to figure
out something to do with me. Apparently I had a lot of childlike
enthusiasm. Just a little. (Smiles) So she just wanted to focus my
Q. Would you eventually like to go back to theater? Or is the big
screen your ultimate goal?
A. I would love to do it all. If I had the opportunity to go back to
either Minnesota or New York and do some theater, sure, I’d take that
into consideration. I know a lot of people who are in my position do
theater, I know a lot of people who have been in 20 different movies
and still go back and do theater. And from a financial point of view,
it’s not smart for them because they’re losing money by doing theater,
but it’s a passion.
Q. What are some of the basics you look for in roles?
A. First thing you look at is the story, are you telling a good story.
Second thing is the people that you are involved with because you
always want to work with interesting people and people who challenge
you. And third is: Do I feel a connection with it? Do I feel some sort
of affinity towards the story, towards the character?
Q. Would you consider directing?
A. Absolutely. I think it’s a different responsibility, but the idea
of being the ultimate storyteller, the ultimate decision-maker, and —
I should say the ultimate voice and hopefully the ultimate
decision-maker — is a challenge I would love to take on. . . You’re
the one with the paintbrush now, you’re the guy with the paintbrush
and the canvas, everybody else can add their color or multitudes of
colors, but you’re the guy holding the easel.
Q. What was your most humbling experience as an actor?
A. Probably just being an actor.
Q. And perhaps you already answered what would be your proudest moment
as an actor … would it be “The White Room”?
A. My finest moment as an actor was donning that sunflower outfit. I
don’t know why I’m still doing this, it must be just all downhill from