photographer/ JOSHUA SHULTZ
story /HEATHER SEIDLER
stylist /Sophia Banks-Coloma
groomer / SYDNEY ZIBRAK@ WALL GROUP
Shot @ The Dream Factory LA Studio: www.theDFLA.com
That Peter Facinelli became a movie star is not surprising; he has classic good looks with those piercing blue eyes, that easygoing charm, and the natural talent of an uncompromising, NYU-educated actor.
Facinelli’s extensive catalog grows more impressive by the year. He was first brought to the attention of audiences in 1998 as Mike Dexter in CAN’T HARDLY WAIT, then popularized among the public consciousness with his role in the series FASTLANE and then – almost decade later- become a megastar from his role in the monolithic TWILIGHT saga, playing vampire patriarch Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Facinelli plays a vastly different doctor on the edgy Showtime series NURSE JACKIE, playing the idiosyncratic Dr. Fitch Cooper opposite Edie Falco. Facinelli’s longstanding career has been far from garden variety and NURSE JACKIE is far from the regular “medical drama” fare.
Tell a teenage girl you’re going to interview Peter Facinelli and the first thing they’re likely to say is,
“Ask him about TWILIGHT! Instead we caught up with him to discuss his fifth season on Nurse Jackie, his versatile production company, his writing, and, okay, maybe one TWILIGHT reference.
What can we expect in Season 5 of the ever-evolving NURSE JACKIE?
Nurse Jackie’s still struggling with her life, drugs, and her divorce. You root for her character and you want her to make the good moral choices and stay sober. She’s always riding that fine line. If I had to sum up this season, I think it’s new relationships. Nurse Jackie is involved in a new relationship and my character is also involved in a new relationship. The girl he falls for, who’s another doctor, is kind of like a female version of him in a way.
Interesting. I’m sure she doesn’t have a “boob grab” going on but…
[Laughs] No, but she has a lot of irresponsible tendencies and I think when you fall in love, sometimes there’s a mirror of the things about you that you like or dislike. There are things in this new character that Coop sees a lot of himself in.
So after four seasons playing the same character, have you developed a particular blueprint for playing Coop?
Well, it’s kinda like life: you think your character’s going in one direction, then life takes you in different directions. So that’s the interesting thing about doing a series: you never know where its gonna go because you get these scripts week to week and only the writers know what’s about to happen. I always thought that Coop is like a man-child, he’s kind of this kid trapped in a grown man’s body. It was fun for me to play that because he has a child-like innocence and he doesn’t have a social filter. He says whatever he thinks, even though he doesn’t mean anything by it. It gets him into trouble a lot. But this season, because of his new relationship, he starts to grow up a little bit. After four seasons of playing him a certain way, it’s kind of fun to have to have him be responsible and be responsible for somebody else.
Lately a lot of big actors have crossed over from film into television or vice versa. You’ve done a lot of both. For you, how do you bridge that gap when you go back from a film to a TV series?
There used to be a stigma of TV actors versus film actors, but that’s only because the TV show quality wasn’t as rich as the film world. But I feel like now there’s a lot of television that has really good writing–sometimes even better writing than some of the films. Whether I’m doing film or television, I’m still doing the same job. I’m playing a character whatever the medium. In television, you’re playing that character out a little bit longer and getting to explore a little bit longer. Where in film, you have two hours to tell the little slice of that character’s life. But sometimes you’ll get an opportunity like with the TWILIGHT films, where I got to explore that. I was doing NURSE JACKIE for five years and did TWILIGHT for five years. I was able to explore these characters over longer periods of time, which is rare in film unless you’re doing sequels. With film you generally have a shorter amount of time to get that character right.
After the five TWILIGHT movies, do you form an attachment to the character and go through a mourning period after it’s all said and done, since that character was such a huge part of your life?
I think with every character I play, I go through that. You build a character and it becomes a part of you, an extension of you, almost like a best friend in a way. I would say it’s like losing a best friend, when you finish playing that character. So there is a sadness, and it wasn’t just with TWILIGHT, it’s been with everything I’ve done. There’s a 30-day mourning period where you kind of feel like a sense of loss. But that’s part of what we do, you gotta give it over to the audience at that point and they get to enjoy that character.
How your production company is going? Do you have any scripts you’re developing right now?
We have three films in development, one of them is based on a documentary that I have the rights to. I can’t announce it right now, but we have three offers from studios to make it, so we’re closing off a deal with one of them and hopefully it’ll get done this year. I have another script that I wrote in the works as well. I’ve written four scripts, we’ve made two of them. I don’t want to have to write everything, it’s not a vanity company. I want to be able to have different writers, directors, etc making the movies. Some of the things I’ll write, some I’ll be in and some of them I won’t. I’m working on the third script I wrote, we’re making it right now, called RV PARK. It’s a thriller/horror film.
Having acted for so long, does that experience help cultivate and inform your writing process?
Yeah, it definitely helps. I’ve read so many scripts that I kind of know what works and what doesn’t. I think that’s why it takes me a shorter amount of time sometimes to write a script. I’ve read too many scripts that don’t work and I can pinpoint why. So when I write my own, I try to make sure to fill those holes.
What’s your favorite thing about life right now?
You know, right now life is really freeing. I like to travel a lot, I just went to Belize. I’m really enjoying some time off and just playing with the kids. It’s busy because I have my kids, meetings with my production company, and actor meetings. As I look at my schedule, I’m very overwhelmed, so I just take it one day at a time. But it feels really good right now to be in a place where there’s a lot of opportunities. Before, when I was locked into TWILIGHT, I was shooting it and NURSE JACKIE at the same time and it was a great experience. I mean was literally shooting both at the same time for 3 years in a row. I’d go from one set and get on an airplane and on another set while shooting and get on a plane in Vancouver and land in New York and go straight to set again. But with the TWILIGHT series behind me, I’m looking forward to what’s next and being very picky in what I want to do. There are a lot of opportunities a lot of doors in front of me, now I get to select which one I want to go through.
What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?
I don’t know, at this point I feel like everyone knows everything about me. I don’t know if there’s anything left. When I get interviews, I feel like there’s nothing left to say since everybody knows everything about me. [Laughs].
Fore more pics go here.
Check out more of Peter in the #7 LADYGUNN THE WHATEVER ISSUE.