The Roswell Hottie's E.T. Obsession Saves the Day

When it comes to aliens, Jason Behr, the star of the new WB serires, Roswell, is a believer. "For me to sit up here and tell you that we are the only intelligent life form that ever existed would be very arrogant..." Truth be told, as a child, the now 26-year-old actor was deeply affected by the movie, E.T. and loved any and all films that dealt with the subject of aliens. "...I think that the fantasy and the discovery of it all, and the idea behind the fact that there could be other intelligent life forms out there, is fascinating." he says.

And what can be more fascinating that playing the rold of the very thing that's intrigued him for, like forever? Jason is Roswell's Max Evans, a teenage relative of the aliens who, legend has it, landed in Roswell, New Mexico back in the '40's. While his human peers are coping with typical identity and self-esteem crises, Max, his sister and their friend are literally on a quest to find out who they are. Can Jason identify? Ina sense, he did the same when he left his Minneapolis, MN digs for Los Angeles, CA.

ON HIS WAY

Jason had performed in school plays throughout his childhood, but it was in high school that he became intent on making a career out of acting. In fact, as soon as he graduated, Jason packed his bags and moved to L.A. to see what he could accomplish.

In a town where publicity shots are used as coaster, and audition lines are as long as those that the DMV, Jason was able to score jobs immediately. Despite his instant success, however, there were some bumps in the road. Jason landed his first permanent TV role as Tyler Baker in the cable series, Sherman Oaks, but the show was soon cancelled. when the dark-haired charmer landed his next TV role in ABC's Push, it too met the same fate. Never-the-less, Jason sttod firm and landed a bit part in the Reese Witherspoon film, Pleasantville, and the independent film, Rites of Passage, and did guest appearances on Jag, Pacific Blue, Profiler, 7th Heaven, Cracker, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the show that put him in the ring with some of today's most talented young stars, Dawson's Creek. Jason played bad boy Chris Wolfe and most certainly got himself noticed.

Jason's persistence and E.T. connection gave him an extreme advantage when he met Roswell's producers, and before he knew it, the roll of Max became his. Which just goes to show, you just never know when one of your most favorite interests or hobbies will come in handy.


 

Jason Behr (page 30) 

Ahh, Max Evans--local alien next door and heartthrob extraordinare. And now that this cutie has found permanent placement in the WB show Roswell, he can finally hang his acting hat up momentarily on the network of all networks for hot teen drama. After all, Behr had been jumping around from show to show making his flight from acting rookie to teen sensation for too long. In fact, we've seen him on a ton of programs since he made the trek out to Los Angeles from his native city of Minnesota. If you are a real Behr-file, you might remember him from such episodic work in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, JAG as well as the leading role of Dempsey Easton in the ABC series Push. The Dawson's role featured him as a know-it-all Chris Wolfe who pursued Jen only to leave her in less than 3 episodes. But television is not all this hottie is about. He also starred in the indie feature Rites of Passage which recently made its debut at the 1999 Palm Springs Film Festival. How did he prepare for his new rold on Roswell, you ask? It was simple. "I watched E.T. about 12 times," he says. And although he calls Max "a good guy," we're not so sure we would want to date an alien--but then again, maybe we would if it was Jason Behr.

Say What? Overheard : Alien Nation (same magazine page 74)

Roswell was developed by the same individuals who brought My So-Called Life and The X-Files to the small screen, making it just about the best collaboration that we can think of to explore the subject of teen alienation.

"My paranormal character reminds me of my days in high school." --Jason Behr

The WB has ordered 22 episodes of the popular show--nearly double that of any other new program--making it their ace in the hold for new teen drama in 2000.

"When it came time to find a humanoid of the female variety, it turned out to be an easy casting call." --Shiri Appleby

Sexy Loveline hostess Diane Farr will join the alien high school crew in a recurring role as the sheriff's new love interest.

"Sometimes when you go through that little awkward stage where yo're kind of growing and changing you tend to get a little withdrawn. I think that's when you do a lot of soul searching." --Jason Behr

Jason Behr (Max) joined forces with B*Witched at the recent WB Radio Music Awards.

Shiri Appleby (Liz) first got her start by doing commercials for M&M's, Taco Bell and Cheerios.

"I believe that working on Roswell leaves me no other choice but to believe that there is a possibility of other beings in the universe." --Shiri Appleby

Both Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby spent some time doing episodic work--she in Zena Warrior Princess and he in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As a child, Jason claimed that he loved sci-fi movies but Battlestar Galactica "scared the beejeebies" out of him.

 


 

 

Roswell Close Encounters (for authorized eyes only)

The Wb has given us one more reason to look forward to Wednesday nights. Roswell airs at 9 p.m. following Dawson's Creek and it's packed with hot hunks, daring chicks and gripping story lines. If you've been living under a rock for the last couple months, here's the lowdown on the hottest new show that is truly out of this world.

The Story

In the infamous Roswell, New Mexico, Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) serves up grup to tourists in her dad's restaurant, Crashdown Cafe. When an argument between customers turns violent, Liz gets caught in the crossfire. It doesn't look good for Liz until classmate Max Evans (Jason Behr) saves her life with a magical touch and soulful gaze.

Turns out Max is "not of this earth" and in saving Liz, he has put himself, sister Isabel (Katherine Heigl) and bud, Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr) in serious danger. Max reveals that the alien trio was aboard the UFO that crashed in Roswell over fifty years ago. After they emerged from incubation pods, they were adopted by locals and lead normal lives.

But, Max's herioics have changed all that. Now Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler) is suspicious and Max has lost Isabel and Michael's trust by spilling their secret. The rest of the cast is in shambles as well: Liz's best friend, Maria De Luca (Majandra Delfino) is freaked out by the news and the girls don't think their childhood friend, Alex Whitman (Colin Hanks) can handle it. Liz's ex-boyfriend, and son of the sheriff, Kyle Valenti (Nick Wechsler) has joined his father in his quest to bring down the Evans family, after suspecting Liz has feelings for Max.

Which leads us to one of the best reasons to tune in -- the blossoming romance between Liz and Max as a modern day Romeo and Juliet. These star-crossed lovers have one colossal problem -- they are different species.

 Fun on the Set

Brendan, 21, reveals that he and Jason, 25, are always goofing off in between takes. "[the conversation] usually ends up being kind of perverted. Not in a really gross sense. But I mean.. our sense of humor is so immature, we find absolutely anything funny.."

The stars make fun of each other, but it's all in good spirits. Cast members imitate one another and play up each other's mistakes -- all in the name of friendly competition. Brendan gets teased a lot when his native Candian accent slips out.

Do You Believe?

No wonder Roswell seems so real -- the actors really prepared for their roles. Jason says he saw E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial about 12 times. Seriously, he also read a lot of books and watched documentaries about Roswell.

The cast believes that aliens may exist. "I think working on the show you really have no other choice but, you know, to kind of believe that there is a possibility." Shiri, 20, asays laughing.

Real Life

 So, have any of the stars of Roswell ever felt alienated in real life? Jason confesses that he was a "shrimp" growing up: "I was probably half the size of my friends and half the size of most of my girlfriends. I felt just awkward and misunderstood and lost as a lot of people do.

Jason reveals that he did a lot of soul-searching in those days, much like his character, Max. Jason also had to endure people mistaking him for a girl on the phone. Of course, that would never happen to him now.

Speaking of real life -- Colin Hanks is the son of superstar Tom Hanks of course. You saw the resemblace, right? But don't expect Colin to talk up this famous relationship. He wants to be appreciated as an actor in his own right; no special favors for this guy.

Sensitive Alien

Jason is as dreamy in real life as he is in Roswell. Check out this babe's thoughts on love: "When I'm in love, I don't like to talk about it too much. Words can't fully express the emotion." Jason also reveals that he loves to paint: "I'm an aspiring Picasso." Looks, talent, sensitivity, what more could a girl ask for?

We can't get enought of Roswell and we know you can't either. Luckily, you can get a weekly dose every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on the WB.

 

Back Track

they look familiar.. here's where you've seen the stars before they beamed up to Roswell.

Shiri Appleby

Guest appearances on: 7th Heaven, Beverly Hills 90210, thirtysomething, ER, Xena: Warrior Princess and Doogie Howser, M.D. Starred in the cable TV movies: Perfect Family, Family Prayers and Sunday Dinner. on the big screen: The Thirteenth floor and I Love You To Death

Jason Behr

Guest appearances on: Dawson's Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, th Heaven, Profiler, JAG and Push. On the big screen: Pleasantville and Rites of Passage

Katherine Heigl

On the big screen: That Night, My Father the Hero, Child's Play IV: The Bride of Chucky; Under Siege 2; Prince Valient, King of the Hill and Wish Upon a Star Starred in the TV movie: The Tempest

Majandra Deflino

On the big screen: Zeus & Roxanne, I know What You Screamed Last Summer, The Secret Lives of Girls, and the Learning Curve Starred in the TV series, The Tony Danza Show

Brendan Fehr

Guest appearances on TV series: Breaker High and Millennium Starred in the TV movies: Our Guys, Perfect Little Angels and Every Mother's Worst Fear On the big screen: Disturbing Behavior, Flight 180 and Christina's House

Colin Hanks

On the big screen: That Thing You Do! and I'll be You.

Nick Wechsler

Role in the TV movie: Full Circle Guest appearances on Team Knightrider, Silk Stalkings, and Lazarus Man On the big screen: The Perfect Game


 

 

Loving the Aliens "It's a metaphor for alienation"

Roswell we confidently predict, will be featuring prominently in certain Reader Awards categories next year. Andy Mangels talks to the crew behind the stylish new aliens at-high-school serires.

Jonathan Frakes bounds onto stage and whips the crowd into a frenzy. The countdown begins and a large UFO slides down a wire crashing to the ground and dumping a cargo of aliens onto the Earth. At the moment they burst into flames a cheer rises to the celebratory and jubilant crowd.

Everyone's joyful except for three teenagers who stand behind a nearby fence, watching the burning aliens and wondering if this is their future fate.

The three teens are Max Evans, (Jason Behr of Dawson's Creek), his sister Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl of Bride of Chucky) and their friend Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr of Disturbing Behavior) and the scene is the denouement to the pilot episode of Roswell, a fascinating and gripping new television serires that has drama fans and science fiction fans alike cheering. The trio live in Roswell, New Mexico, site of the infamous UFO crash of 1947, but the secret that they share with only a select few friends is that they are aliens themselves! Can they live as humans, or will their secret be exposed by a snooping sheriff and assorted government agents?

The genesis of Roswell can be traced to Roswell High, a teen novel line by author Melinda Metz. The right to that series were purchased by a group of producers (including the aforementioned Jonathan Frakes). When the group brought the project to Twentieth Century Fox, the studio presented the idea to Jason Katims (the man behind the critically-acclaimed series My So-Called Life and Fox's Relativity). Katim notes that he read the first Roswell High novel, "and I thought that in it was this wonderful idea that merged these two genres of high school ensemble drama with a very compelling science fiction conceit. I decided I wanted to jump in and become involved." Katims became an executive producer and writer, adopting a position called "show runner". This means that in addition to writing many episodes -- and managing the other writers -- he is involved with every other aspect of the series, from pre-production to post-production.

Executive producer/director David Nutter came onto the project at Fox's request. "When Fox decided they were going to make this thing for real, they had contacted me and were interested in me directing it, " says Nutter. "I'd read the paperback novel and upon reading that and meeting with Jason, I thought that we definitely had a real meeting of minds in terms of how to approach the story, and how to make it so that it's not like you would imagine it to be told. What we were able to do with it is give it the reality that it needed and give it the weight that it needed, and also make it entertaining and fun and humorous and exciting."

After multiple seasons working on The X-Files, Nutter seemed like a good choice for a science fiction series. But he doesn't see the similarity between the shows in quite the same manner, "I never really looked at The X-Files as a science fiction show," Nutter notes. "I looked at it as a wonderfully complicated and involving dramatic work, with many aspects of science fiction thrown into it. But the way the show has always been treated and has always been looked at is in a very serious way. What I thought was important and would be fun with Roswell, was to do something in that similar vein, but also dealing with young people. I had directed a movie last year, Disturbing Behavior, that ended up getting chopped up, but I wanted to do a lot of the things (there) that we're doing on Roswell. I always felt that people who really love science fiction are people who love to really dream and wear their heart on their sleeves, and they're ver interested in stories that are told well, and in an emotional way. I thought this would be a show that would really capitalise on that."


 

 

 

For me it's all about telling a good story. Something that whether or not you agree or disagree with that it's trying to say, it pro-vokes thought and some type of emotion. --Jason Behr

 

pg. 40 Behr Essentials

Jason Behr is being kept very busy. Filming the eighteenth episode of his new series, Roswell High, under the direction of executive producer Jonathan Frakes, he appears in virtually every scene, which means that he should value every free moment he gets. Instead, he's sitting cross-legged on an easy chair in a side room off the soundstage at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, chatting easily about his new role.

The twenty-six year old verteran of over 75 commercials, numerous stage performances, and TV guest appearance, including a major stint in teen angst drama Dawson's Creek, is clearly having a great time. He stars as Max Evans, outwardly a normal teenage boy, who hids a mysterious secret -- along with his sister Isabel and friend Mike, Max is a survivor of the alien spacecraft which crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. When he saves the life of human teenage Liz Parker, Max chooses to share his secret with her, just as other people are starting to become suspicious and their love affair unfolds alongside the drama of the pursuit of the aliens.

You've done an extensive number of guest roles in very popular shows on television. How did you feel when you found out that you'd got a lead in a new pilot?

I found out about Roswell when I was in North Carolina shooting Dawson's Creek. The script came my way via the normal channels. When I first read it, I thought, 'Here's a great idea'. There's a lot of teenage shows out there right now, but this one definitely separates itself from others because of this science fiction spin to it. What I immediately responded to was the characters and the story, but initially I thought in the wrong hands it could be done either very well or very badly. After I found out about [executive producer] David Nutter being involved, and [producer] Jason Katims being involved and Jonathan Frakes being involved, I knew that we were in very good hands, so there was no decision to be made. I felt I really wanted to be a part of it.

How do you feel now that it looks as it it's going to be a resounding success?

It's been pretty amazing. The response has been wonderful. People have really responded well to the show, and that's been very rewarding for everybody on the set. You work really hard, put a lot of long hours into it and you just really want to tell a good story, and the response has been very nice. It's a great feeling. It's a bit surreal at times.

Are you getting much chance to pursue your other interests outside acting, such as sports?

I'm a big basketball fan. There are actually two nets here on the lot, and every now and then you can get a good pic-up game in the gym, but they don't relly wnat you to do too much physical activity, especially when you're at work here. 'Stay in your amke-up. Stay in your trailer. Don't sweat anything off, and above all other things, don't hurt yourself.' When I get time, I play basketball. I spend a good amount of time with my family.

I don't have that much free time. We're either on stage here or on location, so the free time I do have I like spending with my family and my friends... and catching up on sleep lost.

You've had a chance to do independent movies, working with people like Dean Stockwell. Did you enjoy the experience?

I had a great time on Rites of Passage. We shot that film in 21 days. It was real tight. A lot of emotional, long, character-driven scenes, just a lot of dialogue. A lot of night scenes, so for about three weeks I spent a good part of my life in the dark, which took a little bit of time getting used to, but once I acclimated to that schedule, it was fine. I didn't mind living like a vampire. The movie itself is a testament to what you can do if you really are passionate about something. Everyone worked really hard on that in a short amount of time to really make a good film.

 Working with Dean was great. He's the consummate professional. Always knew his lines, hit his mark, walking backwards blindgolded. He was just incredibly well oiled -- he knew exactly what he was doing. He's a damn good actor too, so I had a great time working with him. Victor Salva directed and wrote it. I found out earlier today, it's doing the festival circuit now, and it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Santa Monica film festival, so that was kind of cool. It's nice -- the icing on the cake.

Would you want to work on something outside the studio grind during the hiatus?

In a perfect world, I'd be on the beach of Tahiti, doing some kind of movie, but I don't thing that is going to happen. For me, it's not about where I'm shooting. First of all it's about the story. For me it's all about telling a good story, an interesting story. Something that whether or not you agree or disagree with what it's trying to say, it provokes thought that some type of emotion. (Hopefully it's positive. You can't presume on the story.) Secondly, it's the people I'm working with. I want to work with people that I respect, that I find interesting or intriguing, because you're going to be spending a vast amount of time with these people and you want to make the most of it.

Location doesn't mean that much to me. It would be great if I could spend every day in the sun sitting on the sand on a beach in Tahiti, but if it's in the middle of the night in a studio in Los Angeles downtown somewhere, it doesn't matter to me. The most important thing is to find a really good story and tell it the best way that I can.

You've done a lot of diverse work. Is there anything that specifically stands out that you're proudest of?

Generally, I've been really lucky with the people that I've worked with. I don't have any really big horror stories. I think that Roswell is by far the best thing that I've been involved with. It's just been one wild ride! But it's been great for me, just wonderfula all around. I'm working with a great group of actors, a great crew, and the producers. We have such a great opportunity to tell a really interesting story, and given that we're on The WB here, they allow Katims a certain freedom to do what he feels is right. The fact that they gave us 22 episodes meant we were able to spin a web in a way that we didn't have to worry about thinking 'we can only do six, we've got to give all this information right now'. It's not that we're telling a very slow story, it's just it's developing at a pace, not too quick and not too slow. I think that Roswell is so far probably the best thing I've done.

From what we've seen up to now, there's a very definite shape to the season. Have you had any input into the storylining, apart from moulding the characters? Or was it set when you came in?

Oh no. One of the great things about Jason Katims is that he's very very open to your input. I think that he understands that an actor, especially in a series, puts in a lot of time in the character, and eventually knows more about the character than anybody else including him, because they've only got one character to worry about. He's got eight characters to facilitate, and then on top of that, he has to worry about the storyline -- the A story, the B story -- and then the overall arc of the season and production. He's got a lot of things to worry about. So he's very open to people suggesting thigns to him. If it works, great. If it doesn't I'm sure he has a good reason for it. Here it's been a very collaborative effort on everyone's part.

Were there surprises for you when you picked up the scripts -- did you think, 'I didn't see that coming'?

Some things. I can't give away too much information, but some things that will come about here towards the end of the season. . . We're allowed another creative freedom, in that we're not telling a story just about human nature. We're not confined to those rules. We've got alien nature here. We can do whatever we want -- pretty much. How do we know something can't happen? There were certain things that I used to think, 'God that would be so cool, but will the network allow this, will the studio allow this, is that acceptable to the masses out there?' And some of the things I didn't think were going to happen are, but it's told in such a way that you understand. It's not this, 'we thought it was this, but it's completely different in alien nature'. There are things that will surprise you because they surprised me.

I put in a lot of work trying to figure out the possibilities - what can we do here? Do we know how long we live? Could we wither away and die tomorrow? How do we know at some point that we don't completely change into something else? A cocoon-like state? Who knows? There are so many things out there, so many question marks and no answers, but I think the ending of the season will be enlightening for a lot of people. . .

Do you have any thoughts about the possibility of extra-terrestrial lif? Are we alone?

Who knows? I guess the answe is that we don't have an answer. It's still aquestion. It's a big sky out there. If you look up at night, you realise how insignificat we all are in the grand scheme of things. We have no idea what's out there, and we won't know until we have absolute tangible proof. If everybody adhered to the popular rational thought of that time, then we'd be having this conversation with two tin cups and a very long string. You have to believe in something without really having any tangible evidence. You have to have faith without proof. You have to believe in something and I think we have to reamin open minded in our lives or else we aren't going to move forward.

Did you look into any of the background material about what really happened in Roswell in 1947?

I watched this great video, hosted by Jonathan Frakes, called Alien Autopsy [the supposed autopsy of the alien creature found at Roswell]. I was so captivated I had to watch it five, six, ten times! He didn't know I'd watched it; I told him and he just gave a chuckle. It was part of my research, yeah.

I wanted to get a general sense of what was the overall thought about Roswell, the overall conspiracy of this 1947 crash and what it was like for the people growing up in that town to have that as part of their everyday life. Are they destined by it? Are they making money out of it? Are they completely sick of it -- or are they interested? Are they really believers? Just the idea of what it would be like being a teenager growing up in that town, so I did a lot of research on all the theories, all those books, the Alien Autopsy, to make me more informed.

Did you look at the original book series?

Yes, I read those as well, and we have definitely taken a different direction since that. the overall concept, the general idea is still there, but we've deviated form the books.

What about your own future? Do you see yourself staying this side of the camera? Would you like to direct or write?

Absolutely, I write now, and take my camcorder out whenever I can. I ask questions all the time of our director of photography, our camera operator. I try to talk to the directors as much as possible to try to get an idea where they're coming from. I know every actor says they want to direct. . . well, some don't, I guess, but there are a lot out there. At some point yes, it would be wonderful to have that opportunity.

 

 


 

 

The question has to be asked: Why on earth is Roswell High in trouble with its ratings at all? Everybody should be watching it.

 

Highs & Lows / Dreamwatch June 2000 pg. 22

Roswell High bears many similarities to another highly popular teen fantasy series, as Keith Topping discovers when investigating it's possible demise..

We all know the scenario so well. It's a universal constant in science fiction, isn't it?

You find a series that you really like. You start to get interested in the characters, investing time and emotional attachment to them and their story. You look forward to forthcoming developments and then, just when you think that the future is in good hands and that nothing can go wrong, a bit of horrid reality shattered your little bubble universe and the rumours start that you series days are numbered. Typical. Most readers will, I'm sure, be able to quote dozens of examples of bygone favourites that have ended on the whim of a TV executive somewhere who, frankly didn't understand the whole concept of what the series was all about. And even if there was only you and four of your mates watching it well, what the hell, you liked it.

Television, being the business of compromise that it is, we sometimes have to take the rough with the smooth. True we only got five years of Quantam Leap when another two or three would have been nice. True, Dark Skies had far more potential than it was ever allowed to display. True (and just to prove that the principle is neither new nor wholly confined to the US networks), there is no way that Star Cops deserved to last only nine episodes. But sometimes, such threatened cancellations can really hurt. The latest victim of the rumours circuit is Roswell High. If you believe everything you hear, then all we may ever get to see of this strangest of strange love stories between Liz Parker and Max Evans is twenty two episodes. Just one season of looking at a world of hormone charged teen angst set amid the staggering New Mexico landscape. A mere six months worth of stories of alien children and suspicious adults. Roswell ('High' suffix added only for overseas sales) is one of the best new series (SF or otherwise) to have emerged from the US in the last five years. It's right up there with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. Yes, it really is that good.

For those of you who have never watched it on Sky, you're missing out on a genuinely impressive piece of imaginative, clever cross-genre television. A teen soap that wants to be science fiction, or an SF show with pretensions to be Dawson's Creek? In reality Roswell High is both. And it's neither. In actualy fact, it's so much better than any oneline description of it that, like Buffy, you have to wonder how it was that the series ever got off the ground in the first place. But once it did, it matured rapidly, showing a fine ability to be wryly amusing whilst keeping the dramatic storylines of creator Jason Katims and executive producer Jonathan Frakes never far from the surface.

So, the question has to be asked: Why on Earth is Roswell High in trouble with its ratings at all? Everybody should be watching it. The simple truth is that Roswell is possibly a victim of its own chameleonic abilities. Many viewers simply don't know what to make of it. The series to which it is most akin, Buffy, also had these problems early on when its critical standing was far higher than its audience appreciation. Roswell High's very clear agenda, from episode one really, was to stand aloof from the vast lore of the town that gave the series its name and to send up the whole idea of little green men and dodgy autopsy footage (the episode The Convention which poked merciless fun at SF and UFO conventions and all of the stereotypes that they throw up, is particularly noteworthy here).

So, if Roswell doesn't want to be a series that takes the staple elements of your average SF concept (and it seemingly doesn't) then what, exactly, does it have that makes it so watchable? So special? The answer to that is simple. It's got a terrific cast. Again, Buffy is the most obvious template here; an ensemble piece centered around, but not exclusive to, a pair of central characters with comic and aesthetically interesting foils that can be paired off to great effect. (Anybody else see an obvious link between Maria's role in Roswell High and Willow's in Buffy? Or compare the pairing of Isabel and Alex with Cordelia and Xander?) Ultimately, like Buffy, Roswell features a superb bunch of young actors: Shiri Appleby (Liz Parker), Jason Behr (Max Evans), Brendan Fehr (Michael Guerin), Katherine Heigl (Isabel Evans), Majandra Delfino (Maria DeLuca), Colin Hanks (Alex Whitman) and Nick Wechsler (Kyle Valenti), all of whom are attractive and charismatic and can do comedy and dramy in equal measure.

Beside them are some equally impressive representatives of the older generation; actors like William Sadler, Julie Benz and Mary Ellen Trainor who add the same anchoring qualities to proceedings here that Anthony Stewart Head and Kristine Sutherland bring to Buffy. But where Roswell goes even further than Sunnydale's finest is that it can afford to drop its adult characters at will and spend entire episodes concentrating purely on its teenage stars and the sometimes near-the-knuckle nature of their trials and tribulations. (Buffy, of example, was well into its second year before it got anywhere near doing a storyline on child-abuse with Ted. Conversely, Roswell was doing so, openly and with an sense of outrage, by episode fifteen -- the staggeringly adult Independence Day).

The back story of Roswell High is relatively straightforward. Liz Parker is a highly intelligent sixteen year old high school girl from UFO mecca Roswell, New Mexico, working in her spare time as a waitress at her parents diner, the Crashdown, with her feisty friend Maria DeLuca. One evening, whilst on shift, she is shot during a argument by two meathead customers. As Liz lies, dying, on the diner floor her life is saved by a mysterious "laying on of hands" by the darkly brooding local hunk, Max Evans. Liz keeps Max's gift a secret but, when confronting him with it later, he is forced to reveal that he, his glamourous sister Isabel, and their wild-outsider friend Michael Guerin are not from 'around here'. They are from... 'up there'.

After an effective pilot that sets up the characters nicely and displays a keen sense of dry humour, subsequent episodes detail the alien trio's search for clues as to their ancestry, whilst simultaneously attempting to hide their secret from sinister local sheriff Valenti, whose son is Liz's ex-boyfriend and who has his own agenda for wanting to discover aliens in Roswell, and the attentions of the alluring but mysterious school counsellor Kate Topolsky. Writers like Thania St John (a Buffy veteran) and Cheryl Cain tap effortlessly into the teenage psyche and episodes like Monsters (focusing on the uneasy alliance between Maria and Isabel), 285 South ( a mini-road movie) and River Dog (where Topolsky's elaborate trap for the aliens comes close to success) demonstrate an accurate understanding of what, exactly, makes these characters so interesting.

The outrageous sexual undercurrents of an episode like Heat Wave shouldn't be underestimated either, whilst St John's epic The Balance casts the group into Michael's psyche in an effort ot save him, literally, from himself. In Roswell High there are frequent revelations and dramatic twists, but there are also moments of quiet reflection and touching resonance (Sexual Healing) that takes the viewer a long way from where they probably imagined they were going to in a seriers about alien teenagers. A character like Alex, for instance, appears at first glance to be nothing more than a literal Zeppo. A comic wall for the others to bounce insults and sarcasm off. But Roswell's view of outsiders is essentially proactive. Again, like Buffy, here all of the characters have something to stand outside of and be embittered by. And for that reason, if nothing else, Roswell scores again over many of its contemporaries.

The world of Roswell High School is a world in which growing up and becoming normal may be a horrible reality for some, but it is also an impossible dram for others. Roswell began well in the US, a Wednesday night feature on the WB network fitting perfectly into the mid-evening slot that Buffy had made its own on Tuesday. But the ratings have been sluggish as conservative viewers opt for less challenging (and, as a consequence, less demanding television).

It's difficult not to criticise heavily those who choose to watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, ahead of Roswell (although to be fair, earlier in the season, Roswell's competition included Star Trek: Voyager and NBC's acclaimed West Wing). The WB have got nervous and, in an effort to attract new viewers have taken the desperate step of moving Roswell to Monday nights. Initial response seems positive but it remains to be seen if, in the long term, Roswell has any sort of future. If there's any justice in the world (which, in television terms, there usually isn't) it will.

 


 

 

 

Guys Confess Their Personal Secrets p. 108

J-14 July 2000

Down To Earth but Not of This Earth

After a lengthy day on the set of the WB drama Roswell, how does the star of the show Jason Behr unwind for the evening? Is he going to hit some clubs and party the night away? Is he going cruising with the guys? None of the above. Jason's idea of a good time is simple. He is content just vegging out, watching movies and eating pizza with some friends. "Movies, for me, usually mean a bunch of my buddies and a stack of pizza boxes," he says, "We try to create much of a theater atmosphere as possible so we turn the house lights out. Sometimes we even spill coke and spread out jujubees for authenticity. Jason is a real movie buff who treasures his growing supply of Blockbuster coupons. Come on girls -- admit it. Staying home and cuddling with Jason doesn't seem at all like an alien encouter. In fact, it sounds out of this world.


 

 

Hot July/Aug 2000 pg. 70

Birthdate: December 30 (Capricorn)

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV Guy: In addition to his role on Roswell, he's also had guest starring roles on 7th Heaven, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dawson's Creek.

Short Story: I remember the moment I walked into high school. I was probably a good two feet smaller than every other guy in there.

Hot Dog: He has a brown spotted dalmation named Joplin.

Hot Dogger: Jason is a certified ski instructor.

Hot Band: If I could be in any band, I think it would have to be The Beatles. That would have been a lot of fun.


 

 

On "Roswell" he plays the quiet, mysterious Max Evans, but in person Jason Behr is far from reserved. Here he opens up about hisn ew celebrity status, describes his fantasy woman and clues us in on what he'll be doing down the Hollywood pike.

Jason Behr knows he's in a sick and unhealthy relationship, but he doesn't care. He's in love. "The first time I got some, I had this epiphany, like, 'Where have you been all my life?' It's like I can't get enough," says the 26-year-old star of the WB's teen alien drama "Roswell." No, he's not talking about Michelle Williams, whom he romanced on "Dawson's Creek," or Sarah Michelle Gellar, with whom he sparred on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," or even Shiri Appleby, his lip-locking partner on "Roswell." No, Jason's talking about donuts. "Every Sunday for months, my buddies and I would drive for over an hour to the nearest Krispy Kreme," he says. "Once there we would watch the donuts from conception to birth on this huge apparatus, the donut-birthing machine. Then as soon as we bit into them, the trumpets would blare, the angels would sing and the sun would shine."

Though there weren't any trumpets, Behr received a pretty friendly welcome when he arrived in Hollywood from Minneapolis eight years ago, fresh out of high school. Within days of stepping off the plane, he had an agent and a manager and began hitting the audition trail. After a series of guest spots on TV shows, he landed "Roswell," which has not only won him the hearts of young things everywhere, it's great potential for a big-screen career. Will he soon find himself starring in films, like his networkmates from "Dawson's Creek"? It's too soon to say. But one thing's for sure -- this Behr bears watching.

Dennis Hensley: I can't get over your donut obsession. How many do you put away in one sitting?

A box of 12 easily, in the blink of an eye. I've gotta watch it. I can go overboard.

Have you been a donut addict since childhood?

No. I discovered them when I was shooting 'Dawson's Creek' in North Carolina. Every weekend I'd pig out on donuts and when I'd come back to L.A. I'd have withdrawals.

Where did you grow up?

All over, from Minneapolis to Arizona to California. My parents liked to move around a lot. After they split up, we settled down in Richfield, near Minneapolis, where I went to high school.

Did you always feel like the new kid?

Yeah. You want to make friends yet you know you're probably going to have to leave anyway. We never got a chance to grow our roots down so we grew them sideways. That's why my family's pretty close. I have three brothers: one older and two younger, and an 11 year-old sister from my dad's second marriage, who just came out here to visit.

Your sister must think it's so cool that you're on this hot teen show.

[laughs] Well, she's like 11 going on 35. She's always been honest with me about my work. When I was starting out, I was playing all these jerks. After I was on "Dawson's" she called me up and asked, "When are you ever not going to play a creep?" I thought that was hilarious.

What's your favorite memory of being on "Dawson's Creek?"

Hanging out off set with the cast. We had a blast. Here I was this new kid and they had already been on the show for a year and instead of being standofish, they were incredibly nice.

Did you being on "Dawson's Creek" contribute to you getting the "Roswell" job because they're both on the WB?

It had nothing to do with it. "Roswell" was originally going to be on Fox.

What made you want to be on "Roswell," besides the fact that it was a major gig?

When I first read the script, I immediately understood what they were going for -- the mystery, the suspense, the relationships, the unrequited love story. I related to Max's search for the truth about himself, about life, about his place in this world, which I think everybody goes through.

This season you had some heavy make-out scenes with your costar, Shiri Appleby. What are those like to shoot?

It's always an odd thing, but Shiri and I have gotten to know each other so well over the last nine months that there's nothing uncomfortable about it.

Are we going to get more romance in upcoming episodes?

More everything. The stakes are raised. Everything's bigger, faster, stronger and more intense, emotionally and physically. Everything that they knew to be true in their lives comes crumbling down around them, piece by piece.

Has the success of the show led to any movie offers?

I've been reading a lot of scripts, trying to figure out the right one. I'll only choose a movie if I like the story and the actors and directors involved. If the only reason you're picking a movie is because you think it's going to make you a movie star and make a lot of money, then you're missing something. You have to be willing to take a risk and stand naked in front of everybody. And if I make a mistake, then, big deal. I'll learn from it and movie on. It's not about how fast you can attain something, it's about the trip to get there.

Do you feel pressure to capitalize on the heat that you have now?

No. I don't want to work just for the sake of working.

What actors do you look up to?

Paul Newman. He's the definition of class. His career has spanned generations, he's always challenged himself and delivered great performances. He's been married to the same woman for years, and he makes a hell of a Caesar salad dressing.

Speaking of women, are you dating someone now?

No. I'm so focused on "Roswell," it's kind of unfair to anybody to get involved. I say that now, but I could go off tomorrow and meet the right person. You just know when you know.

What kind of qualities do you look for in a girlfriend?

Someone who has convictions, yet is open-minded enough to appreciate others for theirs.

If you could be a girl for a day, what would you want to experience?

[Laughs] I can't answer that. My mother would kill me.


 

Roswell superstars their revealing astrocasts

What's in the stars for these heavenly creatures? - Hey girlies! Do you believe in astrology? How 'bout aliens? We had personal astro-readings done on Roswell alien babes Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fehr. Katherine was totally into it (we had fun too, girl!) but Brendan was a non-believer and Jason would have none of it. On page 48, see their out-of-this-world photos and find out their trippy career and love predictions.

cosmically-cool capricorn

Jason Behr has a serious shy-guy quality. He's soft-spoken, watchful, and has a smart, reflective way of responding to questions. He also thinks astrology can foresee his life's path about as accurately as stepping on a crack will break your mama's back. But that didn't stop us from charting what the stars have to say about this guarded, non-believer.

Susan: "Jason is a Capricorn, so he's cautious by nature. He's reserved, careful and doesn't do things on impulse."

Jason: "I'm into fast cars. I like to go fast. I drove a stock car once up at California Speedway. There's something about the fact that you're that close to death that I like. The speed and going so fast... Some people don't like it, I do."

Teen: "What's the ultimate car?"

Jason: "Porsche, Germans make nice cars."

Susan: " Jason is very loyal, nurturing and big-hearted."

Jason: "My dog, an Akita, is like my kid. His name is Ronin and he's a big dog. I take him with me wherever I can. His name comes from a dark comic book I used to read when I was a kid. I had picked him out from a litter, but I had the name Ronin in my head for a long time, so he was named Ronin before he was born.

Susan: "His planets are in the money house and he ws born with Pluto on the mid-heaven, which is unvelievably amazing for career success. He's all about television or the Internet."

Jason: "I'm into movies. Sometimes people forget about old movies, and so our generation, I don't think, is that aware of them. Although it was a different style of acting back then, some of it might be perceived as over the top. But I think the classic stories and the classic movies are very relatable today. I love the Godfather. Power, family, loyalty. Those kinds of themes are important to me.

Teen: "Do you ever feel limited by the demands of a television show?"

Jason: "We're allowed some freedoms because we're dealing with alien nature and not human nature. But we have to keep something that the audience can relate to in order to keep them emotionally invested. There is a lot of real human emotion in these characters."

Teen: "Do you think Roswell equates the problems of being an alien with the problems of being a teen?"

Jason: "Those themes, alienation and feeling on the outside or misunderstood, thinking nobody really gets where you're coming from, are the same. You're constantly searching for yourself and your place in this world. Those things apply to just about everybody. But I think they mostly apply to adolescents. It's not about finding a home so much as finding yourself."

Susan: "Jason has to be careful when he's doing business. There's a probability of miscommunication becuase his world view is different. He knows that everyone doesn't think the same way, but he doesn't know that everyone involved in his work isn't always articulating what they have in mind."

Jason: "Roswell is a lot of hard work, but there are times when I feel like the writing, the directing... it all just comes together. My favorite episode was the "White Room." The room itself was very small: no windows, one door. In this tiny room, there was crew, cameras, actors and props, and then I had to act as if I was in there completely alone. Nobody else. It was a long day, a very long process and very claustrophobic. I'm not claustrophobic, but it was a small, confined space."

Teen: "When they're directing you and you're tired, in this box, hot and just over it all, are there any actor's tricks you use to get the job done?"

Jason: "Once they shut the door to that room, there was no air. I don't think anybody who was there in that room was bummed that there was an absence of bean dip on the set that day! But, OK, for the "White Room" they had to pick me up and throw me in the room. Every time we did it, I'm telling the guy "Don't gently shut the clasp. I want you to slam it shut--shove my hand in the thing!" Every time he did he pinched my skin. I was bleeding from my wrists, but it worked for the scene."

Teen: "That's intense. Tell us what superpower you would have if you really were an alien."

Jason: "I'd fly. I'm sure it's a very popular answer, but there's a reason for it. It would be complete freedom.

 


 

From TV guide Online

Where we left off: After the kids united to rescue Max (Jason Behr) from evil FBI alien hunters, Max, Michael (Brendan Fehr) and Isabel (Katherine Heigl) received new romantic marching orders from a celestial apparition. To save the alien race, Michael and Isabel must ditch Maria (Majandra Delfino) and Alex (Colin Hanks) for each other, and Max must throw over the devoted Liz (Shiri Appleby) for shifty fellow alien Tess (Emilie de Ravin).

The big news: Executive producer Jason Katims promises to start his shows sophomore year with a bang. "What happens to one of the characters in the first episode not necessarily one of the kids will lead to a major discovery, and someone may get killed off," he teases. Well, it is about mystery.

Theyve got the power: With the government and unnamed evil aliens closing in on them, Max, Isabel and Michael will start refining their special gifts. And its about time, says Heigl, whose Isabel used her dream-walking abilities in the season finale to communicate with Max when he was being drugged and tortured. "Isabel cant pretend anymore that shes a normal high school girl," she says. "I think shes going to feel like she has more control."

Match unmade in heaven: While Katims plans to maintain the momentum and suspense of last season, hes also making room for some romantic regrouping. "We probably should start the season with all the characters in therapy," he says. Behr agrees that his character, Max, should definitely hit the couch. "He suffers from an overwhelming sense of abandonment by his parents and Liz," he says. "Maxs struggle is to decide whether to live a normal life as a human with Liz or to accept this enormous responsibility."

Matt says: Can this irresistibly gripping show build upon its rabidly loyal following in large enough numbers to convince WB to extend the 13-episode run to a full second year? It certainly deserves the chance.

Roswell Star Reveals Paper Cut Drama

Roswell Actors Ponder Their Fate

Katherine Heigl's Dangerous Curves

Roswell Star's New Love

A chat with Katherine

A chat with Majandra

 


Jason Behr Talks About Roswell

Nov 30/00 2:00p by Ian Spelling

 

God rest ye merry gentlebeings, it's time for an otherworldly holiday episode on "Roswell.''

"It's called 'A Roswell Christmas Carol,''' says Jason Behr, who stars as the alien leader Max Evans on the resurgent sci-fi series. "Max witnesses a horrible accident, and is forced to decide very quickly whether or not he should save this man (former soap-opera star John Littlefield) without anyone seeing him.

"His decision not to save the man starts to get the best of him,'' the actor continues, "and his conscience and the ghost of the man he let die come to haunt him. Basically, it's about the fact that his power to heal is this huge onus unto itself.

"If there is a master plan, is Max disturbing it? Or is Max a part of that master plan? Either way, is he taking it upon himself to play God? So his guilt over his decision drives him to question his own ethics.''

The episode, which WB will air on Dec. 18, represents a bit of a throwback to the first season of "Roswell.'' Last year's shows were paced leisurely and touched on personal issues more often than has been the case in such full-throttle second-season entries as "Skin & Bones,'' "Harvest,'' "Wipe Out!'' and the recent "Dupes'' duo, which blasted through stories about the Skins, Congresswoman Whitaker, Nasedo and Courtney.

"We've been doing a lot of sci-fi episodes, shows that have been based on the alien mythology,'' Behr says by telephone from his trailer on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood. "Every so often we do one that has much more of a heartbeat to it, that's more about the human side of the aliens. Granted, Max has this special gift that he's still not sure is a blessing or a curse, but I don't think this is so esoteric that people won't relate to it.''

While the ratings are up significantly, some loyal fans don't love the show's makeover. Born a romantic drama with a sci-fi element, "Roswell'' is now a sci-fi/action series with a romantic element.

Behr, for one, says he welcomed the changes.

"When you're trying to find the right balance for a show, you're really given the opportunity to somewhat reinvent the show,'' he says. "We took all of the characters and let them grow and got to know them over the course of an entire year. Now we can put them in extreme situations, and hopefully people will care about what happens to them.

"Also, we can sort of break the rules and break the mold,'' he adds. "I think you get to know someone's true character and integrity by the choices that they make in certain circumstances. Sometimes our characters don't make the decisions that you might think they would. So it kind of keeps you interested and keeps you guessing.''

Any way you dissect it, whether it's Max romancing his beloved Liz (Shiri Appleby) or Max, a/k/a Zan, giving fellow ETs Isabel (Katherine Heigl), Michael (Brendan Fehr) and Tess (Emilie de Ravin) their marching orders, Max remains "Roswell's'' main man, the guy with the weight of the entire universe on his shoulders.

Likewise, one might assume, Behr is called upon to carry the show. But the actor disagrees.

"I don't look at it as being a huge responsibility,'' he says. "They give me the scripts, tell me where to stand and what to say, and I just get in there and do it.

"If the show were to go away tomorrow,'' he adds, "it wouldn't be the end of the world for me, and I don't think it would be the end of the world for any of the other actors on the show. They are all very talented and have futures ahead of them as well.

"But I don't think 'Roswell' will ever be a job,'' Behr hastens to add. "As soon as what I do becomes a job and it's no longer fun, I might as well just give up. If you're not having fun, it's just not worth it.''

Photo Credit: Jeff Vespa
Content Provider: New York Times Syndicate
Copyright: c. Ian Spelling

back the JB @ the CrashDown Cafe

In the spirit of "A Roswell Christmas Carol," the producers, cast and crew of Roswell have made a donation to Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Roswell creator Jason Katims stated, "The Christmas story was very much about reaching out and trying to help. The spirit of the episode inspired me and the cast & crew to want to help in whatever small way we could."

For three decades, Pediatric Cancer Foundation has been tirelessly raising funds to aid children with cancer and their families. In addition, Pediatric Cancer Foundation makes substantial contributions to research hospitals and institutions leading the way toward finding a cure.

Says the Foundation's official statement: "Pediatric Cancer Foundation finds this an exciting time - we are truly on a roll. We believe that people are concerned with the success of the Foundation and seriously accept the challenge to maintain the momentum that we have created to... hold the hand of a child. Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization which funds treatment, research and state-of-the-art equipment in pediatric cancer since 1970.

"The support that each of you bring is an inspiration towards success and in the spirit of new year's resolutions, PCF resolves to do special things and set high goals. Your participation is vital in order for us to achieve our dreams and meet our commitments to the doctors... so that they in turn may keep their promises to the children.

"For information call 914-777-3127 or visit our website at www.pcfweb.org. A copy of our latest annual report may be obtained upon request."

Copyright 2000 The WB Television Network

 

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