For the hard-working actor, director and producer, Jason Priestley is a man of many talents and he has stretched out his varied career to not only encompass many entertainment career “hats,” but also an array of diverse characters that keeps him busy. Taking a few minutes out of his jam-packed schedule, Jason provided a few candid responses about his morally-challenged, yet highly entertaining character Richard Fitzpatrick in the Canadian comedy series CALL ME FITZ, as well as some brief thoughts on his upcoming appearance in Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES and Syfy’s supernatural thriller series HAVEN.
How did you initially learn about CALL ME FITZ and how did you become involved with it?
JASON: I was directing a web series for Warner Bros. called THE LAKE and our writers had just worked with Sheri Elwood on DEFYING GRAVITY. They told me about her and this show that she had written. This mythical, genius comedy that Sheri really wanted to get to me. I was both skeptical and intrigued. I told them to have her send it to me and I’d read it. She did and I did and I thought it was one of the best things I had read in the last decade.
What drew you to such a morally-bankrupt character as Fitz?
JASON: The opportunity to play such a wonderfully flawed character doesn’t come along every day, especially when you’re Jason Priestley and you carry the kind of career baggage that I do. The simple answer is that Fitz has it all, and as an actor, allows the opportunity to utilize all the tools in your toolbox.
To date, what is the one thing you most admire about Fitz and why?
JASON: I love everything about Fitz. I have to. But I really love his honesty. He is honest to a fault, and not as a weapon, as I think some people are some times. He truly is. And I think that is admirable. I think the world would be a better place if more people were more honest.
Fitz’s journey does not feel like he is in search of his conscience, but rather he is looking for redemption or it is a journey to be a better man. What do you see as the true underlying theme of the show?
JASON: I see the show as a tragedy. It is the death of the Fitzpatrick family, and it is slow and it is painful and it is funny as hell!
With the weight of his conscience (Larry) always hovering around, Fitz seems even more bound and determined to doggedly-pursue the life he lived before. Do you think any real cracks are showing in his facade of his former bad-boy lifestyle?
JASON: I think that as this point, Fitz has figured out how to utilize Larry for his own purposes. I don’t think Fitz wants to change. Change has to come from within, and Fitz is having way too much fun to change.
Do you have a sense that Fitz’s soul has been shattered into a million tiny pieces and that he is soul-searching?
JASON: Not a chance. The only thing Fitz is searching for is the next party!
Why do you think Fitz stays in his tiny, carved-out world? Why doesn’t he aim higher and make a move out of his father’s car dealership?
JASON: Fitz is a product of a very dysfunctional family. Look at his father, his mother, sister. You can imagine the environment he grew up in. You can only know what you are taught, and if you are never taught to learn on your own. . .
The show seems to be an exploration of emotional imperfections in all its characters. It is a journey for all of them, and not just Fitz. Is that why he doesn’t leave the comfort and security of his cocooned life?
JASON: The show is a psychological examination of Fitz, and why he is the way he is, and the examination, of course, extends to the other characters. That’s really what the show is. People think the show is this crass comedy. I don’t look at it that way. I find it to be a tragedy. There is so much pain and sadness in the lives of the characters in our show, and the show is really about the psychological damage that was caused to Fitz in his childhood and how that has manifested today.
What do you feel would be a better career for Fitz than car salesman? Or do you see it as the perfect fit for the character?
JASON: It is absolutely the perfect fit. There is nothing else he could do.
Do you think Larry is as powerless as he seems? He seems only to be the “voice of reason” in Fitz’s life and doesn’t seem to really be pushing Fitz towards reformation.
JASON: A lot of Larry’s motivations come up in season 2, and the answers, I think will shock some people.
How much say do you have into the future of the show, storylines and character development?
JASON: Sheri has such a great vision for our show and these characters, I try not to get in her way.
What are some of the challenges and rewards to starring in a show that you both produce and direct?
JASON: Challenges include: That I’m writing this to you at 2 AM after a 15-hour day. Rewards include: I’m making a show that I am truly proud of.
To date, what has been the most memorable and fun moment to do on the show?
JASON: There is a big stunt I did at the end of season 2. I can’t tell you what it is, but, when people see it, know that it was really me that did that stunt, and it was -10 [degrees Celsius] that night!
What can you tease about the upcoming 2nd season, which has just begun airing here in the United States? What should viewers keep an eye out for?
JASON: Well, first of all that aforementioned stunt. Other than that, season 2 is a much deeper examination of Fitz. Why he is the way he is. His fears, phobias. Why he needs his parent’s love and approval all the time. And there’s a “Beaver Moon Prophesy”, a “Necropedifeliac,” a new employee at Fitzpatrick Motors, and one Dot Foxley, who makes Fitz’s life even more miserable.
It was announced that you’ll be co-starring in the upcoming mini-series based on Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES. Can you talk about your role in the mini-series?
JASON: I have a minor role in the mini-series. I play Pierce’s character’s agent.
Who do you play and how does the character figure into the story?
JASON: I’m afraid I can’t tell you that.
What drew you to this role since you seem to be busy with so many projects at the moment?
JASON: Having the opportunity to work with Pierce, whom I’ve known for a while but never had the opportunity to work with and it was right before we went back to Fitz, so the timing worked out at well.
Since your character Chris Brody was not killed off on HAVEN, is there a chance you could reprise that role in the 3rd season?
JASON: That’s something we haven’t even discussed. The show has just been picked up, which is great, but there have been no discussions about a return of Brody at all.
Or would you prefer to leave the door closed since Audrey Parker passed on the opportunity to pursue a relationship with Chris?
JASON: That ‘s a good question, Brody is kind of damaged, but so is Audrey. Who knows?
What was it like directing the episode “Lockdown” for HAVEN?
JASON: “Lockdown” was challenging. I’m not going to lie to you. Anytime you are going to be stuck in one location for one hour, it’s going to be a challenge. But I think I pulled it off quite well. I had great actors. Both the regular cast and the guest stars all did a great job and really carried that hour of television for me. It was up to me to keep it visually interesting, which I think I did. I think the episode works really well.
There seemed to be a lot of gun-work in “Lockdown,” were there any specific challenges to directing an episode with so much gun-play?
JASON: Not for me. I’m very comfortable around guns, always have been. Guns are totally second nature to me.
What are you distinct memories from working on HAVEN?
JASON: The biggest thing I think everyone remembers this season on HAVEN is the rain. It rained for two months straight! It was unreal! It was so bad that for a gift at the end of the season, the producers gave everyone a raincoat.
What other projects are you working on that you would you like your fans to keep an eye out for?
JASON: Right now, I’m working on taking a vacation!
With such a long and varied career behind you, what are some of the key elements that you look for when considering a film or television project?
JASON: I try to work with talented people and have a good time. Sometimes you make mistakes. We all do. But that’s just the way it goes sometimes. That’s how you learn.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check-out Jason’s current comedy series CALL ME FITZ, which airs Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. on DirecTV (Sundays at 8:30PM on TMN in Canada), and also be on the look out for his role in Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES on December 11th and 12th on A&E.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).