The Former Teen Star Dishes on His New Show, New Baby and the Need for Speed
Aug. 3 -- Did anyone ever imagine Brandon Walsh changing diapers? Most likely not, but Jason Priestley is relishing his new role as a super-dad to daughter Ava who was born on July 2. He's also loving his career right now too. He's starring on Lifetime's sexy new dramedy 'Side Order of Life' as Ian, the jilted fiance of Jenny ('Boston Legal' alum Marisa Coughlan), but the duo have some unresolved issues that often result in them winding up in bed together.
The 'Beverly Hills, 90210' alum caught up with AOL TV's Angel Cohn to talk about why everyone should everyone should tune into his new show and the things he loves most about being a first-time father.
Us Weekly has you has you on their cover as one of Hollywood's hottest dads. How does that feel?
At this point in my life, I'll take it. I ain't stupid. I'm in pretty good company. I'm very honored to be there.
There are lots of cute pictures of the beautiful little Ava.
Thank you. She's gorgeous and I just love her to pieces, both her and my wife, Naomi. I'm a very, very, very lucky man.
Ava is only a month old. Are you sleeping?
I do sleep pretty well for the limited amount of time that I sleep. She is a good sleeper and a good eater and we are all doing really well. It is a team effort. It is just the three of us, we don't have any help. We are all in it together. I feel like I'm the cook and the manager and the diaper changer. I've got to make sure that I keep my wife fed and watered so she can keep our baby fed. It is Ava's job to sleep and to poop. It is a beautiful cycle of life going on. I love it. I'm so lucky and blessed to be able to have this time with my wife and daughter. I'm just drinking up every second of it. Before I know it, I'll go to sleep one night and wake up and she'll be asking me for the car keys.
Speaking of which, you drive race cars -- will Ava? Could she be the next Danica Patrick?
[Laughs] That is a very loaded question you are asking me. According to me wife, "No!" According to me, "Very possibly." I'm sure you'll start a big fight in my house. Right now my wife says it is OK if she wants to drive Formula One cars. That would make me very happy. I was a pro-rally driver for a long time before I moved into racing road courses. If my daughter wanted to race GT cars and go-carts and all of that, she can absolutely do that. I'd love to see my daughter racing go-carts!
So after your car accident, you are still gung-ho about racing and letting your daughter race?
Yes, and I think for little kids racing go-carts is phenomenal. I think any sports for kids is wonderful. Racing is a team sport. The driver is just part of the last element within the team. There is the crew and the spotters and managers.
The driver is the most glamorous part.
It is certainly the most glamorous and that's why I was always drawn to it. [Laughs]
How is it juggling work and the baby?
My role on 'Side Order of Life' for the last couple of weeks has been pretty light, which is alright for me.
I was wondering if you'd still be on the show since they recently aired an episode where Jenny gave you the ring back.
Don't worry. Ian is not going anywhere. It has been a little light the last couple of weeks which has been fantastic for me for real reasons. But I think in a week my work will get heavy again.
Is that a hint about what happening with your relationship?
Ummm ... don't be surprised when it gets heavy again. Here's the thing with 'Side Order,' I am a huge fan and I love going to work there every day. We have such fun making that show. I think we're making such a good quality product. I really think there is nothing like it on television.
I'm still heartbroken that 'Love Monkey' was canceled, so I'm glad to see you on a new show.
We're all a little heartbroken about 'Love Monkey.' It was just on the wrong network. CBS didn't really have anything to pair it with. They had us on after 'CSI: Miami.' Me and Tom Cavanagh paired with David Caruso is like, "What? Huh? How is that going to work?"
Between that series and 'Side Order' you've been playing the "nice guy" material. Do you look for roles that like on purpose?
I've always tried to make the next right decision in all aspects of my life. Looked at what's right ahead of me and stand me in good stead for the next decision. So far, that's worked out for me.
How do you describe the show to people?
This is my problem, which is now your problem too. It is a show that defies description in a lot of ways. It sort of follows these four friends whose lives are hopelessly intertwined professionally and personally and they live in Los Angeles and ... now I'm at a loss for words. It's funny, but it is heartfelt and you laugh and you cry and you'll fall in love with these people.
It is funny. I like the silly quirky stuff with Jenny for example literally seeing an elephant in the room when she's with Ian. But I also like the real things like Ian's obsession with getting a 60-inch television.
Right. That's the kind of stuff that guys obsess about.
They all want to have the biggest TV on the block.
Yeah. Guys want to have the biggest TV -- and other things -- on the block.
Ha. That's what I'm talking about ... cars. When I am up at two in the morning changing my baby's diaper, I'm watching Enzyte or Extendz commercials. It is always a commercial for something to lengthen that certain part of the male, uh, physique.
Um, OK ... on to another topic. My boss told me to let you know how much she enjoyed your work on 'Medium' this year.
That was a lot of fun.
So you aren't always nice guys, your character on that was a cold-hearted murderer.
Well, I am an actor.
Any other fun guest-starring roles coming up this fall?
It will be interesting seeing what happens when 'Medium' goes back in production, if I go back to being the recapitator.
Are you at all worried that as much cool new stuff that you do, people will always still remember you as Brandon Walsh?
No, I don't think so. I made a concerted effort during ['Beverly Hills, 90210'] to step out of that show and portray a lot of different characters to show people that Brandon Walsh was only a facet of what I will was capable of doing. I'm not concerned about that any more.
You directed several '90210' episodes, any chance you'll direct any 'Side Order' episodes?
I'm actually in negotiations with them right now. I don't want to jinx it, but I may do one this year.
Will we ever meet the mystery man who Jenny talks to on the phone?
I don't think you'll meet him this year, but never say never.