Busy man Jason Priestley on Shannen Doherty, '90210,' 'Haven' and more
WE announced Thursday (July 21) that the tentatively titled "The Shannen Doherty Project" is coming in early 2012. After an initial reaction of "Oh my goodness," the former Brenda's "twin brother" Brandon from "Beverly Hills, 90210" tells Zap2it that he wishes her "the best. I always wish Shannen the best."
Priestley surely isn't lacking for his own projects these days. On the immediate horizon is a four-episode arc on the Syfy series "Haven" that starts Friday, Aug. 5. He also directed one of the tales, in which he plays a biologist whose unusual traits -- not out of place in eerie Haven, Maine -- are investigated by visiting sleuth Audrey Parker ( Emily Rose).
"I like the show a lot," Priestley says of the Stephen King-inspired drama. "The reason I initially started watching it is that [executive producer] Shawn Piller is an old friend of mine. I enjoyed the world it created, with the town and the people's afflictions, but I also enjoyed the banter and the relationships.
"I called Shawn to see how it was doing and what was going to happen in it, and he started talking to me about coming up to Nova Scotia and directing an episode. Then they started talking about adding this character, and Shawn asked me about possibly playing him. It was fun to do some science-fiction paranormal stuff, which I haven't really had much opportunity to do in my career."
Priestley also begins production on Season 3 of his series "Call Me Fitz," shown on DirecTV in the U.S., in September; he's filmed a guest role for the upcoming season of USA's "Psych"; and he's putting finishing touches on "Dear Santa," a romantic-comedy movie with Amy Acker ("Angel") that he has directed for the holidays.
With all that activity, Priestley admits he hasn't kept much watch over The CW's current "90210" incarnation, which is heading into its fourth year. "I've just been too busy, to tell you the truth," he says. "I really seem to be splitting my time pretty evenly between acting and directing these days. I think work on either side of the camera makes me better on both sides."
Such series as ABC's "Rookie Blue" and "Combat Hospital" and CBS' "Flashpoint" are prominent in this summer's lineups, and British Columbia native Priestley is pleased for the impact Canadian production is having on American television ... not just as a patriot, but also as a professional.
"It is encouraging," he reflects. "I think that somewhere along the way, Canadian producers stopped making television just for Canadian audiences. They woke up to the fact that they could produce television for the world, and once they started doing that, Americans started buying it.
"That's been very beneficial for the Canadian industry, of course, and it's worked out very well for the American industry as well. That symbiotic relationship is good for everybody."