Meet Paul Gross of ABC's New 'Eastwick'

Today's cuppa: Newhall Coffee Vanilla Nut

Eastwick_Paul_Gross.jpgIn the new ABC fantasy-drama "Eastwick" (premiering Wednesday, Sept. 23) - based on the same 1984 John Updike novel that inspired the 1987 film "The Witches of Eastwick" - Paul Gross plays Darryl Van Horne, a wealthy, mysterious and powerful man who arrives in the seaside village of Eastwick and upends the lives of three local women - free-spirited Roxie (Rebecca Romijn, below right), uptight Joanna (Lindsay Price, below center) and overwhelmed Kat (Jaime Ray Newman, below left) - with latent magical powers.

But when it came to coiffure, Gross found himself at the center of attention.

As to Van Horne's ever-evolving hairstyle, Gross bursts out laughing.

"Oh, my God," he says, once he's done chuckling, "if you'd been along for the hair ride, it's a ride at Six Flags. It's just crazy. It all started because my hair was getting kind of long when I came to do the pilot. I couldn't cut it, because I was doing a feature film right up to that, and I needed longer hair for it.

"So, I think that I probably had something on the order of 17 haircuts, attended by great throngs of executives, all concerned about one hair here and one hair there.

"It's quite new to me to have people more concerned about my hair than the women's hair. That usually doesn't happen."

While Gross admits that his character has not yet had his romantic way with any of the women , he still exudes mystery and power.

"We never spell out exactly what Darryl Van Horne's agenda is," Gross says, "but you certainly know he's got one.

"But the problem for him is, the more he empowers these women and unlocks their strengths,Eastwick_Cast_Shot.jpg the less control he has over them.

"So it's not exactly a power struggle, but there's a power balance that's always in tension."

Birthplace: Calgary , Alberta , on April 30, making him a Taurus.

School cred: Graduated from the University of Alberta in Edmonton .

TV cred: "Chasing Rainbows," "Street Legal," "The Ray Bradbury Theater," "The Red Green Show," "Due South" (also an executive producer for part of its run), "Monday Report," "The Eleventh Hour," "Slings and Arrows," "Hockey: A People's History" (narrator).

Movie cred: "Turning to Stone" (1985), "Cold Comfort" (1989), "Divided Loyalties" (1989), "Aspen Extreme" (1993), "Tales of the City" (1993), "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (1997), "Men With Brooms" (2002, also writer and director), "Burnt Toast" (2005), "Passchendaele" (2008, also writer and director).

Favorite music: "I'm completely indiscriminate when it comes to music; I like everything. But at the moment, I've been listening nonstop to Kings of Leon. And I'll flip-flop back and forth between rock and classical. I'm fond of the Romantic Era."

Favorite book: "I can say, the one I'm reading right now is fantastic. It's by Shirley Hazzard, who wrote 'The Transit of Venus.' This is called 'The Great Fire.' Usually my favorite book is the one I'm reading, and that's the one. It's going to be revealed as referring somewhat to Hiroshima . It's set postwar."

Favorite movies: "I love the big, standard ones, like '2001.' I love everything that Kubrick ever made, actually, most of Coppola, all of Scorsese. Then (I like) some weird ones. I like the German period when they were all really exploding, like Fassbinder and Wim Wenders. I like 'American Friend.' 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' we have to throw that in there."