By MESFIN FEKADU
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK — Early on in their careers, many actors question whether their dreams to be in show business are realistic goals. For Peter Facinelli, that internal struggle came when he was about eight.
“I was just really shy, and there was one part of my brain saying, ‘You should go be an actor’ and the other part of my brain going, ‘You’re really nuts because I can’t even stand in the lunch line in school because I’m afraid of people,'” he recalls.
But his artistic side overtook his practical one. He ended up studying theater at New York University and now not only stars in the white-hot ‘Twilight‘ movie series, but has also won acclaim for his supporting role as Dr. Fitch Cooper in Showtime’s ‘Nurse Jackie.’
The dark comedy, which saw its second season premiere last week, was the most-watched new series in Showtime’s history when it debuted last year. It airs Mondays at 10 p.m. EDT.
“I’m a fan of the show. I love watching these characters and how they all interact … and to see how they react off of each other, and how they get along and don’t get along,” Facinelli said.
Edie Falco stars as Nurse Jackie Peyton, a drug addict who is both unethical on the job and in her marriage. Facinelli’s character, a young, Ivy League-educated “know-it-all,” is somewhat smitten over his co-worker.
“He’s kind of like the kid in third grade who has a crush on somebody, but it’s not being reciprocated, so he’s constantly pulling on her pigtails trying to get a reaction out of her,” he said.
Facinelli, who plays the patriarch vampire clan leader Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the ‘Twilight’ series, returns with the third installment, ‘Eclipse,’ out June 30. Facinelli says ‘Eclipse’ will be more action-based and will feature the Cullens in a different light.
“Usually, they’re very buttoned-up and you know, always trying to appear human and be in control. And in this movie, we have this looming presence throughout the whole movie that’s hard to stay in control all the time,” he said.
With steady projects on his resume, Facinelli, 36, is capitalizing on his success by writing movies. He’s penned the TV-film ‘Mulligan,’ which will star is wife, former ‘90210‘ actress Jennie Garth. The movie air on the Hallmark Channel; no date has been set.
“I finished writing it and then she read it and said, ‘Hey if you ever make this I want to play this.’ And I said, ‘We’ll see. Maybe you’ll come in and audition for it,'” Facinelli said with a laugh.
He also wrote and will star in the romantic comedy ‘Loosies,’ about a pickpocket in New York who has commitment issues and learns from a one-night stand that he’s a father-to-be. And he’ll star in the biopic ‘Paz,’ based on the life of boxer Vinny Pazienze.
Facinelli has become a popular face in Hollywood, and he has more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter to prove it.
“Some people get mad because they say, ‘You used to respond more,’ but I found that my responsibility has shifted. I used to respond more when I had few followers. Now I can’t respond to every single thing but I still read them all,” he said.
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