Jason Priestley Joining My Name is Earl and Discusses 90210
Reported by Kristen - 02:48 AM 2008.11.12
Actor Jason Priestley isn’t Brandon Walsh of 90210 anymore. It might be surprising to see how long and diverse his resume is both acting and directing in television and film. On Thursday Priestley will be returning to television in the hit NBC comedy My Name is Earl as Earl’s (Jason Lee) backpack model cousin Blake (he models backpacks if that wasn’t obvious). The actor took the time to talk to us about his character on the show, as well as giving us a glimpse of some of his other projects in the works.
For a man who believes in karma, it’s oddly appropriate that Jason Priestley has joined the My Name is Earl cast. The actor considers himself “a firm believer” in karma, and a big reason he enjoys the show as a fan is the focus on a character discovering karma late in his life. Karma may not have been the deciding factor in him taking the role; it was more the ability to challenge himself that made him take the job as Blake the backpack model, “I just always try and find things to challenge me. I think it’s always important as an actor to try and step outside your comfort zone a little bit and try to push yourself a little bit in one direction or another.” The actor says the opportunity to work with stars Jason Lee, Jaime Pressley and Ethan Suplee was another big reason he took on the guest appearance, saying he wanted to have some fun. “Doing comedy is something I enjoy and I don’t really get to do it that much.” Asked if he could go back and change any of his past mistakes, Priestley laughed and said he would like to go back to the 80’s and change the mullet he once sported citing it as a “bad look.”
While Earl may continue to deal with the effects of karma, what can fans expect from Jason Priestley as Earl’s cousin? In the upcoming episode entitled “Earl and Joy’s Anniversary”, Priestley revealed the episode goes back to the year 2000 when Earl is throwing Joy a party. While the actor did not want to give too much away, he did say his character Blake is a wildly successful backpack model, “You’ve seen him in all the top outdoor catalogs.” It seems Blake and Earl has a “combative relationship” according to Priestley. He further explained “They’ve always been in competition with each other ever since they were little kids. That competition has never subsided as they grew up. Watching two grown men competing like that is obviously very, very funny. Jason is such a funny guy and Earl is such a funny character, it was a real pleasure to go over there and work there and just is in the presence of comedic genius.” While Priestley stated that Earl did not do anything wrong to Blake, fans should expect Joy (Jaime Pressley) to get stuck in the mix.
Expect hilarity to ensue when it comes to light that Blake and Joy have had a past sexual encounter which Earl discovers allowing for comedic sparks to fly, according to Priestley. The guest star especially found working with Jaime Pressley to be a huge source of comedy saying Joy is “fantastic.” The fact that the character is comfortable with who she is a bright spot in doing the guest appearance. “She is who she is and she makes no apologies about it. She’s a wonderful character.” He did praise Pressley’s ability to constantly chew gum, something he found particularly memorable and that the actress got off songstress Britney Spears.
The whole episode is filled with humor on everyone’s part, and Priestley says the biggest draw was the script “They just sent me the script and I read the script and it’s a really funny episode and I just really responded to the material. I just jumped at the opportunity to go over there and do it. I’m such a fan of the show and those actors.” He did stop short of revealing too much of the episode aside from what is mentioned above but fans can definitely expect the same type of humor that My Name Has Earl has delivered this season. The actor was asked if he will be a recurring character or if Blake will be making further appearances to torment Earl. All he would say is that any further appearances would have to go through show creator Greg Garcia but if the opportunity is there for Blake to return to Camden, Jason Priestley says he would “enjoy the opportunity.”
One of the biggest questions the former 90210 star has received is whether he will be making any appearances on the revamped series. While he enjoys doing television series, and has even been a part of several past shows on television, he says “I think that I’ve played enough characters and enough very different characters…that people don’t see me simply as Brandon Walsh anymore at this point in time. I think I’ve worked hard enough…that people don’t see me anymore.” He says that he won’t be making an appearance on the new show explaining that Brandon had nothing to do. “I felt I had more to offer as a director over there and apparently so did they.” Look for the actor to be directing an episode of the CW hit in January. Other than that, he has directed at least five episodes of the ABC Family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager and will continue to lend his directing eye to that series. He also has a Western film starring Kris Kristofferson and Lizzy Caplan that will be out to theaters later this year.
With all of that on his plate, Jason Priestley isn’t hurting for new challenges. As an actor and director he sums it up by saying “They’re both things I enjoy doing and I’m really passionate about doing.” Look for his guest appearance on My Name is Earl this Thursday at 8 on NBC.