Brendan Fehr has a difficult time relating to his character, Michael Guerin. Michael's intense, brooding personality is the exact opposite of Brendan's. In fact, ask any Roswell cast member, and they're likely to tell you that Brendan is one of the most nicest, most outgoing people they've ever met. Brendan jokes that he's nothing like Michael cause "I'm a real mama's boy."
Brendan Fehr was born on October 29, 1977. When Brendan was born, his parents and two older sisters were delighted to welcome a boy to their New Westminster, British Columbia, home. Like most Canadian kids, Brendan grew up in a big fan of sports, especially ice hockey. In Canada, it's often that boys learn how to skate before they can walk. That was certainly the case with Brendan. He has enjoyed playing hockey since his early days in suburban Vancouver, just like fellow actors Jason Priestly and Michael J. Fox, who are also from Brendan's hometown.
Academics were stressed in the Fehr household. Brendan excelled in all his school subjects, especially science and math. When Brendan looks back on his school days, he prefers to downplay his academic accomplishments. "I was a pretty good athlete. I played a lot of hockey, volleyball, football. Above average in most, but not spectacular in any."
It was clear to Brendan's family, friends and teachers that he could do anything he put his mind to. One thing he couldn't do however, is save his parents' marriage. When he was twelve, they split up, and Brendan and his mother moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Brendan was sad to leave his father and his friends, but he soon adjusted to life in Winnipeg.
Brendan quickly made friends with fellow students and teachers at his new Winnipeg school. Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute. In contrast to the Roswell High Michael Guerin attended, MBCI is a small private school located in suburban Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. Unlike other high schools, MBCI had no formal football team or hockey team. Approximately 560 students, male and female comprise the student body in grades seven through twelve. Brendan says, "I had eighty people in my graduating class."
As teacher Paul Doerksen explains, "We're a Christian private school. We have chapel and required bible studies courses and try as best we can to create certain atmospheres and promote certain values." Brendan, Mr. Doerksen says, "certainly fit into the kind of a place that we're kind of trying to work at here. He wasn't a rebel or anything. He was almost always a positive influence in our school. I think it's fair to call him a relatively dynamic guy, in terms of the students who would want to be with him. When he was in MCBI, you could see that."
Mr. Doerksen continues, "I coached him in freshman volleyball and taught him Canadian history in eleventh grade and religion in twelfth grade. He was a very good student. In eleventh grade, he was promoted with first class honors. First class honors at this school are about ninety."
In fact, Brendan was such a good student and was so motivated and inspired by his teachers that he decided to go to college and become a teacher. "He was certainly talking about going to a university," Mr. Doerksen says.
Talking about it was one thing--paying for it was another. Brendan's family was not wealthy, so he had to pay his own way. He did it by taking a couple of part time jobs. One was a summer job with a lawn care company called Eco Green. Brendan's job at Eco Green consisted of joining a crew of workers to go to specific resediential and commerical sites and spray lawns with fertilizers and chemicals to keep them healthy. Since it's a season business, Brendan and his fellow workers spent long hours on the job, usually from sunup to sundown. It was exhausting work that required a team effort from the employees to get the job done. Teamwork was a concept Brendan was familiar with, and he found the long hours and hard labor very rewarding.
He was, as his former boss Dillon Vincent says, "an employeers dream. He worked all summer with us. He enjoyed the work and even enjoyed that it was pretty long hours. When we first started our business we ran it out of our house, and I had a couple of small kids. At the end of working a long, hard day, Brendan would always take the time to push the kids on the swings and play around with them."
Like Mr. Doerksen, Mr. Vincent can't say enough nice things about Brendan. "Brendan was probably one of the best employees we ever had," his former boss gushes. "We he started out with our company he was probably the youngest employee we ever had--he was only seventeen years old, but he really sort of took charge of things. Whenever we'd send a group of employees out to a commericial site where they were spraying a large area, Brendan would always sort of take charge of the situation and start directing one guy to spray one area and one guy to spray another area. He had really good judgement with making those calls."
Nobody resented Brendan's leadership skills. They respected him for his stringent work ethic. "He's just a supernice guy. He got along well with everybody. He always strove for improvement in his work. During the winters, he worked for a company called Mat Master, and what they did was deliver floor mats. In keeping with Brendan's whole attitude towards work, he would go deliver his quota of mats, and he'd always be sort of increasing the quota--and I'm not sure if the other employees always liked the fact that Brendan could always sort of outperform everybody. But then, just to help them out, if Brendan got finished with his route early at the mat business, he would go and deliver mats for some of his coworkers just to kind of help them along. If I could hire employees like Brendan every year, I'd be thrilled. People like him just don't come along very often."
All the hard work in high school and on the job, paid off. He graduated from MBCI in 1995 with first class honors, having maintained about a ninety percent average in his high school studies. Brendan's teachers at MBCI were thrilled to learn that he'd been accepted to the University of Manitoba.
Mr. Doerksen says Brendan displayed a "certain kind of intelligence that includes a creative side, especially his writing." These skills made Brendan an ideal candidate for college, teaching, or whatever career he wanted to pursue...but acting? "I have to say that's not one of the categories when I think of: 'What my students turn into in the future?'" Mr. Doerksen says with a chuckle. "I tend not to think of them becoming actors. I think more along conventional lines--historian, theologian. We try to stress service and people helping and that kind of thing as well. So, we have those sorts of hopes for our students. Being a Hollywood star kind of doesn't come onto the screen much, eh?"
But during the summer of 1995, while Brendan was lunching with his friends at Eco Green, the subject of modeling came up. Brendan and his cohorts were intrigued that people actually got paid to put on new clothes and smile for the camera. "They were talking about modeling and Brendan said, 'Oh, I could do that,'" Mr. Vincent explains.
So, Brendan investigated what it would take to model in the Winnipeg area. He found out soon enough. "So for one of the grocery store chains, Super Store, he started modeling for some of their flyers. He really enjoyed that, and he thought, "Wow, this is pretty good, easy money, just smiling and putting these clothes on," Mr. Vincent recalled.
The Super Store experience made Brendan curious about pursuing other modeling and acting jobs in Winnipeg. Even though he had no other previous experience, he decided to try. "Who doesn't want to be on TV once in their life, or have a chance at it?" Brendan asks.
His bosses at Eco Green were impressed with Brendan's drive and always tried to accomodate his requests for time off. "There was a local movie that was being produced and Brendan was asking us, 'Do you think I could get a few hours off if I get a role in this movie because I'd really like to give it a try'. And we said, "Sure, we'll accomodate you any way we can," Mr. Vincent explains. "It was just a one hour type of movie and it was shot at Winnipeg on a pretty small budget. He'd come to work everyday and give us a progress report as he started acting, and he'd say, 'This is really neat. I really enjoy doing this type of stuff'".
"I was basically in the right place, at the right time."
At the end of the summer in 1997, Brendan was in Vancouver, British Columbia, for a friend's wedding. It was going to be his last trip of the summer--he was less than a week away from starting his freshman year at the University of Manitoba. Brendan decided that while he was in town he would check out some of the local modeling and talent agencies. He walked into the office of Look Talent, and his life changed in an instant. "My now manager, we met at his office, a flukish kind of thing, and he asked me one of those really cheesy lines like, 'Do you want to be on TV?' Things just rolled from there," Brendan explains. "I was basically in the right place at the right time."
Brendan was torn between pursuing acting and his undergraduate degree. So, he asked his mother. She told him college could wait. "She encouraged me to do it, in the sense that if I was going to act, this was the time to do it. I read in one magazine that she encouraged me to drop out of college and go for it. No, I had to drop out of college to do it, but she didn't encourage me to drop out of college. I was nineteen at the time, and I was allowed to kind of veer off on a particular path and try something new, give a year of my life away, just to have fun. It turned into this."
Within weeks, Brendan landed a steady stream of work, starting with a role in the Canadian television series: Breaker High. Next up was a part in a high-profile ABC movie of the week, Our Guys with Eric Stoltz and Ally Sheedy. Other credits included TV movies like: Perfect Little Angels and Every Mother's Worst Fear. He also got a guest-starring role in the TV series: Millennium. Then, Brendan was cast in small role in the teen suspense thriller: Disturbing Behavior, which was directed by one of Roswell's creators, David Nutter.
"Anybody Need an Alien?"
Not long after, Brendan was asked to audition for the Roswell producers. "Originally, I didn't want to try out for Roswell," Brendan admits. "I didn't think it was going to be too good. You know, teenage aliens. I thought it could be kind of cheesy. But then, I walked into the audition room and I saw David Nutter and I knew it would be good because I've worked with him before." Brendan read first for the role of Max, then for Michael. "I was much more comfortable the second time reading for Michael. I thought he was a better character for me, and I thought I could nail it."
And nail it, he did. Brendan's approach to portraying Michael has captured Hollywood's attention and that of many new found fans. "When I started off, I got one fan letter, from this girl who kept writing to me, 'I know you're getting lots of fan mail,'" Brendan says. "She was the only one writing."
Brendan's fanmail has increased dramatically as Roswell fever has caught on. His popularity has sparkled a loyal legion of fans who call themselves the "Fehrians" and monitor his every move on their respective websites. "Obviously, it's all worth something, because it tells you that you're doing a good job and that they like the show and appreciate what you're doing. But you have to draw the line. If fan adulation is what fulfills you as a person and makes you feel important, then you've got to give yourself a hard check," Brendan has said.
Still, there's no doubt, this star is on rise. Many have compared him to another "paranormal" TV star--David Duchovny. E! Online named Brendan one of their "Sizzling Sixteen" young stars to watch in 2000, comparing his onscreen intensity to movie star James Dean. The reference boggles Brendan's mind. "That's a huge compliment," Brendan told the popular entertainment website. "I'm a huge James Dean fan. But it's disrespectful to put me in his category."
The way his career is going, Brendan had better get used to the attention. "I'm very happy here, I like it. I've met great people, I like what I do," Brendan enthuses. "It's my time right now, and I'm really enjoying it. But I was supposed to be a teacher."
BRENDAN QUICK FACTS:
LAST NAME PRONOUNCED: Fair
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Scorpio
PETS: Rottweiler, Opa
HOBBIES: Hockey, video games, sleeping
FAVORITE SNACK: Fruity Pebbles
TASTEBUD BUMMER: When Brendan misbehaved as a young boy, his mother would make him stick out his tongue --then she'd drip some tabasco sauce on it.
UPCOMING PROJECT: "Biker Boyz" with Orlando Jones