Canadian-born actor JR Bourne is familiar to many as werewolf hunter Chris Argent on MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” He has also appeared on ABC’s “Revenge” and is known to Syfy fans as Martouf from the series “Stargate SG-1.” His most recent role is flawed family values preacher Evan Tanner in “The Preacher’s Sin.” It airs Saturday at 8 p.m. on Lifetime. [Go to Post-Gazette.com to listen to the entire podcast]
Are you religious in real life?
I am spiritual, absolutely. My mother instilled it in me as a child. We never went to church, but my mother instilled in us a strong spiritual [connection] to self.
Did you model the preacher you play on anyone in the news today?
No, I didn't. It has never really been a habit of mine. My approach has always been: This is a real person. So to make him real, I try to relate to him through my own experiences.
We all, as human beings, it is not very different what we are going through. I think it is the same across the board except for different names, different colors. When you get down to the core of it, we are all struggling with pretty much the same things. That is how I relate to the character. That is how I try to build them.
The film deals with the idea that the life you plan is not always what you get. Is there anything like that in your own life that you can talk about?
Oh my God, yes. Are you kidding? [laughing] In 45 years, there have absolutely been experiences and things that have thrown me for a loop. Hearing the news that my mother only has months to live and feeling this ability to overcome this but ultimately not.
Having that person taken from your life at a young age and dying in your arms is not an experience that you foresee and is not one that you want to have. When it all happens, I could not have made any other choices, and I am glad that I didn’t. When I look back at it I say, “That is exactly the route and the experience I was meant to have at that age.”
How old were you?
Twenty-seven and my mother was 52. That is too young.
Did you put your career on hold to be with her?
I most definitely did. I went and lived with her at an alternative clinic for three months, and then ultimately, we were into the final stages of that horrible disease, cancer. Then she passed away in my arms.
I look back at it — as I do with most of my experiences — and you can see how they have all sort of led to where you are today and the person you are today. That is not something I planned. That is not something I wanted. That is just one. I mean, Patricia, my God, we could talk for an hour about experiences. You know what I mean? [laughs]
I am not saying that is what I drew from for this guy, Evan. Bullying is such a major issue covered in this film and the fear of depression. The overall [issue] is that we are not communicating properly to one another. We are not sharing what is really happening and what is the truth. We are all so afraid.
There are expectations that we are all perfect or want to be seen that way. So it is the fear of facing what people will think when they discover you are not perfect, much like your character.
Oh God, far from it. The funny thing is I think our real beauty lies in our imperfection, in the ugliness. We see it in one another, and we see it because we know it in ourselves.
Were you a child actor?
When I was very, very young and lived in Calgary, I did a show. I was 8 or 9 and then I went through my life as an insecure, skinny teenager and never felt the confidence to do it. I didn’t start until I was 26. I went to theater school, and then my mother passed away. When I came back, I had this incredible guardian angel on my side, and all of a sudden my career started and never stopped.
Yes, “Teen Wolf”!
[Laughing] Yes, yes, “Teen Wolf” came along.
It had to be hard. I am sure you wished she would have lived to see you make it.
Of course, of course. And not that I made it, because I do not feel at all that I have. [laughs] I still feel a tremendous amount of desire, [sigh] and anxiousness to do a hell of a lot more with all of this.
I am sure it is frustrating. You have the talent and the looks. You must be wondering: Why am I not a leading man Tom Cruise-style? Why is he doing them?
[Laughs] I understand why he is doing them. They are quite challenging.
Do you ever think there are too many actors out there?
No, I can’t think there’s too many. I mean, we all have a story to tell. We all have a message to share. And those people — Tom Hanks, just incredible actors like that — oh my God, I am glad they are here sharing and telling stories.
You are talented, too. You had to maintain a worried expression 99 percent of the movie.
[Laughing] Welcome to my world!
Patricia Sheridan: PSheridan@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2613 on Twitter @pasheridan and Instagram: Pasheridanpgh
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