The Twilight star on why he doesn't need abs like Taylor Lautner, taking advantage of his sudden career surge, and straying from the pretty-boy path.
DETAILS: Is playing a guy as un-self-aware as Dr. Fitch Cooper as fun as it looks?
Peter Facinelli: I love that he's so energetic. He seems like he's always had four cans of Red Bull. I don't think he has any malice or ill intent, but he's so unaware that he ends up offending people all the time and doesn't even know it. He can pretty much do anything he wants, which is really fun.
DETAILS: What was was the most interesting part of the Nurse Jackie finale episode for you?
Peter Facinelli:The wedding of the century. Of course, it doesn't quite compare to the Twilight wedding.
DETAILS: Speaking of: any spoilers from Breaking Dawn Part 1?
Peter Facinelli: I hate divulging too much information about the Twilight movies, but I will say the wedding was really beautiful, though it was tougher to shoot than it looks. Everything was poised to be this magical day, and then it rained. A lot. At one point one of the tarps got broken. A lot of acting was required just so that the audience wouldn't know what was really going on. I felt so bad for the women who were dressed in gowns.
DETAILS: Do you do anything to prepare for playing vampire-dad Carlisle?
Peter Facinelli: I go on an all-raw-meat diet.
DETAILS: Do you feel pressure to get your abs in particularly exemplary shape just to share the screen with Taylor Lautner?
Peter Facinelli: We were in a gym and constantly doing fight training, so I actually was in really great shape, but Carlisle is always in cardigans, so you never get to see it.
DETAILS: And you'll be a grandpa in the final movie, right?
Peter Facinelli: I don't like to talk about that. He's a 23-year-old grandfather, though, so I guess I can't feel too bad about that.
DETAILS: Do you have big career plans post-Twilight?
Peter Facinelli: I've written three scripts for my production company, and I've gotten to make two of them already. For me to be able to take more control of my career is really great. One is called Loosies, about a New York subway pickpocket, and it'll be out later this year. I'm starring in it, and we've got a great cast — Joey Pants [Pantoliano], Michael Madsen. I'm really excited about that. I also wrote a Hallmark Channel movie that my wife [Jennie Garth] was in this year. It's kind of a trip that I can have something that I write down on paper and see it come to life.
DETAILS: Why did you decide to take up writing?
Peter Facinelli: I've been working for 17 years, and writing came out of the frustration of getting scripts that I didn't respond to… that I was surprised were even being made. I thought, "If these can get made, I can write something." Of course, the first movie I wrote took three weeks to write and six years to make. Every time I would gain momentum I would go off and do a movie and lose it. But once I did Twilight and Nurse Jackie, people looked at what I did a little closer. So it got easier.
DETAILS: What's the secret to longevity in Hollywood?
Peter Facinelli: I just continue to work. I've been working constantly for 17 years. I don't always have control over whether what I do is going to be a sensation like Twilight or critically acclaimed like Nurse Jackie. That's probably why I'm excited now to start producing. The next step for me is to direct. Careers are a long road, and you have to figure out how to keep it interesting.
DETAILS:You seem to have somehow avoided the pretty-boy route you could have easily gone after playing the jock-y Mike Dexter in Can't Hardly Wait. Was that purposeful?
Peter Facinelli: I remember after Can't Hardly Wait I had, like, three offers for teen movies. I had an offer for She's All That, but instead I took this sci-fi thriller called Supernova. I gained weight and grew a beard. I went completely opposite. Had that movie opened big, that would've been great, but I was happy with the experience. When my agent asks what I want to do next, I tell her, "Anything I haven't done before." If I had a party and invited all the characters I played, it would be a really fun party. That's all I can ask for.
—By Jennifer Armstrong