Though Jason Priestley — as Brandon Walsh on ”Beverly Hills 90210” — hung out with his pals at the Peach Pit, his new TV character Jack Harper will be spending time in a less, um, sociable setting: the morgue. EW.com caught up with Priestley in Vancouver, where he’s filming this season’s final seven episodes of ”Tru Calling,” the dark drama that stars ”Buffy”’s Eliza Dushku as a mortician who hears from the dead (Thursdays, 8 p.m., Fox). Here are five things on Priestley’s track record you might not have known.
1. 13 is a lucky number for him.
After threats from his father and Aaron Spelling, Priestley has given up car racing. ”The problem is I can’t take any more skull fractures or concussions. I’ve had 13. Three or four of them from racecar crashes. I grew up in rough-and-tumble Vancouver, playing hockey and rugby. The neurologist who helped put my head back together this last time sat me down and said, ‘Look, you get another concussion, and we’ve got a big problem.’ After this concussion it took me three months to learn how to speak again. I just can’t risk cracking my head again.”
2. His near-death experience did not lead him to the light.
”Being a professional racecar driver for as long as I was, the risks involved in what I did were very acceptable to me. The eventuality of me having an accident of that severity wasn’t quite as shocking as I imagine most people believe it to be. But as far as I know, there are no white lights — I was there where you’re supposed to see them and I didn’t. It does change you, though. Anytime you lay in a hospital bed for that much time, you rethink a lot of things in your life. But I’m not sitting around the campfire singing ‘Kumbaya.”’
3. He wants to go to the morgue.
In preparation for his role on ”Tru Calling,” Priestley was supposed to visit a local morgue, but ”they haven’t even found time for me to do it. I’ve already been here for 10 weeks and we’re now shooting our last episode. But I’ll be going as long as everything goes well and the show gets picked up. It’ll be really fun. I’m looking forward to that.”
4. He wants to direct the ”90210” folks again.
”I think you should be able to buy seasons 1 through 10, and Paramount should hire me to put the whole thing together and do all the [extra] interviews. God knows I directed the most episodes of any director.”
5. He likes being Canadian.
”I love Canadians. I love to hang out with them.” So much so that he even accepted a very small — and little-seen — cameo in Britney Spears’ video for ”Boys.” The reason: Fellow Canuck Mike Myers was working on the third ”Austin Powers” soundtrack, and wanted a scene where Britney snubs two good-looking guys in favor of Austin. (The other stud in the video is Taye Diggs.) Oh, and there’s one other perk of being Canadian that Priestley appreciates: No matter how much time he spends in the U.S., ”you miss out on jury duty… Sorry, not a citizen, buh-bye.”