Nurse Jackie Facinelli
Credit: Phil Caruso/Showtime

Peter Facinelli sounded a little exhausted when EW chatted with him on the phone last week — as he well should be. The actor has been flying to and from the set of Breaking Dawn in Vancouver, where the cast is filming “second unit” scenes (like stunts). What gives him an energy boost? Talking about what’s next for Coop on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, following a big, life-changing moment for the doc on tonight’s episode. He explains (SPOILERS ahead):

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So I hear something big is coming up for Coop this week. What can you tell us?

PETER FACINELLI: A bomb gets exploded in Coop’s life. He finds out that his two moms — who are basically his whole world — are getting a divorce. He gets blindsided by it, because he doesn’t see it coming at all. You know, Coop doesn’t take it well, and it spirals into a depression. It’s kind of sad for me to play that because Coop’s so energetic and hyper all the time. To have to play him in a funk it kind of sad.

Yeah. I was really sad when I pre-screened tonight’s episode and saw him in tears.


…but then I started laughing when his reaction progressed.

Yeah, people always say, “Do you play things for laughs?” And I’m like, “No, the more dramatic I play things, the funnier he is.” [Laughs]

There’s a scene where he seeks comfort with Jackie tonight, and another right after his parents break the news. How did you keep a straight face?

I play everything for real. I’m being tortured in this scene and everyone is laughing at me. I go to dark places for Coop and everyone laughs. For me, he’s a very sympathetic character. A lot of people are like, “Oh, you play the jerk on Nurse Jackie.” But I don’t see him that way. I see him as someone who’s broken, and he’s someone who doesn’t mean any harm at all. So, for me, he’s very sympathetic. He’s not meant to be mean, but it comes across that way. He’s kind of oblivious.

How does this news affect him?

There are a couple of episodes where it’s a whole different Coop. And it stays with me, too. I remember doing a couple of episodes, and I’d feel really blue all the time.

How Method of you.

Sometimes you play things, and they resonate with you. That stuck with me.

So does Coop come back from this depression?

I don’t know how much I want to give away, but he turns to finding love in his own life instead of having the love of his parents. It no longer feels like he has that support system, so he buckles down and finds a family of his own to replace the one he doesn’t have anymore.

Do the rest of the staff/his friends help him along at all?

I think they know it’s Coop, and they let him go through his thing. He reaches out to everyone for hugs, but he’s not getting any. [Laughs]

Switching gears: Breaking Dawn. I know you’re on set, how does it feel winding it down?

It’s been a whirlwind. We’ve been filming for six months. You take it day by day. I feel good about what we’ve shot. Now it’s up to the editor, and I hope it all comes out well. At the end of the day, it’s hard because you don’t have control over how it’s put together. But I’ve seen some put together, and it looks pretty good. I’m excited to see the finished product.

Anything you can tease to us about it? I hear the wedding scene is grand.

The wedding scene, first of all, was really beautiful. The way the set was decorated, the way they lit it. It’s in the backyard of the Cullen house, and they utilized the space really well. For us as actors, it was hard because it was raining the whole time we shot, but you’ll never see it on film. For us, it was raining and muddy, but on film, it will look beautiful. In the baseball sequence [from the first movie], it rained the whole time, but you can’t tell.

How did you magically stay dry?

It’s very difficult. I remember the first day [on the first film], we were in the midst of shooting, and they said [to the director Catherine Hardwicke], ‘”What do you want to do Catherine?” So they started passing out baseball hats to anyone whose hair looked too wet. It was movie magic; you never see it. It has to rain really hard for it to read on film.

Give me a visual tease of the wedding, for the wedding geeks, like yours truly.

It looks very magical. It was a real treat to be able to watch the two of them get married. It was a longtime coming, this wedding. It didn’t disappoint me when we shot it, so I think it will be magical.

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