Picture it: You're a straitlaced, by-the-book FBI agent. Then, you're shot in the head, you're technically dead for 10 minutes and you wake up an emotional wreck with questionable personal-grooming habits. That's Jeffrey Donovan
's alter ego, Det. David Creegan on USA's Touching Evil
, in a nutshell. Here, the 36-year-old cult fave offers a great glimpse into Evil
, as well as his past and future in acting.
TV Guide Online: What do you think of your mug on those huge billboards for the show?
Jeffrey Donovan: I was in Vancouver taping the show for five months and just got back. I drove down Sunset Boulevard and thought, "That's ridiculous! Could they make the picture any bigger?" Who's the good-looking guy? That's not me. That guy is Jeffrey Airbrushed Donovan. That guy looks nothing like me. It's crazy. I know I just don't look like that.
TVGO: You appear to have stylish scruff down to a science.
Donovan: I don't mean to be stylish. It's more that Creegan doesn't own a razor. In keeping with the character, he doesn't keep himself metrosexualed.
TVGO: But that stylish scruff look is metrosexual!
Donovan: Is it? I guess he is metrosexual then. They basically leave me unkempt and then seal my unkemptness in lacquer all day. That lack of shaving was a conscious choice on my part. This guy has a frontal-lobe brain injury, which has an impact on his decorum. And his grooming. [Laughs]
TVGO: The brain thing also appears to affect his emotions in surprising ways.
Donovan: He feels. This is very different from the original British series. Robson Green played him like he felt nothing and could do anything. He played it like a Brit. I like my characters a little more fallible than that. My Creegan's not just some mystical superhero changed by a near-death experience.
TVGO: You've come a long way since your role as Dwayne "Popper" Collins on Another World.
Donovan: [Surprised] Oh! When I first got out of school, I was so broke and they offered me soap work. It's still the hardest job I've ever done. It was a humbling experience — I walked away with my tail between my legs.
TVGO: What kind of name is Popper?
Donovan: He was a drug dealer. That's why he was called Popper! I worked with Linda Dano, who's a terrific soap actress. I met her right before her plastic surgery. I couldn't understand why she had it done. She's beautiful now, but she was beautiful before that. Her character blackmailed me and then... I don't recall what happened. It was 10 years ago!
TVGO: What was it like starring in that bomb Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2?
Donovan: I had a great time. I was given an opportunity as an unknown to be a lead. It taught me about Hollywood hype, and never to do a movie when the script's not ready. I am now much more vocal and commanding in telling people if something's not going to fly.
TVGO: We heard you've got better movie prospects ahead.
Donovan: I'm shooting a movie with Will Smith called Last First Kiss. It's from the writer-director of Sweet Home Alabama. I play a guy who needs to pick up a girl, and Will Smith plays the date doctor. This time, I'm a clean-cut, neatly quaffed stockbroker. I got range, baby!
Touching Evil airs Mondays at 10 pm/ET on USA Network.