Last Of The Titans

by Tony Calega
Photography by Ann Bogart (also did photography for Teen Celebrity article)
Dec 19, 2000, Soap Opera Weekly

Kevin Zegers may be Titans' youngest cast member, but he boasts an acting resume that any adult would envy.

Kevin Zegers (Ethan, Titans) isn't your typical hollywood kid. With an acting resume the length of his arm, you'd expect him to be world-weary and consumed with the industry. He's anything but, however, choosing to focus on his family life instead of the business.

Maybe that's because this born and bred Canadian never took up permanent residence in Los Angeles - until Aaron Spelling and Co. picked him to play Ethan, Gwen's very troubled nephew, on Titans. "It was the script that really grabbed me," he says. "I've received so many scripts for other projects and it's rare that I get something that I'm honestly into. I mean, with Titans, I'm with every word of every line. It's a show that if I wasn't on, I'd definitely watch anyway."

Titans' rigorous shooting schedule has called for the young actor to relocate from Ontario to California. Thankfully, proud parents Jim and Mary Ellen helped ease the transition. "My mom has been with me in L.A., while my dad stays in Canada," he explains. "My dad has to come down and switch with my mom sometimes. He doesn't really know L.A. that well, so my mom has had to show him how to get to the set and stuff like that." Zegers also found it a bit difficult adjusting to his new surroundings. "In Canada, I live way out in the country. The whole city-living kind of thing is so different - but now I love it here."

Jim and Mary Ellen's "international lifestyle" isn't just for their son's benefit; his two sisters, Krista and Katie, are aspiring figure skaters. "They're both in Canada," says Zegers, "and either one of my parents will always be there to watch them skate and everything, and kind of keep the house running." But what teen-agers would want their parents constantly hovering around? "It's not like that," Zegers relates. "Our parents like hanging out with us and we like hanging out with them. It's not your typical parent/child relationship; we're more friends." As proof of this, Zegers' parents have let him steer his own career instead of making decisions for him.

Acting has been in Zegers' blood since quite a young age. "I was getting steady work, the kind a 6-year-old just has to show up for," he explains with a laugh. Then, by the age of 8, he was ready to...retire? Well, at least make a career change. "Everyone goes through stages where they don't know what they really want to do. For me, it happened when things started really slowing down; I went through a whole year of auditions and didn't book anything." Zegers admits he was young to experience a career crisis, but says the decision to stick with acting happened when he did begin booking gigs. "There's nothing, to me, that compares to actually working on a set, so I was forgetting about how fun it was. I think once I started working again, I totally forgot about not doing it anymore."

Zegers' "stalled" career began to pick up steam following his appearance in the 1993 film Life With Mikey (in which he played the kid version of the title character). A run in the short-lived television series Free Willy and roles in a few forgettable films soon followed. In 1997, the youngster hit gold when he landed the lead role of Josh Framm in Air Bud. That film spawned two sequels and two return engagements for Zegers, who by then had become a full-fledged teen heartthrob.

Several more feature film roles followed, including MVP: Most Valuable Primate, Komodo and Four Days, a film that holds a particularly special place in his heart. "I was used to being in films where I was hanging around with dogs or monkeys, or playing basketball," he says with a laugh. "Four Days was a pretty hard-core movie, which was more challenging for me as an actor."

Four Days also starred Colm Meaney, an actor Zegers holds in the highest regard. "He's such a good actor, and I had a good time working with him," he says. John Ritter and Christopher Lloyd also top the list of people he's enjoyed working with and has learned a lot from. "I'm the kind of person who takes little things from everybody I work with. I feel that experiencing different acting styles can only make you a better performer and willing to take more chances."

And with Titans, Zegers certainly may be taking a chance. The show has garnered lackluster ratings and dismal reviews, and has even had its time slot changed - not good signs for a new show. If the series fails, however, the up-and-comer isn't worried. "I've never been the kind of person to dwell on things and say, 'Oh, well, that's the end - this is it,'" he says. "There's always work out there and I'm always going to keep trying. This is my favorite thing in the world to do and whether I have to try a little bit harder than other people or whatever, I'm always going to stick with it."

(This article appeared in the 19 Dec 00 issue of Soap Opera Weekly.)