Monday, October 27, 2008
Male on Monday : : Michael Vartan
Anne McAllister has a thing for green-eyed heroes. That wasn't what first got her watching Alias, but it was a good reason to continue. And she still watches her DVDs of Alias when she needs a bit of hero inspiration.
It all began with a commercial. It was in January a few years back and I was watching Sunday afternoon football, as I am wont to do at that time of year.
And there was a commercial for the third season of some television program I'd barely heard of, much less seen (I'm slow, all right) called Alias. It was going to have its season premiere right after the Super Bowl, they said.
I thought, Who cares?
And then I saw him.
I didn't notice the woman. I didn't notice the other men. My gaze was fixed on one particular guy. A guy with a lean handsome face and a gorgeous wry grin. A man with a definite twinkle in his eye (though I didn't know then that they were green).
And I said to the dogs, because they were the only other ones in the room, "Who is that man?"
They, being even slower than I am when it comes to important things like heroes, didn't know either. Fortunately Google did.
It didn't take me long to identify the man who caught my attention as Michael Vartan who played Michael Vaughn to Jennifer Garner's Sydney Bristow (see, I figured out who she was, too) -- her "guardian angel" -- the man on the desk (and in her ear) who kept her grounded during her, shall we say, eventful life.
Eventually, on the program at least, he was the man who ended up in her bed and with whom, if it is possible in the world of Alias, she shared a Happily Ever After.
Of course they had to kill him first. This was Alias, after all. And then they had to bring him back to life. But by then I'd lost interest in whatever JJ Abrams thought he was doing (I think he was too busy thinking about Lost to give a heck at that point, but that's just me).
Still, I liked Mike.
Still do, though he's getting harder to find regularly on television these days.
After Alias bit the dust, the French-born actor, who grew up splitting time between his divorced parents' homes in France and California, had a fling at the short-lived Big Shots, in which he played James Walker, the moral center of a drama about four CEOs most of whom weren't especially moral at all.
Besides his television work, Michael starred as the romantic lead in Never Been Kissed opposite Drew Barrymore, and Jennifer Lopez's fiance (and Jane Fonda's son) in Monster-in-Law.
But all has not been hearts and flowers in his film work. He also previously played opposite Robin Williams in the psychological thriller, One Hour Photo in which he was the obsession on whom Williams' character was fixated.
Recently he portrayed the cynical travel writer, Pete McKell, in the Australian suspe/horror flick, Rogue, about a killer crocodile -- which will not be making my Netflix queue, even though it is a Michael film, because of all those years of worrying about crocs and alligators uensnder my bed.
Although I just read an interview with him in which he says, "I’m so happy that the guy doesn’t get the girl in that awkward scene where they’re about to be eaten by the croc! In every movie, there’s that scene . . . you’re about to be devoured by a 24-foot animal, and you’ve got time to kiss and make out…? What is wrong with you people?"
See? He has his priorities straight. First, don't get eaten, then get the girl.
My kind of guy. I might have to watch it after all -- if I could be sure he didn't get eaten.
Apparently the 'real' Michael didn't turn into lunch, because he is currently in the wilds of downtown Milford, Michigan shooting the big screen comedy, Demoted, due out next year.
While he was in Alias he was linked with Jennifer Garner-- in her pre-Ben Affleck days. But recently I haven't seen any reference to any specific ladies in his life. He says, "I’m very happy being single. There’s a lot of travel involved in this business and a lot of long hours.
"My dog gives me enough grief about being gone as it is. Hopefully, one day I will meet the right person and I will have a family, and this part of my life will be over and I will try to enjoy it while I can."
The dog in question is a lab called Millie (this photo is not Millie) to whom he is deeply devoted. The only other thing that seems to inspire deep devotion besides his work and his dog at the moment is playing hockey.
He says, "I love sports. I’ve always loved sports and hockey is a sport I play as much as I can. . . In a weird way it’s like church and therapy and exercise all rolled up into one. I mean when I play hockey I don’t think about anything, which is good for me because thinking hurts my head."
So he loves dogs and sports and he takes his work seriously, but doesn't obsess about it. He's grateful for being able to do what he likes.
And he's single.
But he did say just recently that he's getting to the age (he'll be 40 in November) where the next serious girlfriend he had would be "very serious" indeed.
Just in case you're interested.
Anne McAllister has cast Michael in a couple of her books, most recently Antonides Forbidden Wife (though you wouldn't know it by the cover).
Still PJ Antonides has green eyes and wicked grin. His book comes out in November in UK and January in North America. If you want to discover more hero inspiration, stop by Anne's blog.