8 Questions With … Peter Facinelli

1. What has been your strangest fan encounter?

Peter Facinelli: I was shooting Nurse Jackie on the streets of New York, and a fan was walking her dog and I was on the phone and she said, “Can I take a picture?” And I said, “Yes. One second, I’m just going to finish this call.” I was talking for about a minute, and she started walking away. I hung up the phone, and I said, “Did you want the picture?” And she said, “No, it’s OK. It was for my dog.” … I still am puzzled — was the dog the fan?

2. You’re at a magazine rack and can pick three magazines. What are they?

GQ, Time and Motor Trend.

3. What’s your favorite sports team?

The New York Yankees.

4. Your two big roles right now are both doctors; one is a vampire (Twilight) and the other (Nurse Jackie) is very quirky in his own right. What’s it like going between them?

I really just play the person, not the doctor. It’s just a job for them. When they take the white coat off, they’re much different, and they’re very different from each other. Carlisle [his Twilight role] is very controlled and focused, and Coop is the opposite of that. It’s great getting to go back and forth like that.

5. Are you able to offer any advice on being a teen idol to any of your Twilight costars? [Facinelli rose to fame after appearing in the 1998 teen movie Can’t Hardly Wait].

No. Everybody has to deal with it in their own way. It’s different for everyone. But I’m amazed by how well Rob [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart] and now Taylor [Lautner] handle it. If I’d have had to deal with that level of fame that young, I totally would have lost my sense of self.

6. Your wife, Jennie Garth, had her own experience as a teen idol playing Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210. Did all that start up again with the new 90210 series?

We’ve been together since Season 5 of the original. This wasn’t the same. It was more about the new group of kids. If they had totally focused on Kelly Taylor and the other characters, and done like a thirtysomething version, that would have been pretty cool.

7. You have more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter and were named top celebrity tweeter of 2009 by E! Online. How did that happen?

[Laughs] It started as just a way to communicate with the fans directly. I didn’t have any grand plans for it. But yeah, it’s addicting. … I’m happy with any award. But that one’s really nice because it means people like what you’re doing, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with a part you’re playing.

8. The mega-tweeters, like you, Ashton Kutcher and others, have millions of followers, but you follow relatively few people. Why is that?

It’s just that they know you, because they see you in movies or on TV, but I don’t know them. The people I follow are people I know, or know of. It would be weird to try to follow everybody.

Peter Facinelli plays Dr. Fitch Cooper on Nurse Jackie, which returns for Season 2 on Mondays beginning March 22 on Showtime. He also can be seen in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which premieres on Movies On Demand March 20.