At a photo shoot in Culver City, California, Peter Facinelli sits casually in a windowsill with his legs outstretched, his back to the glass. He’s tall and lean with classic Roman features: the broad forehead, the Aquiline nose. Against the natural light streaming in through the large plate glass window, he becomes a silhouette, his sharp features casting shadows on his face. He fixes his gaze on something in the distance and seems pensive, wistful, a bit moody. He leans forward to look intently into the camera and then, without warning, springs to his feet and climbs onto the window’s ledge. His posture has changed, his energy suddenly powerful and exuberant. Just like that, he has morphed from one character into another.
For those who have followed Facinelli’s career, this effortless transformation should come as no surprise. The actor’s curriculum vitae spans a long list of diverse and complex characters, ranging from the All-American wonder jock Mike Dexter in Can’t Hardly Wait to the compassionate and evolved Dr. Carlisle Cullen of the Twilight saga. As Dr. Fitch Cooper on the critically acclaimed Showtime seriesNurse Jackie, he plays a hilariously bumbling but well-intended surgeon suffering from a nervous compulsion dubbed “sexual Tourette’s.”
The diversity of Facinelli’s many roles is no accident. He says he was determined from the onset of his career not to be typecast as the macho Italian stereotype, something that must have been difficult for the self-described “Guido from Queens with an accent the Jersey Shore kids would be jealous of.” It seems Facinelli has made an entire career out of defying expectations and proving people wrong, starting with his parents.
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