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    Get in the Fastlane'

    Sept. 06, 2002

    One of the guilty pleasures of the new season is FOX's "Fastlane," starring PETER FACINELLI, BILL BELLAMY and "Beverly Hills 90210"'s TIFFANI THIESSEN.

    It's "Miami Vice" meets 'Fast and the Furious' on the small screen, when two cops go undercover to solve a murder amid high-speed action and the obligatory fast cars and faster women.

    In the pilot, Bellamy's character comes out to Los Angeles to track down the bad guys who killed his brother -- and winds up more deeply involved than he originally planned. To solve the case, he hooks up with Facinelli, his brother's former partner, and Thiessen, the head of a secret undercover unit.

    ET spoke to Facinelli as he gets ready to enter the "Fastlane." The series premieres Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 9 p.m.

    ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: What's this next year going to be like for you? Your wife, JENNIE GARTH, has her own show, you two have a baby coming. How will you deal with it all?

    PETER FACINELLI: It's definitely going to be a growing period for me. I've got to learn to deal with things and juggle. I've done a lot of films, but I've done them one at a time. This is episodic and it's going to be very different on my schedule. To balance that with my family life will be a task, but one I'm looking forward to handling.

    ET: How would you describe the show?

    PETER: It's a show that's a fantasy about reality. I think America's ready for just a fun show, not one that is so close to reality, like "The West Wing." This is a show where you can turn it on, escape for an hour and have fun. That's all it's meant to be.

    ET: Where do they get the cars for this?

    PETER: I think they rent those. You don't want to screw those cars up, so it's nerve-wracking driving them. That is a McG question. I think he might steal them out of the lot and bring them back the next day.

    ET: What do you drive personally these days?

    PETER: I have a Jeep Cherokee and a '62 Thunderbird convertible. I love old cars. For me the fun is to have the '62 Thunderbird, but I have a child, so I also need to have the Jeep Cherokee. Because I'm from New York, my wife said, "You have to tell them that you are a really bad driver." She thinks I am the worst driver.

    ET: So, does she like to drive when you go out together?

    PETER: She likes to backseat drive. That's okay, though, because I wouldn't be able to get where I'm going without her. She's my OnStar; she's my navigator. Sometimes if she is not in the car, I will drive around in circles for hours. I am not conscious when I am driving, my mind is so many other places that I literally am not thinking about where I am going.

    ET: When you were a kid, what was it about acting that attracted you?

    PETER: When I was in the third grade, we went to the library and I was allowed to pick out books, and I picked out a book on BUTCH CASSIDY and the SUNDANCE KID. It had PAUL NEWMAN and ROBERT REDFORD in it, and I thought they were the coolest guys in the world. I hadn't seen the movie, so I went and saw it, and that was it for me. That is what I wanted to do. That is also why in a weird way I have so much fun on this show, because it is like Butch and Sundance. When we shot the pilot, I went to work every day with a smile on my face. It was like going to a carnival. I couldn't wait to go to work in the morning. I couldn't sleep some nights because I wanted to go back to work.

    ET: Does the violence of the show bother you?

    PETER: You can't tell a war story without showing the violence. Cops face violence every day. They might not have to deal with it, but they face it. I have a lot of friends that are police officers in New York and they tell me about it.

    ET: With your film background, how did you come to TV?

    PETER: It is not as if I feel I am giving up a film career to do this. I only need to do one good film a year. I want to continue my film career because that is my first love, but this opportunity was too good to pass by. This character is so rich, and so fun, and so different than anything that is on TV. If I was going to do TV, I wanted to do something that was groundbreaking. Yes, it resembles shows from the '70s, but other than "Alias," and "Alias" is a completely different show, you can't name another show that is like this one on TV. It is exciting to be a part of a new wave. Let the next wave of shows copy "Fastlane."

    ET: You knew Tiffani because she was on "90210" with Jennie, but had you ever met Bill before?

    PETER: I was supposed to test with two other guys on Valentine's Day. I was all excited to go in and they called me and said, "There is another guy that we just found that we really, really like, so we are going to push the test back." So I hated him because I was all ready to go in the next day and test, and now I had to wait another week. That was the longest week of my life. But I got a chance to get together with him and we read the scene over. The first time we read it together, it took it to another place. When Bill and I read, it went through the roof. It was like reconnecting to an old friend.

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