Peter Facinelli‘s son, Jack, is only 12 months old, but he’s already made his first big screen debut — kind of.
In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, the actor, 49, talks about being inspired to include his baby boy — who he shares with fiancée Lily Anne Harrison — in his new film.
On Fire, inspired by true events, stars Facinelli as Dave, a man who gets trapped with his family as wildfires ravage their California town. The drama is “very poignant with what’s going on in the world today,” he tells Us. “It’s meant to give hope and celebrate the firefighters and first responders that put their lives on the line for these horrible wildfires that keep happening.”
After the film’s director tested positive for COVID three weeks into production, Facinelli was asked to step in and direct — and he saw a unique opportunity to get creative in the editing room bay.
“[In a scene], there was a car that was coming by as my character is sitting at a roadblock. He’s trying to get through to his family and they’re telling him that he can’t go through,” the Twilight alum explains. “This car comes by and there’s sounds of people coughing, and it’s supposed to remind him like, ‘that could be [my] family’ — but it felt like it needed something.”
Facinelli recalls thinking, “‘Maybe a baby crying in the backseat would give it some more energy.'” He noted that at first, the team behind the film tried a “canned baby” — but the prop didn’t sound authentic. “I said, well, I have a baby at home. I’ll just record him.”
“I went home and the next night, Jack cried [so] I recorded him crying,” he explained of the tot, who was born in September 2022. “I put his voice in [and] that’s him crying in the movie. He has a cameo at three weeks old!”
After raising three daughters (Facinelli shares Luca, 25, Lola, 20, and Fiona, 17, with ex-wife Jennie Garth), the Can’t Hardly Wait star is looking forward to what raising a son entails.
“This is kind of new territory for me. I had three sisters growing up, so I’m not used to boy energy,” Facinelli shares. “I don’t want to assume, but I haven’t watched all the Marvel movies, so I’ll probably end up watching all the Marvel movies.”
“Whatever he wants to watch, whatever he wants to do, I’ll be behind,” he notes.
Playing a dad who would go to extreme lengths for his family in On Fire came naturally to Facinelli.
“I’ve got four kids [and] you hope to never have to imagine your family, their lives, being on the line like that, but I think there’s an instinct that kicks in,” he shares. “What I love about this movie is each character has a heroic moment.”
“I’m proud of the film,” he adds. “It’s a suspenseful ride.”
On Fire is in theaters now.