Jason Priestley may have played good guy Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210 for nine years, but he was nothing like him in real life. In fact, the actor couldn’t relate to resident bad boy Dylan McKay either.
“I think that both of those characters were almost caricatures because one of them was way too good and the other one was written way too bad and I don’t think that those type of characters exist — ever,” the 48-year-old exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I think we live in a world of shades of gray. I think those two characters were written way too black and white.”
Priestley became an instant teen heartthrob when he starred in the series, which ran for 10 seasons from 1990 to 2000. The Beverly Blaze sport editor and co-chief had his ups and downs once he moved to the famous zip code with his sister Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and family — and found himself in the biggest love triangle as both he and Dylan (Luke Perry) fell for Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth).
Today, Priestley thinks that Brandon would be working for The Washington Post. “[He] would be in heaven right now. Not literally! But Brandon Walsh was a super Republican dude,” he says. “So I think he would be just be living it up in D.C. with all of his Republican buddies.”
Does that mean he would explore Brandon’s new life now in a reboot? “I never say never,” he tells Us. “The problem is I have to find a way to fit it into my schedule.”
Indeed, Priestley has kept busy since leaving the Aaron Spelling-created series. He currently voices the Dad character in Amazon Prime Video’s Wishenpoof, which now features the two-part holiday special “A Wish World Christmas.”
“My career has lasted long enough for me to go from playing the teenage kid to playing the dad of a teenage kid,” he tells Us. “I’m well past my sell by date, that’s for sure.”
“I have a lot of fun doing Wishenpoof,” he continues. “What makes it really special for me is that my daughter Ava plays one of the other characters on the show so when we record episodes I actually get into the studio with her and we record together at the same time. It makes the experience of going to work really special because I get to share it with her.”
In addition to 10-year-old Ava, Priestley and his wife, Naomi Lowde-Priestley, are parents of son Dashiell, 8.
He adds, laughing: “So I guess that nepotism in Hollywood actually does happen sometimes.”
For more, read the rest in our Now and Then series:
US: Are your kids old enough to know you were in Tiger Beat magazines back in the day?
JP: [Laughs] My daughter, yes, they both are. They finally figured it out and they sort of have an understanding of it now. I tried to shield it from them as long as I could and it worked for a long time but now they pretty much have figured it out. I still haven’t let them watch Beverly Hills, 90210 yet.
US: Do you reunite with the cast often?
JP: Occasionally! Occasionally we do. In small pods. Luke doesn’t live far from me, Gabby [Carteris] doesn’t live far from me. I find myself working so much that it’s hard not for me to spend time with my family. It’s hard. And likewise so are they. It’s difficult to have time to set those things up.
US: Do you have any memorabilia from the show?
JP: I don’t! I don’t have anything. Because I wasn’t there at the very end. I left in the ninth episode. I left four episodes into the ninth season. So they needed all the stuff still! I just packed up my stuff and left and got on a plane and went to follow Barenaked Ladies around on their North American tour for a couple of months. And then I went to London to do a play for nine months. I was off to the races. The funny thing is I took nothing. I didn’t even take that stupid spatula from the Peach Pit! I took nothing!